GSIF Conceptual Framework
GSIF Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework here represents how Ukweli functions. Women are not able to receive basic healthcare becuase of little knowledge along with many other factors. Ukweli creates a bridge to that knowledge and therefore to the clinics. We also empower CHWs to do more in the rural parts by giving them the resources to help those around them.
What is Creativity Creativity – Thinking outside of the box.
-Creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ways of thinking or acting and to develop new and original ideas, methods or objects.
Where does Creativity Happen?
-When collaboration, isolation, need, not thinking about the problem,
What is Emergence?
-Being the first of a new thing or the sum of several systems, for example, a bird flying
8 Tenets of System Thinking
Multifinality – The idea that even though all the inputs into different systems are the same, different outcomes will develop. How does it address the needs of several stakeholders?
-For Ukweli, this is almost the base of the operations we are creating. The input is the test strips into the sierra leone healthcare system in order to lower maternal mortality rate but in doing so the CHWs are also given a supplemental income.
-For NewTrition, this is an example of the muffin serving the purpose of helping eliminate malnutrition in children, but also creating a system that can be implemented in various other countries with similar issues.
Equifinality – Given different incomes with the same goal, all end in the same output.
-Equifinality is present in Ukweli’s operations of training different PHUs and different CHWs throughout the Bombali District/SL. The various community health workers/PHUs/Villages that have Ukweli’s Test Strips can potentially be very different inputs, but all of these players are working towards the same goal of using Ukweli’s strips to lower the maternal mortality.
Abstraction – The idea of describing a system in more than one dimension, speaking to the interconnections and interdependence of the system.
-CHWs and NICs and all other health workers do different jobs to work towards the solution of a healthier Sierra Leone
Leverage Points- important points in a system that have a large impact with minimal changes
-Changing the ingredients in the magic muffin can change the nutrient profile along with the flavor. That could affect who buys or who gets the right nutrients
– For NewTrition, changing the branding of the muffin from a “therapeutic food” to just a healthy food allows for us to avoid the stigma attached to it. By just creating healthy food without claims we can easily merge into the current markets.
Regulation – The idea that in order for a system to be successful, it requires feedback in multiple aspects of said system to manage the high points and pitfalls of a system
-Ukweli Test Strips data collection systems are used to effectively understand the current standings of the operations of the venture
– For NewTrition, recipe questionnaires were collected to determine whether the product our team felt was best, was also accepted by the mothers and children of Sierra Leone.
Interdependence* – Mutually beneficial relationships between systems
-Sustainable development goals, better education improves health, improving health makes a better population, a better population can do bigger and better things. All of our projects work on one problem being faced in a developing country, but the improvement in one aspect helps to improve the others.
– For NewTrition, the team needs a local to cook to make nutritious products to address malnutrition in Sierra Leone, so a local bakery partnered with us and allowed us to use the bakery. In return, we helped them work out a business model for their bakery and did odd jobs they needed assistance with.
Holism* – The idea that the sum of the individual parts of a system is less valuable than the system as a whole:
– For NewTrition, giving children separate serving of each of the ingredients used in the recipe would be ineffective, but combining them into a muffin, in this case, makes a product that is better than the sum of its individual components.
Differentiation* the idea that a system needs different systems working together to achieve a cohesive solution
-Bundle of sticks i.e. marketing, sale, dissemination, teaching, transport, etc…
– For NewTrition, when we first arrived in Sierra Leone, we weren’t differentiated within the team and it led to problems of ‘who is in charge of what’. After a meeting with Khanjan, he helped us differentiate ourselves and the team was much more productive.
* Differentiation, Holism, and Interdependence are essentially the same thing
Design a multifinal solution to the water hyacinth problem discussed in class. Explain the solution and describe how it exhibits the system tenets of multifinality, holism, and regulation.
