When we talk about “development” work — in any form, there is this automatic assumption that the work that is being done is “good.” But this isn’t always the case. Help isn’t always good, especially when it is unwanted or forced. Often times the help given can be detrimental to the livelihoods of those that we are claiming to help. I like this quote for many reasons, but one is because it reminds us that ours is a collaborative work between equals. We cannot come from a place above to give help or aid, we must come as equals, humble and open, in order to share our dreams and collaboratively Dreamscape our world. Development can no longer be top-down imposition. It must be a collaborative endeavor.

My time in South Africa allowed me to witness the failures of development at the micro level. I was able to compliment my education and understanding of educational development at the macro level with work at the micro level. I was also able to glimpse a hope for us who are in this kind of work: The beauty of life.

I’ve been very fortunate that I started my internship as Molteno was finishing up a project. Despite my criticisms of the project, I’ve been able to put to use skills I learned in my quantitative and qualitative research classes. My fluency in STATA has been growing and I’ve been able to develop an efficient method to analyzing qualitative data in excel. Some of my favorite moments in this job is looking at the data, and deciphering how we could have implemented this project better. I’m a strong believer that monitoring and evaluation (M&E), when done right (and applied fairly), ensures…

In development, large initiatives and bold revolutions are often highlighted as the answer the the worlds problems — think Millennium Development Goals or the new Sustainable Development Goals. But this is wrong. What we need in development is not big revolutions with a capital R, but small revolutions. The kind that we find people doing everyday, in various schools and communities around the world. …

One of my critiques on the way current development work is done is that it focuses very heavily on implementing projects and programs on people without working with the people. It treats them as subjects instead of as people with agency. The lack of effective, collaborative efforts to enhance capacity is troubling. They are out there, but until recently they have been few and far between.

Dreamscaping, like teaching, is a collective endeavor. And when we come together, even we can’t imagine the possibilities.

Sagole Baobab – Largest Baobab Tree in South Africa in terms of overall size and dates to almost 2,000 years old.
Sagole Baobab – Largest Baobab Tree in South Africa in terms of overall size and dates to almost 2,000 years old.

Sagole Baobab — Largest Baobab Tree in South Africa in terms of overall size and dates to almost 2,000 years old.[/caption]

by Christian Kochon

I write this blog to you from Johannesburg, South Africa. It is not where I am from, but for the next few months it will be my home. I am here to fulfill a requirement for my Master’s program, interning at the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy. While here, I will be collecting and analyzing data for one project that is coming to an end, and assisting with the development of a new project that is just beginning. I have also been tasked with unpacking a section of the national curriculum to turn it into a professional development program…

2015 is a big year in development. It marks the end of the (failed) Millennium Development Goals and the beginning of the Sustainable Development Goals, which the United Nations will officially adopt this fall. Given the transition, I thought it would be an appropriate time to reflect on the concept of development and the industry that it has spawned.

Traveling, I lose myself

Christian Kochon

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