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Imaginación Post-María: Designing Justice After Disaster

We dream of a Puerto Rico recovery designed by Puerto Ricans and we have come together to catalyze that desired future for our island.

Photo of Sofía Unanue
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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional insights gathered from Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Viewing Imaginación Post-María as a common journey of what communities have undergone since the passing of Hurricane María - from the fear that reigned in the wake of the disaster to the unimaginably courageous growth that followed - we decided to put our model to the test by inviting our pilot communities to draw over and question our 6-step model. Our hope was decipher if our graphic and textual renditions resonated with their own personal stories and visions for the future.

Why does the target community define this problem as urgent and/or a priority? How is the idea leveraging and empowering community assets to help create an environment for success? (1000 characters)

When Hurricane María made landfall, self-organized relief efforts became of life-saving urgency across the island as a failed governmental response became evermore evident. Liberated, community-led enclaves became a direct reflection of how self-sustainability, daring creativity and unshakable solidarity can counter the daunting reality of having been left in the dark. Eleven months after María and still faced with crippling austerity measures, communities are now needing to tackle a different kind of priority: how do they transform these inspiring, short-term relief efforts into a long-term, sustainable recovery that can better prepare them for the future perils of climate change? Through IPM, La Maraña leverages this much-needed priority by introducing participatory design and community planning methodologies that help identify collective talents, needs and dreams and by offering micro-finance and capacity-building tools for communities to further sustain long-term organizing goals.

How does the idea fit within the larger ecosystem that surrounds it? Urgent needs are usually a symptom of a larger issue that rests within multiple interrelated symptoms - share what you know about the context surrounding the problem you are aiming to solve. (500 characters)

On September 21 2017, our already economically depressed island was struck by category-5 María. Thus further mounting onto the dire statistics that shape our social and political reality: an un-payable 74 billion dollar debt, 3-times national poverty rate, longest blackout in modern US history, 400+ schools closed, over 335k denied FEMA applicants and skyrocketing diaspora. It is amidst and in reaction to this bleak landscape that we dared to imagine a community-driven alternative to our future.

How does the idea affect or change the fundamental nature of the larger ecosystem that surrounds it (as described above) in a new and/or far-reaching way? (500 characters)

Imaginación Post-María offers an unprecedented opportunity to envision independent enclaves of community-based recovery as an interconnected roadmap that will offer replicable, long-term and systemic solutions to our current climate crisis and bleak social, economic and political panorama. It is there where we will discover alternative development models, innovative governance structures, regenerative economy practices and new narratives for “justice”.

What will be different within the target community as a result of implementing the idea? What is the scope and scale of that difference? How long will it take to see that difference and how will it be sustained beyond BridgeBuilder support? (500 characters)

For every concrete difference, we ensure the capacity-building necessary for communities to continue to drive change beyond IPM support. Infrastructure projects go hand-in-hand with talent sharing between environmental design experts and local construction workers, mapping processes integrate and train neighbors every step of the way, and the community-driven master plan and grant offer a shared vision and economic leverage that will guide and ignite each community's long-term just recovery.

How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

We have been gathering beneficiary feedback since the birth of IPM. In the process of supporting communities to define their terms for a just recovery the priority has been involving them every step of the way and offering them creative liberty to adapt the model. Composed of hand-made, Puerto Rican inspired icons, each phase of IPM is meant to offer a graphic story of our just recovery - ravished landscapes (phase 1) to colorful communities (p6). Hence, we invited communities to draw their own journey. The results were a kaleidoscope of awe-inspiring drawings, enticing stories and insightful feedback. Here is a bit of what we are learning: Our language is still too technical, i.e. assets vs. talents. P1 does not capture the trauma communities went through in a humanized manner. P2 proposes 1 community collective. Comerío created 7 collectives, each with its own recovery focus. We are collaging/digitalizing community drawings so they can become active composers of the model.

