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These are questions that should guide your selection and execution of a project
Choosing the Community and Project
- How do community members make a living and what is life in the community like?
- Is there a commitment between both the team and the community to see the project through and maintain it afterwards?
- What resources does the community have (schools, clinics, electricity, water, latrines, internet)?
- How far must individuals travel for school and water collection?
- How are decisions made and are women involved in the local government?
- What is the phone number to the closest hospital to the community?
- Can local universities be involved?
- Is the country on the US-State department "do not travel" list?
- Where will the team stay? How much will travel accommodations cost?
- What health hazards exist in the area (malaria, yellow fever)?
- How did this project arise and what work has been done before in the area?
- Are there NGOs currently working in the area?
- Are foreigners welcome?
- When is the best time to go including holidays and weather?
Researching the Location
Check the following websites for information on your location
- USAID has country plans for individual countries - though they can be a little hard to find
- The CIA Factbook has encyclopedic information about every country
- Wiki Travel Is a wiki for travel
- Lonely Planet Has a lot of information for different countries
- The CDC travel guide has lots of information and good tools for travel health
Researching the Project
- Appropedia! just type your search into the search bar at the left
- CD3WD has a lot of technical information for almost any development project
- Appropedia's Google-based Public Domain Search Tool searches a lot of sources for open content information (perfect for porting to Appropedia)
- Will the project empower the citizens?
- How would these members be affected in terms of their economies, environments, culture and health?
- What are the socio-economics affecting the project?
- Did the community request the project or is an organization forcing the project on the community?
- What is the scope of the project?
- Will education of the local community be necessary for the project to be successful?
- Once completed, could be duplicated by members of the community?
- How can potentially negative effects be avoided?
- Will the community take ownership of and maintain the project after it is completed?
- How much will the project cost? how will these costs be covered? Is there a budget?
- Are the team members prepared for the cultural differences?
- Is there a translator on the team?
- What skills will your team need to complete the project?
- What alternate designs are possible?
- Is the building site level and are there latrines, water, and electricity?
- What construction materials are available to the community?
- Is the community willing to do a large part of the organizing and manual labor for the project?
- What construction techniques are in use in the community?
for water projects
- How far away and what is the elevation differences for freshwater sources?
- How high is the water table? Is ground water potable?