To fix the water hyacinth problem, I would compensate the region we are using to harvest the crop with a fair percentage of our profits. This would allow the locals to not feel as though they are being taken advantage of and allows the business to continue to help the community and provide income for the employees. This solution shows multifinality in that it serves to eliminate the problem of the locals being upset at the use of their local areas, and solves the issue of the business now missing a produce supplier. This also serves to add a new revenue stream for the locals on the water. It shows holism, as there is a now a codependent between the locals on the water, and the business. The hyacinth by itself doesn’t have any value and is actually a negative thing in the water. This solution allows for the people on the water to have a healthy waterway with less hyacinth and additional money for access to the water for harvesting. The business is allowed a free source of input material that allows them to have a business. The separate parts of this relationship gather no money, but together everyone makes a profit. Finally, regulation is incorporated in that the locals will determine what we pay, to some extent, and keeps our company in check-in that we want our product partners to be happy so the relationship is strong and stays for many years. If the people we get our source material from have to leave, we won’t have partners, so their health and well-being are crucial as well.
Friends of Ukweli
What constitutes the partnership
How did the partner help you? How did you help them
Was this a symbiotic relationship? Why or Why not
What would help strengthen this partnership and make it more equitable?
Friends of Ukweli Coalition
We Care Solar
|Cassidy: Ensure that the marketing license gets approved so our test strips can be distributed and sold to CHWs and clinic staff around Makeni. Maintain communication with Allieu to ensure he is working and collaborating with the Pharmacy Board.Jordan: Solidify funding sources for the team moving forward as a means to comfortably fund operations and Hassan’s salary and help out with logistics as the project moves forward (with our product registration in the near future) and as issues arise.
Naakesh: Maintain and monitor the interactions between our partners on the ground in Sierra Leone and Lehigh. Optimize Ukweli’s operations while the Marketing License is still being processed. Optimize the con-ops for when the Marketing License gets approved. Identify and address potential failure modes for the venture.
Rohan: Perform necessary lab work like comparative accuracy results for the test strip. To research and find a company that can perform proper sensitivity and specificity analysis at an absolute level.
Sage: Finish and publish Gabi’s paper. Keep internal budget of project expenses on World Hope end and flag any discrepancies. Searching for funding sources to sustain Ukweli. Government relations with Sierra Leone.
Zach: Create a WhatsApp group to communicate with Community Health Workers and other Ukweli Health Workers to provide them with information on how to market and use the test strips. Another goal is to produce at least 1 article that is published for Engineer 4 Change, which will help publicize Ukweli and help with possible funding plans.
Project Goals/Scale of Goals: One of the shorter term goals for Ukweli is to expand fully throughout the Bombali District. Currently we have the resources to create relationships with PHUs and CHWs by having Hassan travel throughout the district, but further expansion will require more resources.
Metrics of Success: Hassan’s relationships with clinics and CHWs based on the number of test strips sold. The CHW responses we get from Jawaras randomized calling.
|Roles||We all depend on each other to succeed. However, there are some roles we have designated on the team based on the team member’s major. For example, Rohan and Naakesh collaborate more closely on the lab and quality control side of operations. We do try to play by strengths and people’s interests for when we assign a task. However, we also like to encourage anyone to take up certain tasks because they can offer a different perspective.The roles and responsibilities our team typically takes are:
-Naakesh: project management
-Zach: graphic design, marketing and messaging
-Rohan: quality control, assay research & development
-Sage: budgeting, grant writing, research
-Jordan: messaging, grant writing
-Cassidy: device and medical regulations, messaging
|Procedures||In terms of decision making, Ukweli has generally been able to discuss our plans and then modify them to the point where the whole team can come to a consensus on what to implement.The team meetings that we hold are more than doing work on the project. The meetings are more used to discuss steps to take for the immediate future and to update the rest of the team on the progress of individual team member’s work. Zach usually keeps notes on the meeting as a whole, but the rest of the team contributes to note-taking when necessary. The team keeps up good communication through GroupMe where the whole team is responsive to any requests and questions other team members may have. Ukweli utilizes Google Drive for the majority of the teams work so the team can see any changes a team member makes as soon as the changes are made.|
|Relationships||Our team is fortunate to have built, maintained and sustained solid relationships between the six of us. Each team member not only is committed to the success of the project, but also remains steadfast in supporting one another. No matter what occurs, we are all ready and prepared to jump in and be flexible and do whatever is required to correct or resolve the situation or advance the project. The connections we have developed have allowed us to understand one another in a more personal way outside of the project, which in turn translates to greater chemistry and a smoother experience when doing work related to Ukweli.|
Case 1: Ethical Decision Making
1: Facts of situation:
What rights does Chetan have and is it ethical for the US company to uphold their patent rights?
