This participatory project was undertaken by a team of researchers to stimulate a Citizen Action Project (PAC) in Las Brisas, Mexico, allowing citizens to engage with issues affecting their community, successfully leading to the implementation of security-related ideas.
Problems and Purpose
In Las Brisas, Mexico, a project was designed to help organize the community in the process of developing participatory action plans to address community issues, most notably security in this case. A team of researchers saw through the organization and support of different activities seeking to realize and sway the community toward improving problems. The first steps of the project involved developing ties with the community and understanding their concerns, followed by collaboration on an action plan to address expressed security concerns, which was successfully developed and implemented.
Background History and Context
The community is a group of people who share something in common such as customs, values, duties, geographical location, etc., which are fundamental in creating a unique identity that separates them from other groups. The first step to achieving the development of a citizen action project in Mexico was community immersion. The creation of confidence, respect, competency and work between members of the community and others as a part of a team is of utmost importance.
It was decided that a project would be completed in the community of Las Brisas since it was easily accessible and important contacts had already been established. It was concluded that there were not any noticeable limits present in terms of temporarily becoming part of the community, especially since this is an essential part of observing any group.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
A state agency and some businesses located nearby were collaborators in implementing the participatory project. Sponsors for funding included Berel and Gilsa.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Given Las Brisas' large geographic size, limits were established, narrowing the community to about 150 homes, of which there were about 550 inhabitants. The chosen community was located on Acapulco boulevard on the Garza Sada side. The most influential participants wree long-term inhabitants, those with social capital, and people who had taken part in youth meetings. There were open invitations to all neighbors so that they could attend and inform themselves more.
Methods and Tools Used
Know what methods or tools were used? Help us complete this section!
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Step 1: Immersion in the community
The strategies used to in approaching the community were getting to know the community physically and establishing contact. Considering that one of the team members of the project, Raul, already belonged to the community, a certain general idea of how to do this was present. It was nonetheless necessary to visit to get to know it and to create a certain amount of confidence. This was done first by approaching Mrs. Rosalina (Raul’s mother), who facilitated connections with others who should be addressed in order to conform to the customs of the settlers and induce them to achieve something for the community. She therefore introduced the team to Mr. Adolfo Siller, a member of the community who knows very much about it and its various inhabitants. Thanks to Mrs. Rosalina, the project team was able to talk to him and they clarified the objective in the project, which is the organization and support of different activities seeking to realize and sway the community toward problems which could be improved. There was a feeling that a solid contact had been created as long as the team showed a good attitude, respect, and a willingness to help.
After becoming a bit more aware of the community, it was decided that various tools would be used in order to be effectively linked and in contact with it. A map of the community was created for learning its streets, its organization, its major features, and its number of families. The last part is important since it is important for members of the community to see interest in and knowledge of the community in order to create a certain amount of confidence and to be able to participate in the action project.
On the other hand, Mr. Adolfo Siller was interviewed in order to get to know the community a bit better, to see what type of improvement activities had been completed, and if there was a link between any members in those projects, among other things. Additionally, a checklist of questions about the community was used. Mr. Siller mentioned, broadly, recent troubles among certain neighbors due to various problems in the community as well as general features of the community.
Transcript of Interview:
1. Who makes up the community? How many members are there? For how long have they belonged to the community?
There are about 120 families and they’ve lived here for different amounts of time since there are, after all, some new neighbours. There are people who have lived here in Las Brisas for than 25 years. It’s a middle class community, to say it simply.
2. What type of people belong to the community? (adults, young people, students, professionals, employees, etc.)
The majority are adults, although lately young people have come to live here.
3. Which professions do they have?
Some are pensioners, other are lawyers, accountants, small business owners, among other things.
4. Do they feel like they are part of the community?
The community is as a whole very unified, and so yes, they consider themselves part of it.
5. Have the members of the community worked in a collaborative in the past?
We have in the past stated that no, although we found out in the second to last meeting that a group of neighbors had been working on the upkeep of the park, among other activities. Although, there were not very many individuals were involved in this.