What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (You can attach a timeline or GANTT chart in place of a written plan, if desired.) (1000 characters)

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (Feel free to share an organizational chart or visual description of your team). (500 characters)

Core Team La Maraña (lead organization) is responsible for creating, administering and implementing IPM with all three pilot communities and our organizational partners. Defend Puerto Rico (principal partner organization) is responsible for the storytelling, multimedia and audiovisual components of IPM. Community Partners We are collaborating with community-based organizations and hiring community coordinators to be the on-the-ground liaisons and leaders of IPM in their communities.

What aspects of the idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (500 characters)

Our hope is for BridgeBuilder funds to support Phase 5 (Launch Elected Project) and Phase 6 (Envision Future) of IPM, which entails offering a grant in each community for them to bring their community plan to life by voting for and launching their very own social impact project. Moreover, BridgeBuilder funds could supplement the creation of the IPM open-source toolkit and mid-length documentary so as to inspire and spark the model’s future scalability across the island.

In preparation for our Expert Feedback Phase: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in your project? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea and needs.

- How can we improve our storytelling to engage more international allies and garner further support for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico? - What examples are there for scaling or replicating models in a just and humane way (without losing the beauty of small-scale, grassroots organizing)? We are interested in scalability models that shift from “mile wide inch deep” movements to “inch wide mile deep” movements (“Emergent Strategy”, Adrienne Marie Brown) and would love to figure out ways to make that a part of our project. - What examples are there that can support us with thinking about how to measure our data in both quantitative and qualitative ways? We know this would strengthen our project and want to learn more on how to make it happen. - We would also love to simply get general feedback on our application!!!

Final Updates (*Please do not complete until we reach the Improve Phase*): How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

From the moment we created Imaginación Post-María, we have passed it along to over a dozen experts in disaster recovery and directly to communities in hopes of always being open to adaptation, growth and evolution. The multi-media and open format of this Challenge has made us realize the importance of community participation in our audiovisual strategies. Similarly to our participatory rebuilding and mapping efforts, our team is creating participatory storytelling workshops so that communities can become active directors of the recovery narratives that we hope to amplify. Additionally, in the User Experience Map exercise neighbors shared that our mapping practices felt too abstract and distant. Together we have found solutions. We have not only begun training community leaders in Adobe Illustrator and GIS so as to channel capacity building (Mapping Gide attached), but have also decided to integrate less technical tools to mapping exercises - such as community drawing journeys.

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

- After re-visiting the final version of the User Experience Map with the communities, we adapted the narrative more closely to their experience. - We re-edited the short videos to make them accesible in Spanish (we hope to use them in fortifying our social media outlets and storytelling efforts) - We added more GIFs with the individual user experience maps created by community members. - In response to a comment by our community coach (Luz Alba Gallo), we restructured our the Imaginación Post-María proposal (see attached) to add images of it along our Challenge Contribution. - We added an attachment with the new Mapping Guide we are beginning to use to train community members in GIS and Adobe Illustrator, so they can edit their own community maps!