Stakeholders and Motivations
Best Course of Action
The best course of action would be something in between, number 2. It is not in Toms best interest to follow through with solution 1 or 2. If Toms goes with solution 1 or 2 there is a good chance OOPs will be run out of business. For option 1, Tom would have to go through a legal battle to ensure neem businesses are paying their royalty, Tom and OOPs will be receiving a lot of bad PR which can turn the loyal neem customer base against OOPs. While Tom is trying to make more by having businesses pay the royalty he will still end up going out of business because no one will want to buy OOPs products. For option 2, Tom is “giving up too many of his cards”. Tom has the upper hand by having a patent and the ability/infrastructure to make companies pay the royalties by caving and asking for nothing he is taking a big risk. The royalties might be the only thing that holds OOPs together; Tom can not insure the loyal neem customers will leave their regular providers to buy from OOPs. In order to take the less risk and predict the best outcome it is safest for Tom to make a deal with Chetan; to pitch to him (Chetan) that he should sell or come work for OOPS and that all of his long lasting employees also have a new home with OOPs. Tom will make the argument that if he enforces Chetan to pay the royalties he will be run out of business so in order to carry on his legacy and ensure his employees have jobs Chetan and OOPs should partner up. This is the best course of action for Tom however this might not be the best option for Chetan. The change in oversight and not having control over the process would be a hard adjustment for Chetan. Not running the business might also be a big issue and could be a loss in the family’s eyes and might even be worse than just selling the company. However, the argument for Chetan can also be turned the other way, it might be a better idea to have any type of legacy carry on than none. Finally, I do not believe this is an ethical decision making case study. I think it is a decision that is completely based around the possible business implementations.
A number of the implications are talked about in the solutions, and are used as reasons not to/to follow that solution. The main implication that both OPPs and Chetan are trying to avoid is being run out of business. Worst case scenario, Chetan partners/joins/sells to OPPs in order to save his business and employees however, OOPS still runs out of business because customers do not like the idea of buying from a foreign company, they want to buy from a locally run neem company.
Case 2: Grassroots Diplomacy
OPPS is dominating the neem product industry and small business owners like Chetan and his employees are in danger of going bankrupt and want OPPS to leave the market or collaborate.
Stakeholders and Motivations:
Best Course of Action
Chetans best course of action would be, solution 2, to cut a deal with OPPs that benefits the employees and Chetan. Solution 1 and 3 are not viable because Chetan does leave the market with anything to show from it. These two solutions are also unfavorable for the employees because for solution 3 they are not guaranteed a job and solution 1 they are going to work for OPPs without their long time boss, Chetan. Solution 2 is optimal because Chetan is still carrying out his legacy, by letting OPPs use his branding (his great-grandfather’s face) and bonus he will be receiving a steady compensation for it. Chetans employees receive jobs and still feel like they are working for the family business because it is their (Chetans) branded product they are still providing with OPPs. And finally OPPs will also benefit from this deal for they are receiving the rights to the branding that is holding them back from taking over the entire market. OPPs will be gaining a large number of customers with this deal and ultimately money. They are also avoiding bad PR by partnering with Chetan instead of just running him out of the market.