6. Is there a certain worry among inhabitations concerning various problems in the community?
There are many who complain about the insecurity, noise, traffic, etc. Nonetheless, we don’t know of a principal problem affecting everyone.
Immediately after doing the interview, it was decided, together with the representative, that the team would call for weekly meetings (Thursdays at 8:00) during which some members of the community would assist in order to speak about any worries in the community. It was decided that Mr. Siller, among other neighbours, would invite the researchers to attend.
Step 2: Social Research
The social research followed immersion into the community, which allowed the team to have a deeper understanding of the people who inhabit it. To develop this, it was necessary to develop more organization and transparent communication between all parties. It was very important to establish strategies to help the community to identify its most pressing concerns. Nonetheless, before starting the meeting, a general analysis concerning the data collected during the first step was done in order to have a proper understanding of the community.
Important data used for the project:
A) Who makes up the community? It was decided that geographic limits to the project would be established as las Brisas is a very big place; this was done with the aim of receiving more considerable results and changes. A specific sector of the community was chosen, which includes about 150 homes. The specific delineations are featured in the sourced map.
B) About 550 people live in the community, including children and adults.
C) It is located in Acapulco boulevard on the Garza Sada side.
D) Who are the individuals of most influence in the community? People who have already lived here a long time as well as people who have taken part in youth meetings.
E) What type of influence do they exercise? They exercise a form of communicative influence and are in charge of informing others and then they discuss problems which affect them as a society. They allow them to see that they can work together for, among other things, a cleaner, more organized and safer community.
F) Who could be collaborators in the implementation of the participatory project? A state agency, some businesses located nearby, the same people, etc.
G) Who could get in the way of progress? Such individuals do not exist; there is only the issue that some people are not involved as actively.
H. Some of the identifiable values of some people include communication, respect, service, and tolerance.
I. Some of the community’s interests include resolving its problems.
Some meetings were organized with the community every Thursday at 9 o’clock at night, where all were meant to give their point of view concerning different problems by which the community of Las Brisas found itself affected. It was necessary to know those point of views and analyze the principal problems affecting the community.
5 leaders were elected during the meeting, through voting. All attendees were able to vote and it was decided that this would be the best solution as the team members did not belong to this community. The vote was open; the name of the person who wished to be a representative was stated and all of those who wished that he/she be a representative raised their hands. Nonetheless, there were six principal leaders who would attend all the meetings and will inform everyone of what has been discussed: Adolfo Siller, the president, followed by Eustolio Cano as vice president, Victor Vigueras as substitute vice president, Rosy Garza, Julia Rivera, and Mayra Rodriguez as representatives of the population.
After the selection of the leaders, various problems affecting inhabitants of the community were discussed. Interviews were completed in order to exactly know what each person was thinking and to later complete an analysis with the representatives to identify three principal problems. The members of the community answered the following questions: “What do you not like about your community?” “Would you like to change it?” “Why?” All went on to provide their point of view in what turned into an outpouring of ideas, whereby each mentioned problem and how many people supported fixing this problem were recorded. This strategy was highly appealing to the research team because each person said what they thought, what bothered them, which problems they had, and more.
Step 3: Identification, Analysis, and Problem Selection
Again, the community’s leaders were formed starting from the first official meeting had with the community. This is the strategy used so that everyone could give their point of view (president, vice president, representatives). These individuals were spoken with concerning the importance of defining the problems which affect the community of Las Brisas, seeing this as a moment of reliability, feasibility, impact, etc.
It was through this dynamic that an attempt was made to open leaders’ minds so that they could understand that there could be other problems of equal importance to that of security and in each case continue with the project. This activity was designed to give them the opportunity to see the whole panorama of what represents the solution of a problem which everyone has in common.