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Faced with the widespread devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and María, we have been dedicated to leveraging community-driven development as a pathway to Puerto Rico’s just recovery. Driven by our organization’s vision of a Puerto Rico where every community has the opportunity to take charge of their own future and motivated by our country's deep need for locally-embedded, long-term recovery efforts, we have designed a participatory community recovery model, titled Imaginación Post-María, that offers citizens direct power to imagine, plan and build the changes they desire in their communities. Combining participatory planning and design with the power of micro-finance and capacity-building, Imaginación Post-María enables community members to collaboratively design a community-driven master plan and implement a commonly elected social impact project in their community, so as to acquire the skills and tools necessary to believe in their innate capacity to bring forth change. As part of our large-scale vision we are currently collaborating with three diverse communities across the island, specifically in urban, central, and eastern landscapes, as a way to establish distinct case studies and measure the replicability of the Imaginación Post-María participatory recovery model. Working hand-in-hand with these three community partners, we hope to collectively pave a path to facilitate bottom-up action and catalyze local solutions to our long-term, just recovery. Our ultimate goal is to transform our current pilot implementation into educational, open-source deliverables that can spark future bottom-up recovery efforts. Specifically, we will be creating an Imaginación Post-María Toolkit that will outline our methodological approach and best practices in each community and a Medium-Length Documentary produced in collaboration with the multimedia non-profit Defend Puerto Rico that will highlight the most powerful stories of this empowering recovery journey.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The principal beneficiaries of Imaginación Post María will be the members of the three communities we are collaborating with in the current pilot phase: - La Vuelta del Dos and Los Guaretos is a colorful and quaint neighborhood nestled in the mountainous central municipality of Comerío (approx. 100 families) - San Antón is a historically black and industrial community in the northern municipality of Carolina (approx. 13,000 families) - The rural community of Mariana is in the eastern municipality of Humacao, one of the hardest hit regions by the hurricane (approx. 3,000 people) Moreover, due to the replicable nature of our participatory community recovery model, we expect to benefit communities across Puerto Rico that hope to learn from and/or adopt the findings and methodologies of our approach.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The sluggish and inhumane governmental response that marked the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and María, has unexpectedly sparked a never-before seen activation of communities across the island. Having to navigate innovative ways of survival, neighbors have come together to imagine and build parallel recovery efforts on a local scale - setting up solar power hubs, leading community-led kitchens, and strategizing the re-activation of abandoned properties. Yet, despite this historical juncture of grassroots empowerment, these individual, community-scale efforts are not being presented as a collective movement. As a woman-led participatory design organization with years of on-the-ground work in Puerto Rico, La Maraña has an unprecedented opportunity to connect these bottom-up recovery effort in hopes of envisioning a replicable, community-driven development model that can shape the future of our island by offering concrete solutions to our current climate crisis.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

La Maraña is a woman-led, participatory design and planning non-profit that promotes the inclusion of Puerto Rican voices in the creation of our cities and communities. Since its foundation in 2014, La Maraña has been one of the strongest advocates on the island for thinking of urbanism and rebuilding efforts as platforms to strengthen community-led, bottom-up and grassroots action. Check out our website (lamarana.org) and our instagram (@la_marana_pr) to learn more about our vision!

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

When our team of women came together after the hurricanes - each of us facing a whirlwind of questions and hurt - we sat down to imagine how our collective skills can channel the sense of justice we all desired for ourselves and our home. Inspired by the unimaginably encouraging community-led efforts that were mushrooming across the island, we dared to put our fears aside and transform our trauma into a space of collective healing and growth. That was the day Imaginación Post María was born.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace is threatened by a sweeping post-hurricane death count coupled with a government that continues to deny these numbers. Official government statistics presented a 64 death toll, but a Harvard-led study published last week revealed an astounding 73-fold increase, with an estimated 4,700 deaths correlated to the aftermath of Hurricane María. Prosperity across the island has plummeted as a centralization of power and lack of accessibility to funds not only trumped the arrival of much needed services in the wake of the hurricane, but has set forth long-term austerity measures that have radically slashed key educational, health and overall public services. Planet has been impacted by climate change, which specifically in the Caribbean has intensified natural disasters. Hurricane María is known as tenth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record and the deadliest storm of the 2017 tropical cyclone season.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

La Maraña’s participatory design and planning methodologies go hand-in-hand with open collaborations that foster non-hierarchical knowledge exchanges. In Comerío, the arts organization Coco de Oro (@coco_de_oro) is leading a youth-led movement of creative recovery. In Carolina, the Art for Change fellows Las Nietas de Nonó are merging community organizing with their artistic practice. In Humacao, the 30-year community organization ARECMA promptly established a communal kitchen and off-grid solar hub after the hurricane. Community partners are engaged to question their surroundings, imagine and propose new avenues for change and turn those ideas into actions. Hence we will all be challenging and testing the Imaginación Post-María recovery model in this pilot phase in hopes of jointly creating our own collective vision. Finally, we are collaborating with the multi-media organization Defend Puerto Rico (@defendpr) to dovetail La Maraña's design skills with an audio-visual component.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

La Vuelta del Dos and Los Guaretos: a strong artistic and youth-led recovery movement offers a unique platform for quick prototyping and tangible, creative solutions. San Antón: Fierce group of intergenerational women advocating to re-open their community’s abandoned school while channeling local talent - such as metal workers and ex-school directors. Mariana: This community's fast-thinking ingenuity and strong social fabric has made it one of the most renown recovery efforts on the island.