Steps to Implement Best Course of Action
Welcome Back! In class this week, we talked about two separate ethical decision making/ grassroots diplomacy cases. In the weeks past, I included the case study but due to its length, I am going to describe it below:
There is a women’s cooperative in Kenya that was designed to reduce the risk of HIV transmission between mothers and children due to breastfeeding. The strategy that the cooperative used was to create a nutrient rich porridge that effectively weens the child off of the milk. The more time the child is allowed to breastfeed, the higher the likelihood of HIV transmission. Both cases have unique problems so I will analyze them accordingly:
|Case 1||Case 2|
|Step 1: Determine the Facts. What is the Issue here and why is it important?|
|· Approximately 35% of children are stunted because of poor nutrition.
· The mothers believe that the porridge is effective.
· There are 500ish women who are active in the cooperative.
· There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in this region and high transmission rate between mothers and children.
· Women are skeptical of early weening à There may be a lack of understanding about the dangers of letting the baby have breast milk.
· The goal of the cooperative is to have a “shelf-stable” porridge that is effective
· There are several key crops that grow in this region: maize, sorghum, cassava, legumes, coffee, pineapple, bananas, pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots, kale, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. These crops could be used in this recipe.
· There is a general issue about pesticide use in this region and how it can harm everyone who consumes the porridge.
· The current recipe is not very nutritious.
· Although women are working in the cooperative and earning money, the men in the household are taking it and spending it on alcohol (Case 2 specific)
· You are a member of a leadership committee for the cooperative and you have six months left on the committee (Case 2 specific).
· Women are convinced that nothing can be done (Case 2 specific).
· Twin social outcomes goals are: improving the nutritional status of children and improving the livelihoods of rural households (Case 2 specific).
|The issue here is that the we need to find a way to make a safe and nutrient dense product for mothers to give to their infants. Mothers are skeptical of this product currently because of the potential health issues associated with pesticides, they do not understand the dangers of letting the baby have breast milk, and the product is not currently guaranteed to last (it is not shelf stable yet). This is extremely important as the transmission of HIV to children and malnutrition huge issues that plague many people in sub-Saharan Africa.||The issue here is that while the cooperative is doing well and women and children are healthier, the money earned from the work the women do is not being put to good use. More specifically women are upset with the fact that they cannot effectively take care of their infants because the men in their house are taking the money and using it to buy alcohol. The women are put in a difficult place because they do not want to go against their husband but they want to help her baby. This decision that must be made here is who has autonomy over the money and how do you make sure that the mothers can feed her children while upholding the twin social outcomes?
|Step 2: Who are the Stakeholders for these cases? & Step 3: What are their motivations|
|· Mothers who are breastfeeding
o The mother does not want her child to become malnourished or contract HIV. They want a solution that reduces the risk for harm to both herself and her child while offering the best result.
· Infants who are being breastfed:
o The children need to eat food. Ultimately, they do not know or care where it is coming from.
· Non-lactating Women
o They are invested in the health and wellness of their community. In addition, this cooperative presents an opportunity to help her when she needs assistance later. This could be a potential source of income for the future.
o The farmers want the community to be healthy. They are extremely interested in the profits that they could achieve through collaboration with the cooperative
· Medical Professional
o They want their community to be healthier. They might want to support the cooperative because it helps reduce the issue of HIV transmission and malnutrition
· Cooperative’s Funder
o The funder wants to see progress with the project and that their money is being put to good use
o You want to design the product such that the all of the concerns are addressed while still being effective. There also are personal/professional motives at play.
