Thursday, July 21, 2011

Making progress

Somehow, this is our last week working together in the office! We leave on Sunday for a 12-hour trip to visit a few communities in Rabinal, where we’ll be until Wednesday, and then Darcy heads back to the states on Thursday, immediately after we return. I’ll still be here for another 10 days after that, but we’re hoping to get as much done this week as possible, while we’re still both here. We’ve had to modify our work plan a LOT since we started our Fellowship, and a lot of the work we’ve done will serve as a jumping-off point for much bigger projects to come! Here’s a break-down of what we’ve accomplished this summer…

Our original goal was to produce a finalized, printable, distributable catalog and production guide for each community – but even with all of the work and community visits we’ve had, we’ve only reached the tip of the iceberg on this project. What we do have is an extensive spreadsheet containing information about each of the products that each cooperative we’ve visited produces, based on interviews of one artisan per product. We’ve visited each Nest group at least once – some twice – and have also visited a bunch of OB’s other groups for additional outreach. To supplement and explain the raw data in our spreadsheet, we’re also working on putting together a more qualitative report, including background information about Guatemala, Nest, and OB, general information about each of the group’s history, production process, and group dynamic, and any other pertinent information. The biggest problem we’ve had with this project is in obtaining the information – a lot of the women don’t know or don’t know how to calculate the information we need, or struggle to explain the production process to an outsider who’s unfamiliar with the materials and process – so we’re suggesting to OB that, as they continue with the process of working towards catalogs, they hold another catalog workshop with each group, explaining how to obtain the necessary information and going product-by-product to determine the information for each product. Then, as the project progresses, the actual formatting and production of catalogs can be done remotely – depending on how it goes, Darcy and I may continue to help with this throughout the next year or so.

At each community, Darcy and I also interviewed 2-4 women to gather information about their lives, families, and artisan work - with the help of OB's community facilitators as translators. We then wrote up each interview into a short story, which both OB and Nest can use on their websites or in other promotional materials as needed.

Lety and I in Morales
An artisan from Morales signing our conset form
Our third major project has been gathering media – we’ve compiled and taken thousands (literally!!!) of pictures and video clips of the cooperative’s products, the artisans, the communities, and the workshops. We’re now working on labeling, sorting through, and transferring all of these media files to both Nest and OB.

These have been our three largest projects, but we’ve also had plenty of smaller projects along the way:
  • Reviewing and improving OB’s new website
  • Blogging – here, on OB’s website, and on the new Berkeley in the World blog (
  • Reviewing and analyzing Nest/OB’s demographic surveys, to ascertain patterns, issues, and possibilities for improvement in the future
  • Inputting OB’s monitoring forms – which the facilitators complete after each workshop, taking note of things that went well and things that can be improved on – into an Access database
  • Outreach and promotion of OB and Nest, both in Panajachel and in Antigua
  • Translation of documents, press releases, and brochures

Both Darcy and I have made a commitment to follow through on all of these projects – and luckily, since we’ve already gathered most of the information, working remotely shouldn’t be too much of a problem once we return to the states. Once we finish with these projects, we’re also both planning on staying involved – helping with translations, designing catalogs, recruiting new volunteers, and any other projects that come up. We’ve also been discussing with Andrea the logistics of founding a “Young Ambassadors of OB” group based in the states – it’s just a lofty idea at this point, but hopefully we’ll have the time to sit down and make some tangible progress on this before I head back!

No comments:

Post a Comment