Geographic Focus

Imaginación Post-María geographically focuses on Puerto Rico.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Imaginación Post María will run until May of 2019 (total of 22 months). Phases 1-6 of the Imaginación Post María community participatory recovery model are being implemented until December of 2018. Later, the collaborative Post-Project Phase will run until May of 2019 where we hope to transform our current pilot implementation into educational, open-source deliverables that can catapult future bottom-up recovery efforts on the island. (See Full Project Proposal attached for detailed timeline).

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

49 comments

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Photo of Instruments Delhi
Team

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Photo of Rahul Singh
Team

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Photo of Rahul  Sharma
Team

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Photo of Aline SEJOURNE
Team

Hello Sofia,
Congratulations on your project! The visual works are really great and resonate how the community become the real active composers. What you do is truly important as you also build their capacity to rebuild better their lives to reduce the losses in the future hurricane. Our organization, Build Change, also works in disaster-prone countries and we develop resources, such as poster and booklet, in order to help the community rebuild their homes stronger with better ways in construction for Latin America. Please feel free to use them if relevant to you. The link is below.
https://www.buildchange.org/resources/videos-booklets-posters/
Good luck!

Photo of Frances  Medina
Team

Hi Aline SEJOURNE !

I just took a look at the link you sent. Thank you a ton for sharing! We are currently putting together a list of resources that could inspire the final toolkits we propose in the final phase of Imaginacíon Post María so this is great to have on the list. If there are any other resources that have inspired you and Build Change, please do not hesitate to share. Does your organization go through some sort of needs assessment process prior to delving into creating these materials? Do you involve the communities in some capacity? If so, how?

Photo of Aline SEJOURNE
Team

Hi Frances,
Happy that the resources we shared will be useful to you.

Yes, we absolutely do needs assessments, and include the local population. In fact, Build Change's approach is to learn first, so to be sure to provide the right assistance to those who need it. We complete detailed housing sub-sector studies, talk to the communities and stakeholders involved along the chain, to design and build houses that are culturally appropriate, preferred by homeowners, low cost, locally sustainable, and disaster resistant. We'd rather not introduce a completely new technology or reintroduce a traditional building method that has gone out of style, when capacity, materials and preferences to current building types are well defined.
We also develop building manuals that are specific to the practices in the countries where we work and distribute them to local builders and homeowners. For example, training manuals we developed in Indonesia are very different to the ones in Haiti, as cultures, house styles, and available materials are very different.
One critical aspect in our work is that we also use the homeowner-driven construction approach. We do not build for people, but we provide the technical assistance needed for them to complete the works. We train homeowners, builders, building materials producers, engineers, and community members to build houses as well as other community projects (schools, retaining walls, among other).
What examples can you share about projects voted by the community as a priority? Again, I think you are doing a great job of putting the community at the heart of the decision-making and recovery process.

Photo of Frances  Medina
Team

Aline SEJOURNE Thanks again for your thoughtful response. For us it is just as important to honor the diversity in the process. We're really excited to engage the community as we start thinking about the toolkits. One thing we thought about was introducing surveys at the end of every workshop that offers technical assistance or new information to find ways to rank their level of importance. This can be a way for us to begin to plant seeds and have those most involved shed light on what information is most valuable. We appreciate your input and can't wait to get to be able to materialize these guides. Please do not hesitate to share any additional examples you come across.