The team explained to them the selection matrix of the problem and that of impact vs. feasibility and they filled it out. With the selection tables and matrices, it was found that many of the problems were not very feasible and had low impact. For example, the traffic problem's solution was basically impossible and necessitated help from the government and traffic security in order to achieve something which would help many; but, it would also leave others left out seeing that traffic closes at one point and comes out another, which would basically mean that it would have low feasibility and low impact. On the other hand, the trash problem was a problem which had a very achievable solution, but does not have a high level of impact as many people can see it as a problem of little need as well as a problem which will not lead to a big change. Slowly, the team realized which were the problems of most need, ability, impact, and feasibility through analyzing problems through the matrix.
After seeing every point on the tables, they decided to choose the one result which was the most important in terms of its level of feasibility, gravity, and impact: the problem of security.
After selecting the principal problem, analysis was conducted of what was behind this problem, what effects it had, how many were affected, etc. The conclusions came to were that one of the cases was that there are vandalistic groups or “cholos”. Various accounts also held that the “cholos” bought off the police so that they were able to steal, something that deals greatly with the problem of corruption. Furthermore, many representatives recounted stories of theft as well as the great discomfort that comes with this problem. Many people started to give solutions which could end the problems. Regardless, a more complete analysis will be completed later which will provide solutions to the problem as well as which steps should be followed.
Step 4: Planning for action
In order to complete this step, it was necessary to coordinate a reunion with members of the community and to apply certain public information strategies. Nonetheless, plans were set to have weekly meetings to speak, organize, and comment on activities or successes which had been achieved in the community.
The meeting focused on what was necessary to start planning for action to solve the problem. Comments were also made concerning the logical framework matrix; nonetheless there was no noticeable interest in developing it or at least comments and questions concerning it. Many members of the community started to give ideas concerning the solutions which could be made and also began to decide which actions were achievable. Unfortunately, there was no organizational framework for this. This was the appropriate moment to once again bring up the necessity to carry out a work plan, seeing that the example of the disorganization which they were experiencing in that very moment could be improved.
Members of the community quickly realized the error they were committing by not properly organizing or defining what they were trying to do. They therefore finally showed interest in the planning which they were told was of necessity. Various members asked what the matrix was, what it would contribute to solving problems, and what advantages were had by answering it, before they decided to convene next Tuesday with the same leaders to solve the issue of the matrix and the work plan.
At that Tuesday meeting, members of the community were able to choose the way in which they would want to answer the matrix. The majority decided that the process be guided with the team filling them out while they commented and then later analyze the result to define everything in a more competent manner.
The development process for the matrix was very successful. Everyone was able to properly define the goal and purpose of the project, even though there were some differences of opinion in the elements and activities. Many mentioned that they would like to hire police so that they could watch over the sector while others rejected this by mentioning that these services were not safe considering the level of corruption which currently exists in the country. On the other hand, comments were made that cameras as well as a security booth could be installed in the community. They also exchanged ideas which advocated giving carwash personnel and service staff identification badges in order to know who they are.
After having a grand opinion-based discussion, elements and activities were defined. It was decided that police would be contracted in order to prevent the problem of corruption; it was decided to go to the Secretariat of Public Security to talk about the problem, request the police force and ask which ideas and elements could be made a part of the government of the state of Nuevo León.
After the actions which would be achieved were defined, the work plan in which each leader and representative of the community said what would be the most easy to do was debated.
Step 5: Mapping of social capital / contact and support of stakeholders
The social capital in the society is made up of:
- Neighbours in the vicinity with or without accessible income
- The safety committee
- Nearby business and sponsors (Berel, Gilsa, etc.)
- Workers (car washers, gardeners, journalists, etc.)
- Other people (ADT, undersecretary of public safety, public works, etc.)
Neighbours are particularly necessary for this project since without their interest or participation, it is not possible to do anything. The Safety Committee is very necessary since it is the leaders who participate, organize, and conduct principal activities; furthermore, they inform the rest of the neighbours concerning progress in the project. Business and sponsors are important because when they participate, they can give an essential amount of funding for the project. The workers do not live in the community but nonetheless are part of it and frequent it often. These individuals could be considered suspects of theft and assault, which are the principal problems in the project. Authorities are necessary since they are in charge of providing permits, help, and opinions concerning the activities which could be done in order to achieve the objective.
