EDToolkit Seed bank ?: The importance of an open-ended and adaptive approach to project design

One of the most difficult things in any project is figuring out how to get started. This rings especially true for earth defender communities, where the stakes are high and resources are scarce. In addition, when trying to counter or resist new threats that are emerging from the outside, the process of coming to an understanding about what kind of intervention is needed can take time, and may involve frequent realignment throughout. Hence, when designing an earth defender project it is important to avoid being locked into any one intervention or tool, and to allow for flexibility, iteration, and even improvisation. 

  • When starting an earth defender project, the concrete needs may not fully emerge until some time has passed, and it may be necessary to change course and adapt different processes and tools as needed – in other words, be patient, stay open, and avoid the mentality of “we have a hammer; let’s find nails.” ?
  • Take the necessary time to establish relationships and build a trusting environment before any project work begins, and practice deep listening and gather feedback before taking action. 
  • Invest in the participatory process; the community solidarity that often emerges when a group works together towards a common goal can end up being a much more impactful foundation for ongoing earth defender work than any of the specific project deliverables.

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The #EarthDefendersToolkit seed bank ? is a series of short blog posts where we share knowledge and learnings that have emerged from our research. Would you like to contribute? Please contact us!

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