Regarding the topic of developing countries inclusion. I want to open a discussion line on the viability of creating debate to improve decision making within rural communities.
I’m currently working on my master’s project and it deals with decentralized electrification of rural communities in Guatemala. While thinking about ways to favor bilateral learning and include villagers into the decision making, the doubt arises on when and why should the involvement on the people stop.
The first idea is that major decisions, such as whether to develop the project, where to install the equipment, how to do the scheduling and others, should be taken by the villagers with some guidelines and advice if needed. Technical decisions such as, what technology to use, the raw dimensioning of the installation based on data, how to get funds, how to do the payback, should be determined by the organization and people with the technical knowledge.
Although initially this separation seems logical, I believe, here is where the alienation occurs, and unexpected problems arise. My question is, would it be possible/viable to open every decision into debate?
Can it be done that a master class on every subject (different renewable technologies, decentralized systems, dimensioning, economic models) is given prior to every decision, so that the options and expected outcomes, pros and cons are explained and the decision is made by each community having already some basic knowledge?
Can the follow up on the development and learning process of the decision be done by one organization?
Does this contradict the business idea of “don’t bother your client with information they don’t need” and would end up with people losing interest and complicating the process too much?
What aspects are currently being decided by the villagers, and what is determined by NGOs/companies?
If this way of working is implemented, projects would take much longer time and higher costs, but for me it seems like a fantastic opportunity for mutual growth.
For compromising those aspects, we would get in exchange, committed, wise communities that understand the process of electrifying a village, which in the end translate into empowering the community and forming leaders to spread innovation.
The organization in the other hand would develop deep project specific knowledge and remain flexible.
As you may notices, I have many doubts and the questions are very open. So I hope many of you find something you would like to comment on.
Silvia Francioso maybe you have some insight on how the NGOs communicate with the villagers regarding decision making.