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Story One

She did not clear the pathway

by Phil Bartle, PhD


Short stories to illustrate the principles

Rebecca got a job with one of the international NGOs working in her country. She went through their training and was eager to start empowering communities in the district where she was assigned.

Soon after she started, she started hitting snags. The district planner told her that first she must write a formal letter of application to get permission to work in the district. She was called up in front of the council and grilled on how much money she was bringing into the district and what kinds of projects she would complete. She had a difficult time explaining that she could not say at the outset for it depended upon community priorities. Their scepticism was like a wall across her path. She got visits from police officers and other mysterious officials asking about her objectives.

What was wrong? She had not taken the time and effort at the beginning, before she tried doing any community work, to visit the District Administrator and explain to him how he would benefit from more empowered communities. Similarly she had not demonstrated to those with vested interests in things remaining the same, including members of the District Council, that it would be to their advantage to support the process. The snags in her pathway were there because of her own approach. As with many of these incorrect beginnings, even after the problem is identified, it is not easy to go back and start again.

These stories are based on actual events. The names of people and places have been changed for the sake of anonymity.

If you copy text from this site, please acknowledge the author(s)
and link it back to cec.vcn.bc.ca/cmp/

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2012.07.06

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