Reflection Blog – The countdown starts…

Week 5

The end of week 4 and the beginning of week 5 has been very successful for us.
On Friday we sat together to skype first with Nancy and Alan to get some advise and afterwards we had a skype meeting with Julie. This day, I would say, everything made much more sense.

While still being confused during the skype meeting with Nancy and Alan because we have not gotten in contact with ConstruCasa too much, after the talk to Julie everything was clear.
Nancy and Alan gave us the advise to still continue to work on a project on our own even though our NGO does not even know about it. In the end it can still have a great result!
We were feeling a little better after this meeting.
However, after skyping to Julie we actually got clear requests. Julia was mainly looking for more ideas of fund raising. Since they only get donations from a few individual people, they now want to look for a broader spectrum.
This was where we got back into the motivation and we could start to work on these things.

On Saturday our Team Leader Carolina went to a congress of ConstruCasa in Utrecht to listen to their presentation and get in contact to some of the dutch employees.
She was able to speak to two new employees which are responsible for more fund raising and advertisement.

After having some group time on Monday in week 5, we came up with following ideas to present to Julie on Wednesday:

1. The newsletter: We advised to set up an automatic e-mail respond after the subscription of the newsletter online, which would make people aware of being subscribed and call out more attention to the NGO. Furthermore we suggested to improve the newsletter (for example in design or quantity)
→ Julie liked these ideas, though she is not sure if they have enough staff to actually have the newsletter more often.

2. We came up with the fund raising plan:
We told Julie about the fund raising homepage called pozible. That way they could shout out for need of funds and increase them.
Another option we thought about is, that we make a list of companies, preferred construction companies, and try to contact them with a very convincing e-mail which includes a very nice looking booklet with all the information about ConstruCasa and their mission.
→ She was very interested in these ideas. However, also here they might have a staff problem and they would have to review the booklet to make sure the information is right.

During all those happenings our group unfortunately has never been complete. It was difficult to work as a good team because on the one hand someone was always missing and on the other hand we still struggle with our lack of communication.

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The two ConstruCasa teams are working hard!

We hope that we have good news about our progress in team work next week.

But it seems like especially this Wednesday gave us a reality check (with a little help) and we now got a clear idea about the most important terms of group work.
Working hard as an individual is not the key word here. No matter how good the individual work is, we only get good result if we really act as a team, communicate with each other, be honest, respect each other, and stay motivated.
It seems like it took us long to fully understand this but now we are ready to show our improved team work!

Reflection Blog- Watch out! Ideas in the making!

Week 4

So this week we had a class taught by students! It was very well prepared and we enjoyed the change. We have looked at spider-grams, which helped us gain a clearer view of what we as a team find important, for example we value teamwork, access to expertise and client information. This was an interesting lesson as we learnt from each team member that they thought.

Moreover, today we had a discussion with Satish and discussed our progress so far. We haven’t been able to Skype our NGO as frequently as we would’ve like however we try to make the best out of the situation and be creative! We thought of points that the NGO may be interested in adapting or improving on. To catch their interest we need to come up with a few ideas but work them out and have details and examples. So to sell these ideas we are going to definitely work on how we could find solutions to their problems in for example their promotion/advertising or funding. Not only can we solve problems, we could possibly improve, develop and upgrade their already existing ideas! We were thinking of a newsletter that gets sent out to the volunteers, addressed to their name so it will feel more personalized. We could also think about the layout and what would be more appealing and draw attention. Or for example learn from WWF how they obtain funds and let that inspire us to create a program that Constru Casa may want to apply to their promotion techniques. So we will do our research and come up with awesome ideas!

Quack out,

Ducks.

Researching for possible solutions for the construction.