Photo of Dominican Sisters  of Peace New Orleans Peace Center
Team

We are altogether too aware of the struggle of recovering from a natural disaster with limited support, and the long-lasting damage caused by the diaspora of those whose energy would be invaluable to the rebuilding process. We applaud your efforts to make recovery citizen-centered, allowing the people of PR to rebuild and recreate the nation that they want to live in. We look forward to the results of your design efforts in the communities of PR.

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Hi Dominican Sisters of Peace New Orleans Peace Center ! Thank you for your words. We believe in collaboration across the board. Some of these communities have been at the forefront of community organizing on the island for decades. Our goal is to support and walk alongside of them as they look to funnel resources and activate their talents once a disaster strikes. Our model allows us to find ways to use the disaster as a teaching moment. Please do stay connected and follow our work. Visit our site for more info www.lamarana.org.

In Solidarity,
Sofia

Photo of Cynthia Burgos
Team

So excited to submit!

Photo of Frances  Medina
Team

Me too!!!!! :)

Photo of Enrique  Olivarez
Team

Congrats on your great work towards rebuilding PR! I love that community are being engaged to dream and co-create their new reality as they recover from Maria. We've actually seen a significant number of Puerto Ricans move here to Minnesota after the hurricane, seeking a new beginning. It has been challenging for some families to find their way here and overcome both the trauma they faced as well as the culture shock and isolation of being here. Wishing you all the best in this important work!

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Hi @Enrique! The diaspora has been one of the toughest aspects of our recovery phase. Sadly we are living the second largest exodus of Puerto Ricans since the 1950's - many being young professionals. In the same way they have suffered the isolation of having to leave their homes, we have felt their absence day in and day out. Just to give you an idea one of the community coordinators for Imaginación Post-María is the only one left on the island from his whole family and and he has had to take on taking care of all of the empty homes they left behind. In many ways we are living the future of displaced people due to climate change ("climate refugees"), hence why it is so important to incentivize hope/imagination as a form of healing and discovering more sustainable avenues of living in the tropics.

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Also, if you do come across a Boricua in Minnesota, please do share our work and tell them that we are always open to hearing from them and figuring out how the model can be of benefit to the thousands of Puerto Ricans that are no longer home. Our email is lamarana.pr@gmail.com and our website is www.lamarana.org

Photo of Enrique  Olivarez
Team

Thanks! Will do.

Photo of Jill LaLonde
Team

Congratulations on a wonderful project proposal and a model that does development work with dignity. I'm very impressed reading about how you've approached recovery efforts with a truly community-led approach, and your proposed toolkit could theoretically be implemented very early in future recovery efforts elsewhere, helping to shape recovery in a way that is community-owned. I'd be very interested in learning more about the toolkit, and expect we'd have a lot to learn from you and apply to our own scaling. Thank you for your work, and wishing you the best of luck!

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Hi Jill LaLonde ! We appreciate the time you took to read our proposal and for your kind words. We imagine that each toolkit, while different per community, can be an asset for other disaster-struck regions. Each phase has and, we hope, will continue to inform us and the community leaders of what could be included. The toolkit is intended to have information/processes that can be useful should another crisis occur. The process is also something we hope to learn and grow from; the community leaders will be included every step of the way to ensure they are equipped to produce their own materials well after this project is completed. Be sure to visit our site www.lamarana.org and follow our work. We will be sure to keep you updated. I too think we have a lot to learn from each other. Grateful for this space and look forward to building!

Photo of Jill LaLonde
Team

Thanks for the additional info, Sofia! I look forward to following your progress.

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

This is a very inspiring and important project and you do a wonderful job using video to help articulate and clarify your objectives. Very nicely done and also very applicable in multiple locations as we begin experiencing more eco-disasters wrought by climate change. I look forward to hearing more about your work and would welcome any collaborative opportunity.

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Hey @Marnie Glazier

Thanks for reaching out! It is so amazing to hear that you liked our project and even more so that you view it as a re-applicable project that can bring forth larger-scale change. We are always open to new collaborations: where are you based? what projects are you invoved in? what is your line of work?

