Week X

Ladies and gents! We are almost on the finish line! We no longer count which week into the project it is – it’s officially a countdown!

This week was full of collaboration. At this point we are working with fellow watotos so well – we complement each other like the magical yin-yang of peanut butter and jelly. But it wasn’t always like that. It took us good 3 weeks to reach “Zen” of collaboration. I’d like to point out the fact that there are only two teams within our NGO group which was crucial for such an early onset of our strong cooperation.

10 people means more work done, right?

No. I’ve discovered that for us the biggest benefit of working in a larger group was not the amount of work done, but the quality of it. Having more minds on board allowed us to dig deeper in our research and more critically evaluate the challenges and propositions we defined for our NGO. Another great thing is that we are the “guinea pigs” of one of our own proposals to our NGO – the expansion of volunteer network. There are a lot of similarities between Stahili Foundation and our team in that matter. Stahili’s started of as a group of 3 with additional help of few wonderful volunteers, and with the amount of work they have right now they need to expand and diversify their volunteer network in order to maintain their rate of success. We, on the other hand, started of as two separate teams of 5 working on one goal, and very soon realized, that if we make it right, we will achieve greater success through collaboration. We tried different approaches in working in a large group before we discovered one that really suited us.

Our recipe to a successful teamwork

On Monday we gather together, review the agenda in the Manual and create our own interactive To-Do list. When we have defined tasks for the week, (for us it’s better to have two to three important tasks each week  – more tasks have negative influence on the quality of result), we split into teams of 4 or 5, according to one’s personal skills and desires. Afterwards we continue working within those teams throughout the week, and have whole group discussions at least twice during our meetings. There are several benefits of this practice – first, everyone gets to express their thoughts, second – each person concentrates on one team’s task, without having to switch between topics, and finally it builds up trust within our group.

Here’s some magic of our approach at work – last Wednesday our collaboration led to creation of a 2,5 m tall Storyboard.


Storyboard (flawless Manda on a stool for scale)

The evolution of our Storyboard

During the weekend everyone had time to reflect on the Storyboard we crafted on Wednesday individually, and one common thing that we unanimously agreed upon was that our story was too vague and complex for anyone outside of our group. We needed clarity. With few very useful insights from our teacher we created a guideline for the story we want to tell in the video. This time it covered not just the solutions to the challenges, but also explained why we chose these particular challenges and why is it essential for Stahili to address them first. Right now our Storyboard floats in digital space of Google Documents for each of the group members to see and improve.

What do we do now?

At the given moment, following our tradition, we split into two teams – one is working on the script of the video, and the other one is busy with researching technical aspects of our video-making. Every member has an assignment within his team that suits his or her capabilities best.

Above that, we are strongly cooperating with our NGO and look forward to meet with them again during our autumn break.

Life is sweet. So is my group.

Here’s something to read for desert – Watotomages – Reflection of week 7

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Posted in Blogs, InterHague, NGO Groups, Stahili Foundation, Students, Teams
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: InterHague