· Local Government
o They want the community to be healthier. In addition, they want people to be healthier and the cooperative to succeed so that the community develops and there is more social and economic growth
· Males in the household (Case 2 specific).
o They have no professional motives here but there are several personal motives at play. The males want to control their household, they want women to abide by social and cultural norms, and they want to drink alcohol but cannot afford it regularly.
|Step 4: What are three alternative solutions?|
|1. Utilitarian Approach
Ultimately, HIV/AIDS is a far worse issue to have than worrying about the effects of pesticides. For this approach, just give the mothers/infants the porridge and worry about the pesticides later. (+) The infants get vital nutrients from the porridge while staying away from the mother’s milk which may have had HIV in it. (-) could possible poison the child
2. Deontological Approach
Outsource the ingredients so that the porridge is made from the best possible materials that will not have any pesticides. (+) All of the foods will be healthy and cause the least amount of harm. (-) This method is extremely expensive and could put these farmers out of business
3. Educationà Virtue Approach
In this possible solution, we want to educate women on the dangers of breastfeeding a child for too long. (+) women are more likely to stop breastfeeding and buy better foods. (-) this does not actually solve the whole issue. It creates more issues. The women may simply not want to purchase the porridge because it may contain pesticides which they now know can harm their baby.
|1. Compensation through porridge
In this solution, I would reduce the amount the woman is being paid and compensate them with porridge. This way their children would be able to eat and she would not have to worry about the male preventing this from happening. (+) This is extremely easy to do. The children are better fed and the cooperative spends less money on overheads. (-) The porridge is designed for infants not necessarily children and the women who work at the cooperative might not all be lactating or have children who should eat the porridge.
This solution is pretty simple in theory. Provide women with voucher cards that she could go and buy only food at a specific store. (+) Women are able to feed her kids, encourage a credit/borrowing system with food vendors, improve the economy. (-) the males may get angry because the women are able to get food but not what they want. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the voucher program will be supported by the vendors.
3. Building equity
At this point, my team decided that there was no real solution that was truly feasible so we just made one up. (I know it is bad, but it is honest). The women decide to acquire shares in the cooperative so that she can build equity and make larger purchases (+) women are able to make wholesale/large purchases by selling their shares (-) there is no immediate impact in this solution and I think just about everyone is not happy.
|Step 5: Get help & Step 6: Select the best course of action.|
|My team an I discussed these solutions in great detail in class. I believed that the best approach was deontological while my teammates believed that the utilitarian approach was better. When talking to Khanjan we acknowledged that solution 2 was not sustainable. However, I could not leave the principle of “do no harm”. For this reason, I chose the deontological approach.||It took about 30 seconds of class discussion to realize that every single group decided to do some sort of voucher-based solution. I have actually seen this solution in practice in Uganda and for this reason, I know it works!|
|Step 7: What happens next? What are the implications for the cooperation|
|Okay, so there are huge implications and steps here. We would need to first contact our donor and explain the situation. I would explain to them that we cannot replace one illness with another and that this is the right way to approach this issue. I would need to keep in mind what Khanjan said about this method is unsustainable because I do not want to encourage donor fatigue. To mitigate this, I would diversify my funding sources by partnering with HIV organizations, Organic Farms, Malnutrition organizations, and the government.||Like case 1 there are many steps at play. First you need to have a community meeting with the store owners and have them understand the problem. Next, you need to explain that this system is a empowers the vendors to make a difference in the next generation. Moreover, you would want to monetize the vouchers and test run this process with a small cohort of people before actually launching it.
By using this solution you ensure the continuity of the cooperation and you gain support from the entire community!
In class this week we discussed grassroots diplomacy. One topic that stood out to me was the concept of saving face. This basically means that an individual is trying to lessen the social or political burden that he or she may have faced. Obviously, that did not make sense. Here is an example: In Sierra Leone, we had several issues working with the Health Projects Director of World Hope International. Instead of calling him out and compromising our relationship, we copied his boss on the email! This saved face on both sides. We were able to accomplish our goals while maintaining a friendly relationship with this individual.
This week we focused on a case study around these topics and ethical decision making. Here is the prompt below. I am going to follow the same steps as last week’s blog post.
Step 1: What are the facts and what decision needs to be made?
