Building Resilience and Social Cohesion through Local Innovation Ecosystems - Migration Summit 2023
LORRAINE CHARLES: Hello, everyone. Welcome. My name is Lorraine Charles, and I'm the executive director of Na'amal. I'm one of the core needs of the Migration Summit. The Migration Summit, 2023, organized by the MIT ReACT Na'amal Karam Foundation is a month-long global convening designed to build bridges between diverse communities of displaced learners, universities, companies, social enterprises, policymakers, and governments around key challenges and opportunities for refugee and migrant communities. This year, we're exploring the theme, Co-Creating Pathways for Learning, Livelihoods, and Dignity.
Welcome, everyone, to the fourth and final week of the summit, and it's my pleasure to hand it over to my colleagues at YSAT and D-Lab. Over to you, ladies and gentlemen. AMY SMITH: Thank you so much. We are delighted to be here, and I will just share my screen so we can go through introductions. And thank you very much to the Migration Summit for having-- giving us this time to present the work that we've been doing with The BRIDGE Project in South Sudan.
So let me just take a moment so I can share. OK, and hopefully this will work. Great. So as I said, we are going to be talking about The BRIDGE Project, which is a project on Building Resilience and Social Cohesion through Innovation Ecosystems, sponsored by USAID and implemented by MIT D-Lab and YSAT. And we want to wish everyone a very warm welcome.
And for those of you who are coming from South Sudan, we would like to say, Marhab, and hope that everyone is doing well. And what we'd like to do now is just have a chance for the team that will be presenting to introduce themselves one by one. So I will start and then hand it over to my colleagues.
My name is Amy Smith, and I'm the Founding Director of MIT D-Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And on The BRIDGE Project, I take a leadership role on training trainers and facilitators and leading capacity-building events. And I also was the lead on the co-creation summit that we ran.
And let me hand it over to John Jal Dak. MARTHA THOMPSON: Amy, John was on the call, but it looks like he's just dropped off. AMY SMITH: OK, well, then why don't you start, and then we'll see whether-- MARTHA THOMPSON: Hope that he gets back on? AMY SMITH: Yes, exactly. MARTHA THOMPSON: So my name is Martha Thompson.
Welcome to all of you, and we're very happy to share with you this afternoon. I'm the humanitarian specialist at MIT D-Lab. And in this project, I was the program manager from D-Lab side and did support-- supported the CCB in training of trainers, and also worked with Heewon on training people in the communities in basic business skills. HEEWON LEE: Hello, everybody.
My name's Heewon Lee. Nice to meet you all. I am the Program Coordinator at MIT D-Lab, and I have been working with Amy, John Jal, and Loki and Martha on this project, mostly doing constructing the CCBB, the business side of the CCB workshops, with Martha last year. AMY SMITH: Great.
And then Martha, do you want to introduce Jal and Loki in their [INAUDIBLE]? MARTHA THOMPSON: Yes, and we do hope they're going to be able to join us. So John Jal Dak is the executive director of YSAT, which is a refugee-based organization begun in Uganda. And now they have an office in South Sudan to do some of the-- extend some of the work that they're doing in Uganda to South Sudan, with a focus on peacebuilding and raising the voices of young people.
Loki David was the program manager for YSAT for this project in South Sudan, based in Juba. AMY SMITH: Great. Well, thanks.
And I hope that they will be able to join us, and then they'll just introduce themselves briefly when the internet smiles upon them and they are able to join. Great. OK, so those are the people who were largely involved with the project.
We also thought it would be, maybe, a little bit of help to talk about the organizations. Martha and Heewon and I all work at MIT D-Lab, which is a laboratory at MIT that focuses on working with people around the world to develop practical solutions through collaborative methods in order to address global poverty challenges and also humanitarian challenges. We do that through our academic program, through our research, and through our fieldwork program. And the three of us are primarily located in the fieldwork program, although we also-- we also teach classes.