We are creating a network of international people like yourself that are interested in supporting and knowing more about the work. Please send us your contact info so we
can stay connected!

Photo of Frances  Medina
Team

Hi Marnie!

Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to get to know our project. We are trying our best to tell the story in a way that humanizes the experiences of the people we are working with but are always looking for new ideas. What other kinds of content speaks to you? What will inspire you to stay more connected to the work? We care about how others are interacting with the information. Please visit our website www.lamarana.org to learn more.

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

Thanks so much, Sofia. Please feel free to email me at mglazier@hartnell.edu, or via linkedin. I am in Salinas, California and my work is in applied theatre and theatre for social change. Would love to talk more about collaborating!

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

Thanks so much! I love the website and especially the embedded video. I'd just recommend shortening that opening video though. I think today's average attention span is less than thirty seconds, and it's an exciting challenge in a world where people are overwhelmed by multi-media noise, to try and work within 10-30 second frames.

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

That's great feedback! We are currently doing a website audit and will add this to our thought process as well. We appreciate you @Marnie Glazier. Do you mind if we add you to our email list to keep you informed?

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

I would love to be on the mailing list and look forward to collaborating in any way I can!

Photo of Kathleen Rommel
Team

Hi there,

What a great way to harness the power of community! I'm particularly impressed with your approach to the feedback loop—great work on integrating beneficiary's thoughts into the program plan.

To make your application even stronger, perhaps you can succinctly (ah! such limited space) reinforce the bridges you are building across Planet, Peace, and Prosperity. It's clear that each of these areas are developing challenges for the people of Puerto Rico, but it'd be great to hear how your unique, specific approach is pulling them all together to combat these challenges and prevent them from continuing. All that said, I know the space is tight, so feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt! :)

Best of luck!
Kathleen

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Hi Kathleen Rommel ! You are absolutely reading our mind. On our final revisions, we will expand on how our model is replicable specifically with supporting the activation of community members and stakeholders as first responders post climate and humanitarian disasters. Because we have witnessed the model work across three very geographically and socially diverse regions in Puerto Rico, we want to ensure that we touch more on how it is designed to uplift communities focusing on utilizing existing talents and assets on the ground wherever disaster strikes. This level of activation helps reinforce the individual and collective power to overcome tragedies as those impacted unite to find solutions that cultivate the kinds of collaborations necessary to survive and thrive during times of crisis. Check out our website: www.lamarana.org and let us know if there is any additional information on here that can support us in making these connections clearer.

We appreciate your feedback and look forward to growing in this process.

Photo of Kathleen Rommel
Team

Thanks so much for your response! I think this makes a lot of sense, and I love how you have incorporated the videos on your website into the application. It really shows the inspiration behind the project, and brings everything to life. Keep up the great work!

Photo of Claire May
Team

- How can we improve our storytelling to engage more international allies and garner further support for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico?
You already seem to be doing quite well! I would say personal stories are always the best. Ideally you brief a project participant to the people you want to engage and have them tell their own story. I would also say this needs to be accompanied with short tangible descriptions of the issue ideally backed up with some statistics to allow people to understand the problem (as you have in this app). Good photos and videos are obviously also good.

- What examples are there for scaling or replicating models in a just and humane way (without losing the beauty of small-scale, grassroots organizing)? We are interested in scalability models that shift from “mile wide inch deep” movements to “inch wide mile deep” movements (“Emergent Strategy”, Adrienne Marie Brown) and would love to figure out ways to make that a part of our project.
Difficult for me to say without knowing a lot about your project but more generally I would say not assuming that once you have a model that it will be replicable. I would instead develop a flexible process which can be replicated but adjusted to meet different community needs. All work should start with a thorough needs assessment and different communities will have different skills/knowledge/capacities to others. I would also ensure that the local communities completely own the process and make it their own meaning hopefully you won't loose the grassroots element. This kind of work is obviously much more time intensive than wider prescriptive programming but it will be of a far greater impact.