These are without a doubt the individuals who were relied on to develop the Citizen Action Group Project (PAC).
Most of the people already knew the team with the exception of some neighbors who had not attended. On average, 10 to 25 people attend the meetings on Tuesdays or Thursdays. They are nonetheless held responsible for informing themselves, with meetings being open.
On the 5th of September, a meeting with the Secretariat of Public Safety took place, which the president of the Committee, Adolfo Siller, attended. The president brought a circular letter in which backgrounds and petitions of the community were mentioned and which also contained signatures by the inhabitants. Chief Fernando Torre y Cuevas responded to Siller’s concerns and invited him, as a solution, to the Neighborhood Police program, which was implemented in 55 neighbourhoods and consists of cooperation between the state government and the inhabitants.
On the other hand, Mrs. Rosalina Garza, committee member, contacted Juan de Dios Saucedo, who is a member of the Multi-Systems of Industrial Safety Group (MSI) so that he could inform himself about this group. De Dios Saucedo gave out a booklet which mentions the major functions and advantages of the MSI.
A meeting with Ramón de la Peña was set to take place in order to facilitate the application process for permits for the security booth, but this could not take place October 1 due to certain mishaps, but work is being completed on this.
All members of the committee, representatives, and various neighbors gave their points of view in a direct way and they are fully committed to participating. Conversely, security authorities committed themselves to giving all support necessary once it is completely ready to implement the project of neighborhood police. For the time being, patrol groups are passing at different hours until an automobile and a security booth is provided.
The six principal leaders from the committee, the directors (Adolfo Siller, Eustolio Cano, Víctor Viqueras, Rosy Garza, Julia Rivera y Josefa Villarreal), representatives from each block and the neighbors who are willing to participate or who wished to inform themselves on the project participated in the next community meeting (September Tuesday 25). In this next meeting, in addition to motivating inhabitants to participate, progress on activities set to be completed was a topic of information (among others, matrix, program).
Step 6: Community Meeting
Around 100 people participated in the community meeting which took place in the garage in Mayra’s home. Chairs and a microphone were all asked for by the organizers. The principal objective was mentioning the way in which action will take place, what members are planning to do, as well as the citizens’ motivation so that they can call for necessary economic aid to achieve this.
Laura Hinojosa was the documentarian in this meeting since she was in charge of writing down the principal points at the source of the meeting. Raúl Garza was the facilitator since he was in charge of supporting the committee and resolving conflicts throughout the meeting. Eduardo Dantes was the Operative Support since he was in charge of giving his support to the research team as well as to those on the committee.
Before beginning with the meeting, in accordance to how people arrive, the sheet with the information on the Supervisory Committee was given and a sheet with a map of the community highlighted the blocks which were the focus for achieving the goal of the program.
The order of the day went as follows:
- Give an introduction to the meeting (Adolfo Siller), present the six committee leaders, name the representatives in each block (so that inhabitants know who their representative is) and mention the objective of the meeting.
- Mention obtained achievements in a meeting with the Public Safety Secretariat.
- Shine a light on activities which are still to be done (Narrative summary of objectives).
- Mention elements and the budget for each one (indicators).
- Motivate the inhabitants to participate by mentioning the advantages to this.
- Highlight the need for economic support by everyone.
- Present the contribution that would be asked for by each home.
- Give the floor so doubts, comments and declarations can be heard.
During the Community Meeting, the order which was decided upon in the agenda was followed. It began 5 minutes later than the decided upon time to give opportunity to those who left their homes late. The inhabitants were attentive, there was no need to silence anyone, and the microphone was very helpful given the amount of people that appeared. It was used to great efficacy so all people could listen.
Adolfo Siller was the one who really orchestrated the meeting, although the 6 principal committee members also participated through small declarations. This was the done with the goal of not losing the attention of the inhabitants while so many different people spoke.
Visual support was very simple, although it seemed instrumental in involving people more and creating different points of view which are occasionally suppressed since often only a few inhabitants speak. When using this support, more participation was witnessed.
