Dreamscaping with Accountability: Collaborative, Iterative and Transparent

In All, Ideas, Theories, & Stories, Urban Inspiration by Christian Kochon

I’ve been very fortunate that I started my internship as Molteno was finishing up a project. Despite my criticisms of the project, I’ve been able to put to use skills I learned in my quantitative and qualitative research classes. My fluency in STATA has been growing and I’ve been able to develop an efficient method to analyzing qualitative data in excel. Some of my favorite moments in this job is looking at the data, and deciphering how we could have implemented this project better. I’m a strong believer that monitoring and evaluation (M&E), when done right (and applied fairly), ensures success 100% of time (even in failing at your original goal, you are successful in that you have learned something). I think organizations need to incorporate more M&E into projects, but in a way where it is collaborative, iterative, and transparent. My work with another project in Nicaragua, which is strictly participatory-based, has given me a model of what such a system looks like.

In another post, I talked about dreamscaping. The beautifulness that encompasses dreamscaping is that it is already collaborative, iterative and transparent. We need to recognize the M&E is not a set system of standards but a rigorous approach to interrogating our methods, assumptions and goals. As such, it is already compatible with dreamscaping. It’s the mindset that counts, not the system. Organizations need to reevaluate their approaches to M&E, and understand that it’s the interrogative mindset that matters, not the system that one employs. It’s a constant state of critical (and self) reflection.

The idea of being accountable, transparent, and critical is important in development, especially with its history of exploitation and failures (And, I still believe that development is a failure, and will always be a failure until we deconstruct every aspect of it, breaking down the inequitable power structures that plague development). We don’t need development; we need Dreamscaping. We need a participatory, collaborative and democratic (fair) approach coupled with the interrogative mindset of M&E (collaborative, iterative, transparent). This is true in all areas, from educational design to urban policy. Either we are all equal and we all have a say, or we are all slaves.

Soñamos El Mundo. We Dream the World. Let us work together to dreamscape the world.