Friday, October 25, 2013

An Update from Muy Muy

This post is written by Ross Harding, PHPG’s communications volunteer currently staying in the Matagalpa region.

Today, I figure it’s a good time to catch up with our big project in Muy Muy that Eric told us about a couple of weeks ago. It also has a lot to do with PHPG’s work in Microfinance Plus programming that Trent talked about a few days ago, where we’re providing both an interest-free loan along with some training and support in order to make the loan really do the most work in helping get results.

As Eric described in the first Muy Muy post, the project revolves around getting the farmers of Muy Muy black bean seeds, which we expect will give a three-fold return at current prices once we get to harvest time. Because we all know that PHPG operates on a zero-interest model, this means the community will be able to keep a really nice chunk of change that, ideally, can be used to expand their profits even further during the next growing cycle – or whatever else they think is best for their money. They earned it, we just helped.

Concerning the Microfinance Plus element, back in September Eric and I attended a meeting with the community where we discussed what our partner organization, Multipro, is offering for the workshops, and what the community themselves were most interested in.
Eric at the September meeting where the community chose what workshop topics they were interested in.
This month, the first workshop took place. Eric and I were there, and had the pleasure of participating along with them. The subject: conflict resolution.
That’s David, who was the facilitator for this workshop. It’s hard to capture this with mere pictures and words, but he’s the kind of guy whose enthusiasm is really contagious. If I were the type of person to be prone to conflict, David’s energetic and engaging presentation would have surely changed my tune.

We began with some ice-breakers to get us all a little more comfortable with one another.

Laughs were had by all, but more importantly, a comfortable and open atmosphere was established. David delivered some of his presentation via PowerPoint and lecturing, and encouraging discussion from the participants whenever possible:
The participants were divided up into groups for more in-depth brainstorming activities:
And the ultimate conflict to resolve, without losing grip on one another:
But in the end, the most assuring sign from the workshop was simply looking at the participants during the presentation and seeing them actually interested, not yawning, chatting amongst themselves, or playing with their phones.

In summary, the workshop element of PHPG’s Microfinance Plus project in Muy Muy has gotten off to a very nice start, and I look forward to talking more about it in the future.

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