Initial Steps in Building Strong Relationships

Creating a strong relationship with residents of the community as well as the co-researchers in Langrug is vital towards creating a sustainable working environment. While the 2011 WaSH team found interactions with the co-researchers to be rather slow at first, they realised three major steps to follow that greatly improved their student/co-researcher relationships. First, the team found that beginning their day with an introduction into what they hoped to accomplish, with a strong emphasis on the fact that the students are working hand-in-hand with the co-researchers and the community of Langrug rather than for them, was a great place to start. The team also made sure that both the students and the co-researchers came up with their own ideas and designs that they felt would work best within the community, followed by group discussions on the various options that everyone presented. They followed a very participatory action driven approach in the planning stages of their project. Finally, the team strongly felt that in working side-by-side doing physical labour throughout the construction of the project, the co-researchers and students were brought closer together as one group out for one goal (Kenney 2011). Throughout the project, it is no secret that challenges will be faced both on the individual level and as a whole. However, working hand-in-hand with the co-researchers through these difficult times will no doubt bring us closer as the trip continues.