Reflections from the Field
Putting Process Into Practice
After five weeks on route in four different communities, I would like to humbly suggest an addendum to the age old saying, practice makes perfect. Here in Azuero I have learned that process can make perfect, too.
As an organization, AMIGOS places great emphasis on the process of accomplishing the summer project alongside the community. From this framework of community engagement, one of the most quintessential aspects of AMIGOS receives its name: the Community Based Initiative Process (not Project). Making sense of community change as a process, requires an understanding that the process by which we accomplish our summer projects is arguably more important than the end result.
Process has manifested in different ways in all four of my communities. For one community, the process has included collaborating with the locally elected Community Representative to bring tires to the community for a tire recycling project with the youth during campamentos. In another community, the process has been entirely youth led by a local youth group, who have already finished their first CBIP after raising funds and are thinking about the next projects in the months to come. In another community, process has meant knocking door to door to solicit community opinion and support in creating a park where youth and families can enjoy public space.
However, process has shared some commonalities amongst my four projects. In all sites, community vision and youth involvement has been integral. Equally important have been community reunions in which updates are given in regards to the projects. Understanding that the process of community empowerment should, and will, continue after AMIGOS participants leave this summer, the efforts of my participants in this week is establishing systems of accountability for youth and local leaders to continue envisioning and enacting positive changes for their communities.
The idea is that the end results of the CBIPs stand as representations of the power that communities have when they work together, and when the process of change is honored and prioritized. As rising leaders, AMIGOS participants- whether international, national, local, or otherwise- bring this summer to a close with a deeper understanding of the process needed to bring about a result by means of empowerment, inclusion, and collaboration.
If practice makes perfect for one person, process makes perfect for a community.
– Matthew, Project Supervisor, Azuero, Panama, Summer 2016
- A Summer in Panama: Claire’s Experience - September 13, 2017
- Alumni Spotlight: How AMIGOS Impacted Darien Clary’s Career - July 31, 2017
- Partner Spotlight: The World Affairs Council of Austin - January 23, 2017