A summary with information of how a police neighbourhood program in another community (Sierra los Leones) functioned was given. This was obtained by Mrs. Rosalina, a neighbour in the community.
Notes were taken in a flip chart so that everyone could clearly see what was being and what will be done in a structured manner.
A map of the community was made (various drafts were turned in) so that other places of the security booth’s installation could be discussed (one choice already existed, but it was important to keep debating or to see if there was a better option).
Step 7: Action Implementation
An inummerable amount of activities have been created for the action implementation, as much with corresponding authorities (public safety, public works, etc.) as with the neighbours and the committee.
It was necessary to use a report for the creation of record books. This report would give proof to whichever neighbour of their investment, it would state which points are covered by the project as well as state what money would be spent and invested. Once written, the record books began to be handed out among representatives of every block who would then commit to charging the corresponding money to each house. This amount came to a total of 1200 Mexican pesos.
On the other hand, concerning sponsors, Mrs. Rosalina Garza had been contacting an acquaintance of hers, Sergio Anguiano (Gilsa), who promised to build the security booth as a donation. Furthermore, an outline of the type of booth was provided to him, including its dimensions, facade, and more.
The team involved received the permits themselves with Mr. Eustolio Cano and other neighbors with Mr. Ramón de la Peña on October 12. He mentioned that it was not to his benefit to help directly, seeing that the necessary work is divided between the state and the municipal village, and that the issues surrounding las Brisas would correspond more to state agencies (José Natividad Gonzáles Parás). Ramón de la Peña committed himself to supporting the community and to send a corresponding letter with the permit requests for the installation of the security booth as well as for public services.
Eustolio Can, on the other hand, spoke with architect Jesús Cantú (public works), who came by to complete an inspection of where the security booth will be placed and found that this was a valid and acceptable idea. He only asked for a map of the place as well as the security booth’s design (both things were sent by email). The architect promised to report back, which he eventually did and approved the plans. He only asked that representatives go to the property with the charter of the association and that permit was already ready. Relatedly, there was a meeting with the accountant Patricia Mercado on October 16 to speak about how to go forward in officially creating an association.
Currently 120,000 Mexican pesos have been collected, which have been deposited in a bank account and secured using four signatures. Contributions given by the neighborhoods have been promising, although about 50 percent of the neighbors have contributed through payments and others have been a bit slower to cooperate. The treasurer provided receipts to the individuals who have turned in money.
The purchase of the vehicle will occur once there is more capita since there is a common belief that if the car is purchased now, many people who have not cooperated will not contribute.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
During the nightly meeting, it became clear that many people were interested in resolving many problems which affect the community. About 24 people of the community’s 120 families attended, informing the others who could not attend on what took place. Therefore, a kind of social chain developed.
After people commented on problems affecting them, three problems were selected according to the amount of people who had the same problem in common. These problems were: trash, security and traffic.
The following agreements have been agreed upon for the implementation of the project:
It is considered very important that inhabitants participate economically so that an automobile can be purchased and the security booth can be installed. In order to do this, some vouchers were completed with the following message: “Contributions by each home in the community for the purchase of a surveillance vehicle as well as the maintenance, holding, and gasoline for a year.”
The cost or contribution will be 1200 pesos (about 90 US dollars).
The money will be charged by every representative in the block, who will then provide money two one of the two appointed treasurers, Julia Rivera and Rosalina Garza. Each neighbour will receive a receipt of their payment as well as a sticker of verification.
It then became clear that the Neighborhood Police program would begin once the vehicle was purchased and the booth was installed.
It was also agreed that if more than 70 percent of the block does not support the program and does not want to contribute to the project economically, that block will be out of the program. This was done with the goal of having the same members of that block motivate those who do not want to participate. If there is any doubt or complaint, inhabitants can communicate with whichever leader of the director’s table or with their block representative for clarifications (Information on the sheet provided by the Surveillance Committee).