The future lies within the hands of students. Pressure has been put on us from a young age by the educational system. Always encouraging us to thrive, innovate, create and learn. Therefore instead of looking at solutions published by companies or organisations for cheaper housing I decided to look at research papers in universities. Specifically in the architectural department. I was looking at research papers from the TU Delft architecture faculty and found a very interesting paper. This was written by a student name Kimberly Beimin. She travelled to Suriname, which is a country in south america and created a solution to their housing problems regarding costs, the climate (especially heat) and sustainability (natural disasters). Scriptie-Affordable_housing_for_the_lower_income_group-Kimberley_Beimin_4102037_ (1)

Her research targets the low income groups, which is exactly what we as a team are looking at right now. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this research paper and may it be inspirational!

P.s. heres a link to show a comparison of Guatemala and Suriname

http://www.aneki.com/comparison.php?country_1=Suriname&country_2=Guatemala

It even shows their corruption index! From the website you can see that there is not a great difference between the two countries. Guatemala however is running a little behind.

Reflection Blog- Team work?? Let´s do it well…

Week 3

Last Monday, in the Project Community class, the Ducks had a learning experience while doing a class task. We were asked to research how the “ideal work team” looks like. The task was to describe two online work teams, so we had to look for them and investigate how they work.

When getting to work, our team automatically spitted in two, and every half worked in one of the two online work teams. I think nobody of us knew accurately what describing an online work teams meant, but we all started searching “something” in our machines. I, as team project leader, was very confused and did not really know what was demanded of me. I saw that while one half of the group looked like they really knew what they were doing, the other half (the one I was in) was confused, not knowing what to do AT ALL. I tried communicating with the other half group, get some help, but I failed miserable, as they seemed very busy with their research. I felt I was not doing well my job as leader, and that totally frustrated me. After asking several times our professor what we were supposed to do, we finally saw the light. We were surprised how easy and simple the task was, and I we commented how much earlier we could have finished the task if the communication and the organization between us had been better. I think we all realized that. As debriefing, we had to answer some questions about our now described online groups (for example: are they using group size effectively or not? How are they using cultural diversity effectively? Etc.)

The learning outcome of this activity was to determine the ideal size for a team, as the organization and the roles in that team, between others. But for us, the Ducks, the learning outcome of this activity was another one: We realized we have to always have to keep on mind we are a team, and that means we have to work together and help each other accomplish the goals. As for me, I will try improving my leadership skills. GO DUCKS!

Progress Week 2

Working with ConstruCasa – or how to deal with cultural differences

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The last week has been a bit of a confusing one for the Ducks.We´ve all been under the weather and not really ourselves,thanks to horrible colds,moving stress and therefore a bit of lacking motivation.But now we´re back to our old ,motivated selves and ready to go and work on our project – change the world .There have been lots of challenges and questions over the past few days, but there´s actually two that really stick out:

How are we going to keep the contact and build up a great work relationship?

The answer to that question lays in my field of responsibility as client services. After lasts weeks talk I feel like we have really good connection to Julie and a good basis for working together. But because Julie lives in Guatemala, always on the move,always busy and involved making the world a better place,she can´t always ensure a stable connection or stick to a regular date every week,where we can Skype.For example this week she is  in Tikal trying to network and do research for ConstruCasa. So we cannot Skype her this week. To avoid losing the contact we scheduled an interview with ConstruCasas project manager to find out all about how the houses are build, how much they costs, what kind of materials are uses. Just to give us an insight and a better understanding of the local situation.

The other question is:

How can we help our NGO?

Last week we found out that the biggest challenges ConstruCasa has to face are:

  1.  How can they advertise their cause more in order to get funded and achieve more?
  2.  Is there a cheaper, easier and more effective way to build the houses?

So we have to decide on which challenge we – as a group- are we going to tackle?

We are hoping that after talking to Ranferi, the construction manager, we will have a broader view on the local situation and can therefore decide which challenge fits our groups sweet spot ( there is a blogpost coming on that – so watch out!) best and is going to be our mission for this class!

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So there a a lot of open questions, but hopefully they´all be answered soon. Until then we just have to keep searching,exploring and experimenting! Let´s bring it on!

Image credits: first one and second one