We have been working in the Bangkok project since last February. After all the readings, the analysis , the discussions, the presentations, I went to Bangkok with a lot of information and analysis in my head that would help me to maximize the potential learning during the few days that we were going spend in the field.
Our team worked in 6 different sites –two of us in one site each; trying to build and conceptualize a scenario of transformation in the “local” and the “global” scales. That was a challenge: the practicalities of the fieldwork –the specific requests of the communities, the amount of places visited, etc- were a factor that sometimes made our work to be more focused in the local than in the global or viceversa. In my case, the site visited was Khlong Toey, located in central Bangkok , where we were exposed to 8 different communities without having a specific task from them, that make our task slightly different from the rest of the teams (you can read more about the site in Farida`s or Sadiqa`s posts)
In the field, all our readings and discussions of abstract concepts and actors before Bangkok were “materialized” in different scales: community, district, city and metropolitan levels across the 6 different sites, across at least 4 central issues –land and house construction + finance and funds + community building/mobilization +partnerships. It looked complicated but it wasn`t! (Nevertheless it was actually a lot of work) Finally, our team managed –or at least I think so- to have a good level of understanding of the full picture- both local and global.
Back in London, we were able to articulate this understanding in the final presentation of the project, and afterwards, we did the same for the report. In the elaboration of the report, it was very helpful to clarify relations, positions and alliances between actors addressing issues in different scales the exercise of spelling out both the scale of the root of the problem in the diagnosis, and the scale in which the strategies and actions have to be implemented. Also it was crucial to this clarifying process the elaboration of how the synergies of different actions will address one or several of the issues arose in the diagnosis, which are intertwined with a full range of actors that –again, of course- are in different levels: community, district, etc.
Last week, when I was looking at the project report before the deadline, around 7.30 am when all the things were in place, pictures, graphs, etc, I was reflecting in ONE of the things I learned through this process: how different my understanding related with actors and scale is now, after Bangkok. Now I can see clearer than before the packed -and unpacked- actions/ actors/ issues that are multidimensional in its effects and impacts in the different scales. Before Bangkok, looking at the programme, we were doing assumptions based in our interpretation of what was going on in Bangkok. Seeing the reality help me to put all in place and make more clear connections between actors, issues and outcomes of the programme. The process of elaboration of the report, where we needed to explore our abilities to synthetize the information we gathered in the field + our previous knowledge about the case to elaborate the diagnosis and strategies in a clear and concise way was fundamental to build this new understanding I mentioned before.
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