QloQ’s Asset-Based Community Discovery
Is not everyday that you have a group of students that are so proactive and willing to work with others outside their community. Three students from the Design in Difference have made a major linkage of what they learned in this design-anthropology course [mainly “community building” through asset-based methods for co-creation] with their work [a non profit that looks to promote sustainable relationships among two different cultures]. Here is what Brian Gaudio , architecture student at NCState did with his undergraduate research grant in in Dominican Republic through “Que lo Que“:Pic: Brian Gaudio and QloQ in Dominican Republic
“K lo k.” A colloquial Dominican phrase for “what’s up” is part of North Carolina State University‘s vocabulary thanks to the student organization Que lo Que. Over the past two years, students from around the US have worked and lived in the Dominican Republic to better understand the culture and relationship between the US and DR. In the summer of 2011, Que lo Que [in this case: María Gaudio, Sarah Mann and Brian Gaudio] worked with the rural community of Las Lajas, Dominican Republic to create and complete a skill inventory. This innovative community project was a combined research with studying abroad to conduct asset-based surveys, and co-create information tools for residents of a small village in the Dominican Republic. Pic: Brian Gaudio and Que lo Que in Dominican Republic
The three goals of the project were as follows:
- To understand sustainable community development methodologies
- To apply asset-based methodologies co-create and conduct a capacity inventory in Las Lajas
- To make information from the skill inventory questionnaire available to and usable by the residents of Las Lajas.
Based on information from community focus groups and formed by a team of local residents, the skills inventory asked mostly ‘yes or no’ questions regarding resident’s capacities in agriculture, business, art, and education. The interviews were conducted with 136 adults in the community of 221 families. To discover the capacities of children in the village, the team of local residents hosted a summer camp. Youth engaged in recreational activities and expressed their aspirations, play habits, and learning interests through drawing activities. From this data, Brian compiled the information from the adults and youth, and compared the relationship between information. He presented a “skills directory” to the community in paper form that listed who knew what skills and who was interested in learning those skills. Copies of the directory could be used for entrepreneurial collaboration, or even mentoring youth in the community.
Pic: Brian Gaudio and Que lo Que in DR
While in the community, Brian also documented “thrift designers” in the community. While design is the act of creation, design thrift is the act of recreation. Through resilient “re-purposing“, thrift designers recreate simple, practical, inspiring recombinations. Thrift designers of all ages designed more with less, maximizing the potential of everything from plastic lawn chairs to bags from the “colmado” (convenient store).