Step 2: Problem and Stakeholders
We know that Jack is an American that is working at a youth center. It can be assumed that he is a volunteer. There are several issues at play here. First, the donor sent gifts for the children but four of them did not receive them as ceremoniously as the other kids. For this reason, they are upset at Jack and he because Jack is working there for five months, he does not want his experience to be made difficult. Second, Jack is both personally and professionally invested in his work at the youth center evidenced by his concern that the children were upset at him and that he was not sure how to proceed with his colleges. Third, Jack’s superiors do not want jack to be a “child rights activist” here and tarnish the reputation of the youth center. They do not see this issue as a problem.
The larger issue at hand is whether or not Jack should do anything about this issue. On one hand, if he does take matters into his own hands he will be looked down upon by his superiors while the kids will be happy. On the other hand, if he does nothing, the kids will be upset while his superiors will continue to think that there is nothing wrong.
I think it is interesting that in both cases, jack wants to “save face” as much as possible. How might he reduce social and political losses? This issue is extremely important to two stakeholders: Jack and the children who received the gifts unceremoniously; this can affect Jack’s ability to perform his job effectively in the next five months.
Step 3: Who are all the key players in this situation and what are their personal and professional motivations?
Step 4: What are some solutions that could be done? What are the short/long term implications and how does it affect the stakeholder’s relationships?
Step 5: Seek outside help: My group asked Khanjan what he would do and he said that the Utilitarian approach would be the best. We spoke about the need for Jack to understand his role and cultural norms. While he loses some face with the four kids in the short term the other two solutions create precedents that could be maleficent in the long term.
Step 6: Solution 1 is the way to go: Solution 1 provides the most effective solution when understanding cultural practices. In this case, Jack saves face with the staff who are ultimately most important to Jack in the long term. Unfortunately, Jack will have to face strife between these four kids in the short term, they will eventually get over it. It is important to not as seen in my fieldwork experience that there is significant donor fatigue in this space. Sometimes there may be gifts to hand out, sometimes there may not be enough (or any at all). The youth center staff understand this, and Jack does not understand it. By doing nothing he reduces the risk to the children by not building up their expectations in the future and solidifying his relationship with the center staff.
Step 7: Actionable steps: For this solution, Jack does nothing. There are no clear steps other than carrying out his normal day to day tasks.
Greetings loyal blog readers! Hi Mom…. This week as promised, I am going to be discussing a special case study we talked about in the GSIF Seminar. We talked about ethical decision-making strategies and specific steps to take when analyzing cases such as the one below.
Let’s break this down!
Step 1: Determine the facts in the situation– For this step it is extremely important to not only state the facts, but to do so without bias. This helps to make a clear and specific argument about (1) what the ethical issue is and (2) what the information is being used to make a judgment decision.
Facts from the statement above
It is also important to do some background research on the topic—How else can we make an informed decision?
Now that we have established the facts both in the prompt and though research what is the ethical issue here?
The researchers want to study the water from locations in and around several communities within the country of Lesotho but they do not know where these sources are. Obviously, the community members do know this information. The researchers expect the community members to take them to the water sources and that is it, end of transaction. The issue here is that (1) should the research even be conducted and (2) if it is conducted should the researchers pay the community members compensation for their help?
I want to make a clear emphasis on what we are doing here. We are NOT re-designing this research. We are simply offering a solution to these two questions through stepwise decision making. This was a confusion in class as we often found ourselves saying things like “if they just did the research this way there would be no issue”.
Step 2: Define the stakeholders/Step 3: Assess the motivations of the stakeholders.
|Stakeholder||Primary Motive||Secondary Motive|
|1. Community Members||The health and wellbeing of the individual/community||Livestock|
|2. Government||Health and wellbeing of the population||Political capital, economic growth, votes|
|3. Researchers||A desire for success, reach funding goals, personal goals for the project||Potentially being played a stipend for the research, resume credit.|
|4. Research Funders||Quality publications, Impact through understanding what the problem is||Quality Data and wanting to “make a change”|
|5. Industry||Money||Long term business|
So, there are 5 different types of stakeholders but again, I need to make something clear. Everyone and everything are a stakeholder in this case because it is dealing with WATER! [if you are an IDEAS major you get what I am saying].
