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JULY l0, 1997 - THE LOW DOWN TO HULL AND BACK NEWS PAGE 9

CIDA was here

They came. They participated.

From June 16 to June 20, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), with the collaboration of Mosaic.net International, offered a group of participants a workshop on Participatory Development in the Wakefield area.

During this three-day workshop, which was spent in residence at the Auberge Sentiers Carman/Carman Trails Hostel, in Wakefield, with host Ken Bouchard and his team, the participants learned participatory development tools and how to apply them in their work environment.

One of the highlights of the workshop was the actual application of the tools with members of the Wakefield community. All of the participants were able to practice with several residents of Wakefield.

The overall thrust of the course was to involve communities in the design of any program that would have a direct impact on the community. This is a technique that is used more and more in all areas, from health to environment to crime prevention.

Several of the techniques for working with communities to identify their concerns and jointly arrive at solutions can be applied to ensure a democratic process that respects the interests of those most affected by the outcome.

In order to get a hands-on experience in using some of these techniques, the course participants were sent out in the community of Wakefield.

Within a six-hour span, they swarmed the village to interact with as many residents and learn as much as possible about the community.

According to Joanne Mantha, senior training officer for CIDA, it was obvious that the community is very proud of its history and that people live here because they choose to, that many community members work hard to improve the economic prospects while retaining the environmental beauty of the surroundings.

Mantha said that while the course participants benefited greatly from the learning experience, they want to let the residents of Wakefield know that they gained much more than knowledge and an opportunity to practice some new techniques. They left with a sense of having made new friends and a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the village than the typical visitor can hope to have.