It was also decided that there would be less meetings in the end in order to prevent fatigue. Due to this, information pamphlets or letters will be sent to neighbours so they can remain informed.
It is hoped that those in charge of the approval of each indicator will be the president and vice president of the committee (Adolfo Siller and Eustolio Cano). This is a point needing clarification with the community’s members.
For the car: Up until now efforts have only been dedicated to seeking alternatives and options for vehicles that could be purchased as well as prices and models. Research has also been committed to equipment, locks, etc., so that when the car is finally purchased, everything can be done much more efficiently. However, since there has been no action on this front, there is no way to verify information. Notwithstanding, the amount of money necessary for this has been collected and proof of this is in the record books.
For the security booth: Discussions with corresponding authorities through Jesus Cantu (last contact in questions concerning the permit) are ongoing. He visited the community and decided upon the area in which the booth would be placed. It was necessary that the community be registered and this is currently being worked on. Sponsorship has been settled and is now ready.
For the permit, it is necessary to go to the appropriate authorities with the charter of the association which allows them to see it as an association from the community.
Police: The police is assigned by the state once the car and security booth are in place.
Cameras: Cameras have been left aside for the moment until more essential items are acquired. This is because the committee is only in charge of the car, the security booth, and the police force.
Report created for the community: The secretary, Mayra Rodriguez, is in charge of creating pamphlets which inform neighbours about the progress achieved so far as well as providing a certain number of pamphlets to block representatives so that they can deliver them to their neighbours.
The community has responded positively throughout the project’s duration. It is necessary to develop tools in this last phase of the project so that members of the community can familiarize themselves with the PAC (Citizen Action Project). The project’s sustainability has been growing thanks to the communication of some neighbours with other communities like the Col. Country, del Paseo Residencial, among others. Neighbours of las Brisas were invited to participate in a meeting concerning the PAC in the community of del Paseo Residencial. Around 15 neighbours attended this meeting, among them Mrs. Teresa Liscano who in 1990 was the president of the community. She was contracted by Mr. Eustoio (leader of the committee) with the goal of finalizing the transaction of the permits for the security booth as this individual is already registered alongside other neighbours as a civil association. She seemed very interested in participating. From this meeting onward, it was decided that besides the surveillance committee, it was convenient to create an improvement committee or meeting in addition to matters of security, in which other problems such as lighting, gardening, among others would be discussed.
Following this line of events and seeing how some members of the community have responded, it was decided that the leader for the sustainability of the PAC would be Teresa Liscano, Maria de La Luz Estupiñán (community member and teacher at the TEC) and Mr. Adolfo Siller with the support of the committee’s members.
It is necessary to register the committee as a civil association in order to be able to obtain the permit. In accordance with the decision of the board of trustees of 1990 this will be much easier as it is no longer necessary to create a new one and this can one can be simply renewed. It is also the intention of the organizers to create a council which acts as a monitor in order to evaluate the work of the security committee and everyone who participates in its implementation. This will be created once the project takes on a more concrete form. Even though there are already individuals who are supervising these actions, these activities are meant to eventually be formalized through a council.
The alliances upon which the community relies are the members of the Secretariat of Public Security of the State. They are going to be responsible alongside the residents concerning anything having to do with security. This alliance was developed since the first visit by the sub-director of the Secretariat, Mr. Torre y Cueva (It existed with the authorities through what will eventually become the Neighborhood Police program).
Other alliances upon which the community relies include with Gilsa, the sponsor for the security booth, considering that this company will be involved in the construction of the security booth and the project in general. This was realized by Mrs. Rosalina who contacted Mr. Sergio Anguiana, an employee at Gilsa, who committed to building the security booth as a donation by the company.
Analysis and Lesssons Learned
After applying the tools of immersion, visiting, and getting to know the community, the team realized that this was a very unified and peaceful place, especially after noticing that various neighbors from different blocks had a very close relationship. It has various parks which are found in good condition, houses are in good shape — which indicates that these are individuals from the middle-upper class — and the people interacted with were kind and well-educated. Each sector has approximately 120 families who have lived there for a long time, which indicates that it’s a place where individuals feel comfortable and would not be opposed to bettering it.
