Discussing the Needs of the Community and How the MPC Can Help


During the initial meeting between the working group members, community leaders Trevor and Alfred, the WPI students and advisors, and Joey (representing the Municipality), there was a discussion over the wants and needs of the community. Joey was clearly hesitant about the idea of a multi-purpose community centre within Langrug, believing it to be more a want of the community than a need. Following the meeting, we decided it would be important to discuss whether or not this MPC would truly benefit the community, or if it was more of a want as Joey suggested.

Cast of Characters

Michaella, Ralle, Bob, the working group members from Langrug


Everybody gathered outside of the wendy-house with chairs in a circle. In the centre of the circle, we placed a large sheet of paper held down by rocks which we used to list all of the ideas we gathered as a group about the needs of the community.


During the initial meeting with the Municipality, Joey outlined four guidelines that they consider important towards any project sponsored by the municipality; health, safety, education and socio-economic development. Because of this, we chose to focus on these four elements during our discussion. We started by talking with the working group and learning about specific needs within Langrug regarding these focus areas, and we were actually quite surprised at how much knowledge and information they hard to share. For example, when talking about education, we learned that some of the working group members had already collected information from almost all of the sections about how many children were currently enrolled in crèches within the community, along with how many were not. This is information that helps to outline the issues that the community is dealing with, as well as brainstorm ways in which the MPC can address them.

Next, rather than focus on the needs or the problems within each of these main topics, we went back through each of the four and outlined opportunities that the MPC could provide for the community. It seemed as though the working group already had a good understanding of how they were hoping this MPC could help, such as ideas like a crèche, a reading room, and a mobile clinic. While we were easily able to discuss health and education, safety and economic development were areas that were more difficult to expand upon. However, by the end of our discussion, everybody had a better understanding of the current situation and how this MPC is absolutely a need in addressing many important issues.

Following this discussion, the WPI students drafted a formal proposal consisting of all of the information that was gathered to be submitted to the Municipality explaining the need for an MPC.

Reflection and Learning

This exercise was really useful in facilitating progress not only with the MPC, but with the working group’s ability to clearly communicate their ideas. The working team seems to have trouble expressing their concerns and collecting data in an effective manner, so this approach was a good way to  begin working towards getting the MPC funded. It was also useful for us to be able to clearly see where the gaps were in the planning. We wrote out these lists on large pieces of paper, so it was easy to see that safety and socioeconomic development plans were lacking when those columns were left almost blank. We also noticed that the working group sometimes repeats their ideas, but when they could clearly see them written out on the sheet of paper, this repetition decreased.

During this exercise, we learned that it can sometimes be difficult to gain information and input from the working group if we do not directly ask for it. Something which we should focus on is how we can communicate more effectively with the working group as well as trying to get the working group to share their knowledge more openly. This would save time as well as benefit the project as a whole.