Chapter 3: What communication tools can be utilised to gauge a community’s aspirations?

Click to read about our interviews!

Useful methods for obtaining information from another person or group of people are one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and community forum discussions. We utilised each of these tools to form a foundation for the path of the programme. Personal interviews were used to gain a better understanding of the current youth programmes in the community and how they function. After discussing the hopes of many community members, our group came up with a list of possible project ideas that could be pursued during our seven weeks in MGV. These ideas included writing a book about MGV and its history, cleaning up the community, designing a community centre, assisting with technological wizbangery (know-how), creating brochures detailing Oude Molen’s-the neighbouring eco-village- venues, beautifying the crèche, and creating a youth development programme.

After presenting these options to our project sponsors, they analysed each and decided that the beautification of the crèche and creation of a youth development programme for ages thirteen through twenty-one  were the most beneficial for the community based upon feedback from residents. We conducted many interviews as well as focus groups and open discussions using questions that would provide constructive answers. Each of these was used to gain knowledge on how to keep youth interested while educating them, with the intent to focus on their strengths as opposed to focusing on their weaknesses. We interviewed the principal of the crèche, the Anglican Church youth group leader, and a resident of the village who had past experience with Cape Youth Care, a successful youth development programme. We also had a focus group at the local primary school that consisted of our team, two sponsors, the principal of the school and eleven teachers. This group helped us to brainstorm ways of implementing the programme with the community to ensure greatest attendance and success. Using these ABCD approaches we were able to build a community development programme that focuses on the greatest interests and skills of the youth. In addition, the Asset Based approach to this project highlighted the residents’ talents and skills, which had since gone unappreciated. Sheila and Ronell emerged as community leaders through the collaborative work efforts with our team.