Step 4: Formulate an alternative solution- For this step, I chose to analyze this case through the utilitarian lenses where one tries to maximize utility or overall happiness of the populace.
Step 5: additional assistance as appropriate: For this step, we talked in class about the Hippocratic oath, the engineering code of ethics. Both of which say “do no harm”. We also talked through various options weighing the pros and cons of each. I believe that my option would be the best using utilitarian thinking.
Step 6: Select the best course of action: In class, we typically come up with three different options. As you know from reading step 4 my option includes (1) doing the research, (2) paying the community, and (3) great involvement with the community.
I am back stateside and school is in session! This is the start of the third part of my GSIF Journey. Back at school, we are taking the seminar and I cannot wait for the puzzles, case studies, and just getting to work with other teams. Before we dive into this semester let us reflect a bit on fieldwork.
The top three things I learned during my GSIF trip this summer?
- One year can drastically change a developing country socially, economically, and enviornmentally.
- Supposed Failures can become new opportunities- “backups on backups”.
- Leadership is not so much about control as it is more about finding a ballence in your team.
For the first point, I travled to Sierra Leone last summer and returned this past summer for Ukweli Test Strips. Last year things were quite different. The exchange rate was something around 1USD:7600SLL. There was little construction happening. The CHW system was also funded by World Hope International. So what changed? 1) Inflation, there one dollar gives me about 9500 Leones. Inflation occurs more slowly in the States and I was shocked to see that it grew exponentially within the past year. Socially, the CHW system was changed as WHI no longer supports them. Through interviews, I discovered that the national government is adopting the program. Finally, there was so much construction on the roads. Sierra Leone is a quickly changing place and I wonder what it would look like in five years!
To the second point, we did not launch. Our marketing license did not go through. So what do we do? What can we do? We turned this supposed failure into a new opportunity, hiring Hassan to be our messaging employee to “create a demand” for Ukweli.
The last point was especially important for my team and me. Leadership is not always about who is the loudest, the first to say something, or the person doing all of the work. Working as a team requires the individual people to work like gears- interlocked and turning in sync. For example, on Ukweli we have a person for Con-Ops, Marketing/Messaging, Quality Control, Administration/Finance, and obtaining our license. If we did not have this fieldwork would have been a disaster.
How did fieldwork facilitate professional development?
- Working with negative attitudes.
- Seperating the personal from the professional.
- Responsibility is tough but rewarding.
One of my biggest challenges during fieldwork was working with negative people. (forgive me this might sound pretty hippy-esc) If you come in with negative energy and hold it close then all you will be giving to others is negative energy. I firmly believe that if you go into a situation with conviction and optimism then you are more inclined to see opportunities for success, no matter how crappy the present seems to be. This first point ties closely with the second as I want to be friends with my team but it is extremely hard when you are with them 24/7 and the professional/social environments become so mixed. Finally Responsibility. This time around I was tasked with managing the logistics for the fieldwork. This was no easy task and people really did not like me for a while. Looking back on it I started hating the extra responsibilities that I had but now I am so glad that I had them. These kinds of opportunities allow me to gain more unique skills, learn more, and do more. I will definitely jump on these kinds of odd jobs in the future.
How did I grow personally?
- You cannot be friends with everyone.
- Curb your expectations
- Realization that this is what I want to do with my life!!!
Okay, so it is no secret that there were 24+ unique people on this trip. At first, I thought how nice it would be if we were all buddy-buddy and got stuff done while being close friends. The reality is that we all come to fieldwork with unique backgrounds and attitudes that sometimes do not align with my own. This does not mean that because of that I cannot be social with them. I just do not get along with them. That is fine. As long as we can help each other get stuff done in a meaningful and productive way, I think we will all be happy. Finally, I realized sometime during fieldwork that this is my calling. I work well in lower resource settings where its all about quick thinking, pivoting and results-driven work.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned, next week I will be writing about a special case study!