Have I forgotten anything?
A new student prepares a map for understanding their project. They think about budget, activities, results. Of indicators and stakeholders, of objectives and threats, of assumptions and implementations.
Many questions arise. Do all paths lead to the desired outcome? Can we use shortcuts to achieve the results? Can going backgrounds sometimes bring us forward? Should it look pretty? And most important of all: Have I forgotten anything?
Between September and December 2020, I did a weiterbildung in Coordination of International Projects and Climate Adaptation, which is a fancy way of saying Development Cooperation.
I spent four months in a small town in north Hessen, Germany, and attended daily classes as part of a group of 20+ people. Many of us also lived together, split in two big houses, sharing not only our lectures but also spending together most of our free time, cooking and eating together, drinking and smoking.
During this time, our tools were the contents of a Moderationsbox, colored cards of all shapes (but mostly rectangular) and markers; our working surface was some big, brown paper; our task, to understand the needs of imaginary global-south peoples, map their problems and come up with project ideas that might solve them.
After seeing how many cards we were generating and throwing away, I started collecting them, and shortly before I finished my studies, I came up with the idea for this work. Most cards featured here were written by fellow students. Their layout and accompanying text is, of course, my own.
The student falls into many traps and problems typical of the trade. From lack of time or funding, to white-saviourism, unrealistic expectations, overenthusiasm and a disconnection with the needs of the beneficiaries. Whether the project will be successful or not is not the important question, but rather, for whom?
Have I forgotten anything? was exhibited in 2021 at the Gesellschaft für Nachhaltige Entwicklung Witzenhausen.