As a collective process and a form of social action, a community mobilization can take place around the planning, implementation, and evaluation of one or several projects. In a community garden in Brazil, several projects are organized by community members.
MVI_058 Horta Comunitária 10:02-12:15
I talk a lot like that. Each project, each event that took place here in the garden “O Dia das Crianças”, “O Natal Solidário”, “The school material kit”. Each of them has a purpose. There was someone who passed by, and where I, together with the association, we followed. The School Material Kit, I speak for myself, because when my son started studying, he didn’t have any pencils, a notebook to go to school. And that’s where, when I found the garden, I said, let’s do it, let’s start doing this. Because every child, she wants to be on the first day of school at school. So when they don’t go on the first day, they suffer. Even for them, hey, I wasn’t careful to be there on the first day of school.
Children’s Day is children’s day. So, when it’s their day and the children’s day comes and not having that toy, not having a gift in the house, because I know that many parents don’t have this condition to buy and that’s where we had this idea of doing the children’s day in the community garden
Solidarity Christmas also comes from a cause, too. That I heard myself, that a family that was eating meat, only with water, and that’s where I started saying, “we can’t let our community perish like this, not to have a relationship, to be able to eat whatever the people eat”. I always say that, to everyone I always say this “At our table, there’s from the ham to the grape. And usually we don’t eat everything and a lot of things end up going to the trash”, and that’s where we started the solidarity Christmas and then we distributed basic food baskets, really made dinner for them, for the community. So, each project, each event has a reason. It wasn’t for nothing, so let’s do it for us to show up. No, each one has a reason and it’s a wonderful project, which will last for a lifetime.
A community mobilization can also arise from the implementation of one specific project, whose activities happen to be important for the process of gathering a specific community and identifying common problems and needs. In the case of Coletivo da Cidade:
Coletivo da Cidade (MVI_2391) 1:16 -2:38
We were a group of undergraduate students, we were part of an extension group at the University of Brasília, from an extension group in the Estrutural City. And some of these people were already working at Estrutural, and others were getting closer to the project through the extension group. And at that moment, more and more the Coletivo, which was not yet the Coletivo, but us as a collective, you know? We were creating a dynamic of increasing integration with the community. So, yes, more and more we realized that the work was gaining this body and was becoming very organic, you know?
So, we ended up breaking up with this other group, because the worldview of this group was very different. While there was, a proposal that came from our work of integration, there was great resistance from this group that belonged to another space, which was that things had to be more hierarchical, that things had to work more according to some hierarchical agreements, even though, at that time, it didn’t make sense for us anymore. So, it was the group’s decision to break away. It wasn’t a smooth breakup, it was a breakup quite full of emotion.
As we have seen, since a community mobilization can arise from projects or include them in its process, project management skills and knowledge are relevant to strengthening communities’ capacities to make positive change.
However, project management content is generally based on the idea that one person, usually a project management expert, is responsible for managing the process of achieving the project objectives. Besides that, the needs and expectations of diverse stakeholders, including investors and sponsors, are often prioritized, coming before or at the same level as the needs of the community.
In a community mobilization committed to community leadership and self-determination, as well as participative, inclusive, and non-authoritarian values, the management process can be different from the usual one-person model. Instead, the entire community might be responsible or its members might alternate responsibilities for the process of managing projects.
Therefore, to keep the collective feature of the community mobilization alive, project management skills, knowledge and responsibilities must be shared among community members. With that in mind, in these learning objects, we will explore an introduction to project management within a collective perspective. Thus, it is also important to share this material and its learnings with other members of your community.
In your e-portfolio:
What is the relationship between projects and the community mobilization that you are engaged? Does it come from the execution of a specific project?