Guest Post by Sean Huber (Team Peru January 2013), Community Social Change Workshop, April 2013
Developing a framework for understanding how to repeat the process of community social change is incredibly difficult and involves far too many factors and variables that need to be addressed. The most apparent observation is that there is ambiguity, so adaptability is essential.
Team Peru began as a January term project lasting less than three weeks. This January, I spent three weeks with two current students and three former students of MIIS (half of the current AASD staff). We traveled to remote villages and at one point became fully-fledged members in an annual corn harvest celebration. Our main Team Peru objective was to develop a partnership model between a honey bee sanctuary and AASD in order to establish community growth through educational programs. These programs focused on the natural benefits of honey bee populations for agriculture, as well as the possible economic benefits of products coming from an active honey bee colony, a super-organism vital to healthy ecosystems. The relevance of our project was immediate as the community saw great value in honey bees and what they offer. The education and inclusion/contribution of locals was a paramount goal.
A community project that involved two organizations run by Americans working in Peru is a broad concept with an outcome that is not inherently obvious. What is obvious is how these communities have come to embrace the AASD at a level that eludes many NGOs, regional governments, and a myriad of other actors. AASD has strong community ties to a variegated group of villages that are relatively isolated but still welcome visitors and people that they consider part of their community.