- What examples are there that can support us with thinking about how to measure our data in both quantitative and qualitative ways? We know this would strengthen our project and want to learn more on how to make it happen.
I work in peacebuilding rather than humanitarian relief so I am not hugely knowledgable on this. One method you could look into is poverty scorecards which are a non numeric way of measuring how project participants lives have been improved (e.g. what materials their houses are made of how many electronic devices etc) however this may be more suitable for Africa... We also use most significant change methodology which is a great way of capturing unexpected project impacts in a qualitative way. In terms of quantitative regular surveys of sample participants is always a good way to track your indicators as long as it is complemented with qualitative stories and other tools.

- We would also love to simply get general feedback on our application!!!
Well I think it sounds great, good luck!

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Hi Claire May 
Thank you so much for the Expert Feedback! We had been so desiring this moment of the IDEO process!! Here is a quick reply to your responses:

1. Storytelling is a huge component of our project, so thank you for encouraging us to move forward with that!! We hope to integrate a bit more of it in time for the proposal, but we are currently creating a strategic plan to capture oral histories and make sure that communities are embedded in the story-telling process. Actually, we are currently working on a storytelling imagination workshop for communities to define the ways in which they want to tell their story of recovery. In a way, the User Experience Map was a first step in this direction.

2. Yes! As a participatory design organization, that is exactly how we see scalability. For every project we focus firstly on adapting the model to community needs. Having designed the Imaginación Post-María model with our own icons (and also community-based icons), we see our project as a flexible roadmap that communities can continue shaping and adding onto continuously.

3. Thank you for the concrete examples! I am really interested in the most significant change methodology, specifically thinking about how our model adapts overtime. Would you please be able to share more info on this particular method (articles, best practices, case studies/projects that have used it?

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Claire May thank you for your insights and if you can continue offering specific feedback as we go along editing we would greatly appreciate it!! So excited to learn.

Photo of Claire May
Team

Hi Sofia

Thanks for your reply. All sounds good. Unfortunately pour MEL Advisor has just gone to Mali for a few weeks but MSC methodology is pretty easy to find on line. Here is one article...https://www.betterevaluation.org/en/plan/approach/most_significant_change good luck!

Photo of Brannon Veal
Team

I feel there are really great synergies with what you are doing and what we are doing with built with Humanity. Disaster Recovery is a particular passion of mine because I am a survivor of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. I have seen first hand the devastation that a hurricane can have on the community. I have written several medium articles that pertain to your project. As an engineer I would love to talk to you about what you are doing and share knowledge about best practices around designing with undeserved communities for better community redesign and development.

Design for Disasters: https://medium.com/@BrannonVeal/designing-for-disasters-principle-1-empower-people-2a98de728300

Design for Affordability: https://medium.com/@BrannonVeal/designing-for-disasters-principle-2-design-for-affordability-7b3cf52b6027

Sustainable Energy System for Haiti (Very applicable to rebuilding after maria due to the fact that the islands face similar problems when it comes to energy use): https://medium.com/@BrannonVeal/hope-for-haiti-a-viable-pathway-to-a-sustainable-energy-future-622c79e99af4

Photo of Sofía Unanue
Team

Wow, Brannon Veal !!! Thank you for such interesting readings and such an engaged comment. Our work around design/build projects is quite aligned to the tips that you mention in your writings: "don’t over-design", "look at history", etc. All of our projects have two principle bases: integrating community members in the imagination process and ensuring eco-centered design (cross-ventilation, solar energy...). Every design we integrate into the Imaginación Post-María project has that base starting point.

Have you ever visited Puerto Rico? It would be amazing to find some way of collaborating! I am sharing our website so you can see more about our work, but please send us your contact info so we can stay in touch.

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Team

Oh, also, in regards to Haiti we are in conversation with a relief organization titled J/P HRO (https://www.jphro.org/) so as to foster cross-learning among the caribbean. Do you know of them? Do you have any insight on the work they have developed?