According to Christopher Smith, at the beginning, the research team felt a bit unsure, but once they assisted, acquainted themselves, and spoke with some members of the community, they began to feel motivated and sure that they could help to make a difference. They hoped that little by little the same members of the community would participate in order to combat the problems facing them.
The strategy of having individual interviews was highly appealing because each person said what they thought, what bothered them, which problems they had, etc. The members of the community enthusiastically answered questions. It was noticed that the inhabitants of the community see themselves very affected due to the problem of insecurity since their stories were often told with anger as well as the frustration of not being able to live in peace. The necessity and will among everyone to end this problem was very present. This step was based on identifying problems affecting the community. Every person was able to comment and give their point of view concerning each problem. According to Christopher Smith, the team believed that they were creating a good amount of contact with members of the community, but would like for more individuals to participate so everyone can be taken into account. They spoke with each representative about this matter so they could invite the rest to participate in the meetings.
Planning for action was a very important step in the project since if there was no proper organization in the project, it is highly probable that it will fail. The type of work as well as the participation of each member was very successful.
The large turnout at the community meeting suggested a marked increase in interest by the community. The speed within which the final resuts were accomplished was unanticipated.
Evaluation and Reflection with the community
To advise the community concerning the meeting, community members were called personally by phone. This was particularly helpful with the committee leaders and community representatives since they were the ones who did the most work. The President, Adolfo Siller, stated that there would be a meeting every Tuesday. It was still important to speak with someone concerning any progress and change there has been in the project, so there could no meeting especially dedicated to reflection. The committee representatives were aware that in addition to continuing organizational matters, the project was be reflected upon on November Tuesday 12 at 8:00 PM.
The team had planned to print out photos which were taken in advance so that they would see the effect they’ve had throughout the project. For example, photos were taken of the numbers of people who attended the meetings which gradually grew in size, of the security booth, the organization which they achieved in the creation of the committee by themselves, the sheet they made with telephone numbers so that they could communicate with each other, etc. Although the president told them that it would be necessary in order to advance the project, they were not able to do this due to the limited amount of time. The team signaled that the advances achieved, the organization that the community was responsible for founding themselves were the community's achievements and not theirs.
The president brought the car to the meeting which the community was able to pay for. This was done so everyone could look at it and share their opinion on it. So that they could participate and reflect, they were asked how they felt about the project and its achievements. They mentioned that they noticed the progress that they had had, especially considering everything was so disorganized at the beginning but slowly, in accordance with pressure, they went along organizing and formalizing their activities. They also mentioned that they were proud of having overcome any obstacles and conflicts which they came across throughout the project. They additionally said that they learned to work as a team, that’s to say, to relate to each other and to get to know each other since at the beginning, everyone had one problem in common: security; but despite this, they did not know each other, so they mentioned that was instrumental in uniting the community.
Christopher Smith writes that
"After completing this evaluation and reflection we told them that our semester was over and that our project had come to its conclusion, that they showed that they could move forward alone, that they know what to do and we hope that they continue to work and grow as they have already done. The representatives of the committee gave us their thanks for our help, they asked us if we were going to continue to visit and we told them that if they ever needed anything we would be there to provide our help. They then continued with their meeting and we were sharing our opinion concerning their progress and then we finally bid farewell, we gave them our thanks and we told them to continue on with their project until they achieve their objectives.
The truth is that we are very proud of our job, at the beginning of the semester as we spoke about matters concerning the PAC we did not believe that this was achievable and even be close to achieving the project’s objectives. Seeing the different achievements, the way in which the community moved and the way in which it is motivated makes us certain that the community will continue realizing activities in order to better itself, and they will no longer complain about some problem, but seek a way to resolve it. The formalization process which the community underwent as well as the project will make sure that this will extend much longer than the semester we spent there.
The PAC left us with a distinct lesson for each member of the team and everyone reflected on this matter."
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