Lee Reh Angelo had previously been interested in development but he did not understand the different theories of change. As a village leader, he practised top-down development. However, following the training he used more participatory methods. He has seen for himself that these are more effective at sustaining action and more satisfying for himself and the community. He also has the knowledge and skills to get people involved.
ActionAid has developed a variety of tools and consulative processes that help villages get involved in finding solutions to their own problems.
These tools are effective at mobilising people,” he explained. “My favourite is the 'resource map' as it makes people see what the resources are in the community, and then I use the 'problem tree' and compare the two so that we can see how to resolve the problems with the available resources. I also like the 'dream map'.
However, it was not all easy. Only five people turned up to Angelo’s first community meeting, and there did not appear to be much enthusiasm to experiment with his new methodologies. He then changed his strategy and joined the villagers with their work in the farms, talking to them as they worked. This was more strategic and his commitment to village work enthused the community to get involved with what he was doing. After a while, and with the support of a community volunteer (trained by Angelo), things improved. One step was to bring together the multiple existing groups so that there was one village development group that represented the village.
Angelo then used the dream map methodology and worked with the village group to identify the village’s priorities. They decided that it would be useful to have a bridge that would join the neighbouring village. The funding for this bridge was shared between the government, the village and the project.
After identifying the issue of water scarcity, the village contacted the government and received the funding to build a pond, with the result that fresh water is readily available.