Over the past week, our facilitators have guided us on how to understand and correctly frame a given problem. In our case, we explored the different causes of minimal financial inclusion in five unique settings in Embu. As per on our individual interests, we were clustered into 5 groups - each representing the projects we would work on over the entire summit. These projects surround the topics on:
- Chamas/SACCOs/Savings Platform
- Financial Education
- Solar lanterns and systems
- Valuing Waste
We went out to the field where we got to interact with the community members of Embu. These community members were mostly involved - both directly and indirectly - with the projects we had taken up. Through our interactions, we would gather information on what they thought was the benefit of say, SACCOs, and how they wish their functioning could be improved. "They willingly walked us through their day-to-day to help us further understand what gaps existed between the intentions of improving access to electricity through solar power and the payment methods that were available," reported the Solar Lanterns and Systems Team. Ideally, we had kicked off step one of the design process - Information Gathering.
Later in the evening of Wednesday, we were hosted by different community members for an overnight stay in their homes. We got to learn even more deeply about the culture of the people of Embu and the dynamics of their interactions. Excitedly, we went grocery shopping in the open-air markets and got to make new friends with primary school children who had concluded yet another day of learning. The locals were beyond elated to have foreign visitors in their midst. They would wave and smile at us as we strolled home, and it was a pleasure to receive such a warm welcome. The Financial Education Team shared about their experience in a more remote area of the county where they learned how to cook the nation's staple food, ugali, while navigating their way in the house with no electricity. They remember crossing their fingers and hoping not to stamp on the owner's little kitten.
Conclusively, we had an enjoyable and eye-opening 24+ hours with our community members as we experienced cultural immersion. We are now keen to identify the key shortcomings of our projects and once we 'frame the problem' from the information we gathered, we shall be ready to move to the next stage in the loop of the design process.
We are excited to keep you posted!