What Makes PoP Different?Team PoP July 19th, 2012
Today, Guatemala Country Director, Jesse Schauben, shares his thoughts on community engagement, and what it means to Pencils of Promise and the areas we work. Read more below!
Often I am asked what makes PoP different, and while my answer changes from time to time, I almost always touch on our ability to engage a community. Why is this aspect of our work important? Any time an organization asks a community for something as big as a 20% contribution on a $30,000 project, it’s essential that a connection be made with the village leaders. But when everyone in a community feels a greater sense of ownership over the schools we build, there is a domino effect. Instead of the minimum number of workers, many, many villagers will show up to a site ready to work, expediting the build process. When a light goes out, or a window pane cracks, the community is more likely to find the solution, because it’s not the school that Pencils of Promise built, and therefore their responsibility, but it is the community’s, and everyone’s responsibility. Most importantly, families increase their commitment to education. Parents who put the sweat into building a school are more likely to continue to send their children to it.
All of those actions take flight with the engagement process, and when I think of Pencils of Promise, this is what I think of. Community engagement is one of the strongest components of our work, and most recently I’ve been extremely proud of our engagement team, as they have taken to evaluating and revamping our ability to involve people on the community level.
There is risk in tinkering with what already works. That said, the Guatemalan office always strives to do better. This week, our regional coordinators from PoP’s three offices throughout Guatemala will converge to evaluate the above process. They will share both success stories and those where they fell short. The dedication that Alice, Diego and Marlon put in now will grow the commitment we receive in future communities.Donate