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Team

Dear Sofia
I love your idea of creating active self help groups led by women, governments across the world fail to deliver on may fronts and without citizen intervention to take charge of our own lives and even society as a whole, progress is greatly impacted as is quality of life. I am of the same belief system and have been actively recruiting and training women to act as volunteers to help poverty stricken first generation learners. Good luck on your journey. Do you find opposition from the government in your work?

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Team

Hi Anubha Sharma ! You work seems so impactful!!! Everyday it becomes clearer to me that real change is going to happen from within community-driven work and will be lead by women hoping to pave new paths. Rather than governmental opposition, we face governmental inefficiency that ends up hindering the work and lining our communities with red tape. For instance, public schools are being shut down at preposterous rates and the government even considered taxing solar power energy after María. Our dream would be to have a government that allies with communities in their journeys to recovery, but many a time it seems far from close. But we hope that the more that we legitimize bottom-up approaches to climate change recovery, the more we will shape and garner such much needed public support.

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Team

Anubha Sharma Also, please let us know how we can stay in touch and send us info on the work you do to see if we could collaborate in some way. Here is the link to our website in case you would like to learn more: www.lamarana.org

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Team

Hi you can write to us at info@angelxpress.org or at anubha.axf@gmail.com. Our website is www.angelxpress.org. Ill be happy to share our formats. We are trying to source funds so we can digitize our processes in the coming two years and then take out solution on a global platform. Do hope we are able to work together at some point.

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Team

Thanks for sharing! The work looks amazing! Just added you to our list so we can stay connected and we can send you updates on our work.

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Team

Hi Sofia, what an incredible project- i truly love the idea of finding justice in imagination. What does the Imaginación Post María kit include? How do people find the community events they will be part of?

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Team

Hi Chloe Varelidi ! I am a Communications and Development Strategist currently volunteering with La Maraña. We appreciate your questions!

The final toolkit will expand on the methodology and will serve as a guidebook for the three communities we are working with. It will include templates that touch on best-learned practices for engaging neighbors in participatory design and disaster readiness, directories of talents and assets, list of tools and steps for mapping workshops and will have an audio-visual component.

The goal is to create these toolkits alongside the three different communities. Our model honors the possibility of varying results in each community because their needs and desires may also vary. The process for developing toolkits is just as participatory as the implementation of the post-disaster recovery model - Imaginacíon Post Maria.

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Team

I am interested to come and teach entrepreneurial skills and how to start businesses for them. Any interest?

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Team

Hey Kurt Davis Thank you for offering your skills. Although Imaginación Post-María is has a strong tradition of hiring local resources (since we see it as a crucial component to strengthening talents within each community and catalyzing a regenerative economy for Puerto Rico), we are creating a network of international people like yourself that would like to offer their skills in order to strengthen the work. Where are you based? Where could we get your contact info? We would love to keep you engaged!

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Team

Hey BridgeBuilder Team! I would love to hear feedback and comments on our idea, so please feel free to write out what you think might be useful. If you want to see more about Imaginación Post María, find more at www.lamarana.org

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Team

Hey Sofia,
Great to read your project, but what I found even more insightful was the attached document that you have prepared.
I wanted to know more about the deliverables of each phase. How do you plan to measure their success? What criteria do you plan to use in order to choose one project instead of another? And finally, How are you going to select the participants form the community? This last questions is key to guarantee a project's sustainability because remember that in these communities there are different kind of community leaders, and you need to work with each one of them in order to maintin the motivation of all.

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Team

Also, Consider to include some more material from your document into the idea submission in order to make it clearer.

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Team

Hey Luz Gallo  

So excited to soon have a video conference!! So glad you liked the attached document - that is the principal proposal we use for the Imaginación Post-María! We are working on selecting specific images from that proposal and adding them to the bridgebuilder post. Hopefully, that will make the idea clearer and more digestible.
As for your questions, I look forward to speaking about them with you over video conference! Will also be discussing with team about how to embed answers to these questions into the bridgebuilder post.

Until soon!
Sofía

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Team

On it!! Hope to share edits soon!