And so MIT D-Lab-- we're celebrating our 20th our 20th anniversary this year and have been working with YSAT for many years. And Martha, do you want to talk a little bit about YSAT? MARTHA THOMPSON: As I said before, YSAT was formed by refugees in South Sudan, and they work with the communities-- formed by refugees in Uganda, and they work with the communities in the refugee camp of Rhino and Imvepi and Bidibidi in Uganda. And they really were, with strong focus, of bringing people together to solve problems around inter-ethnic conflicts around some of the food security and livelihood needs. And it is that work that they began to bring over the border into South Sudan. And their focus has been very strong and collaborative work across different ethnic groups, which is very important in terms of peacebuilding in South Sudan.
AMY SMITH: And so we've been working with them extensively for several years, but this was really the first project where we worked with YSAT in South Sudan, and where we were the co-partners on the project. So part of the reason why we feel that our partnership is a strong one is because we share a lot of philosophy with each other. So both of us believe very strongly in empowerment and building agency amongst the affected population. And we also believe in design as a powerful tool for community development. And both of our organizations are in line with the goals of the project. So it was a very easy fit for us to be working together.
Martha? MARTHA THOMPSON: Sure. So we wanted to really emphasize localization in this project and really think of localization action. What does that look like? And we felt the first thing about localization was that there was shared vision and planning and decision making so that it wasn't a question of D-Lab having a project and then YSAT just implementing all the different points that D-Lab wanted to implement, but that we came to this project we built it together with the shared vision. We plan together how it would happen. And we make decisions about it together.
We do divide tasks of responsibility based on our different backgrounds and capabilities. So we're looking at localization in two levels. One is with D-Lab and YSAT, but also, within South Sudan is also the same shared vision planning and decision making between Juba and Jonglei Province, where the project is currently.
So what YSAT brings-- we each bring different experiences and different skills. And the most important-- or primary-- of primary importance-- YSAT that brings a deep understanding of culture and context. And this is always extremely important in any kind of project with people suffering from displacement, but extremely important in a high-conflict situation.
They also have a very strong commitment to a multi-ethnic collaboration and peacebuilding, as I mentioned before. So they have a multi-ethnic staff in Juba and in Duk, which is the basis of trying to work well together with across communities. And they have both goodwill and reputation-- good reputation, which is very important on the ground, in terms of peoples seeing them as a legitimate actor in the communities. They have a strong representation of people of concern.
Persons of concern-- I don't know-- those of you who are here today-- how much you've heard that over this month in the Migration Summit, but we often use the word, persons of concern, when we're talking about people affected by conflict and displacement. They also had strong connections on the ground so that the communities could be-- communities wanted to be engaged and were willing to be engaged with the project. And of course, because they have a multi-ethnic staff, they were able to speak the different languages that were necessary, and they had convening power, both at the local level and the national level. AMY SMITH: And on the D-Lab side-- so we bring with us a commitment to building local leadership and empowerment, as well as developing the technical skills of the partners who we work with. And so that is working to build local leadership, not only with the organizations that we work with but also with the beneficiaries of the project, the participants in the trainings.
We feel that we also bring goodwill and have a good reputation for collaborating with our partners. And we have extensive experience in development and design, particularly in facilitating co-creation activities and design trainings, having developed several curricula in that area. We also have quite a bit of experience of passing on that knowledge through trainings of trainers and also training design facilitators and developing context-specific and site-specific curriculum around design and community engagement.
Being at MIT, we also have considerable convening power of NGOs and also international NGOs and multilateral organizations as well. MARTHA THOMPSON: So we would like to explain to you what is The BRIDGE project in South Sudan which is Building Resilience through Innovation, Design, and Grassroots Empowerment. So the next few slides will describe the project. AMY SMITH: Go ahead.
MARTHA THOMPSON: So this is the map of South Sudan, and you can see Juba with the red square. And if you see the two red dots, those are Duk and Pibor. They're two communities in Jonglei province, both very isolated by the conflict.
And it's very-- it's almost impossible to get to either them by road. They are communities in conflict with each other. There's a spiral of violence-- a frequent armed cattle raiding between the two communities. And the Duk community is mainly people of the [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] ethnicity, and-- I'm sorry, the Duk is mainly people of [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH],, and Pibor is mainly people of the [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] community. So we wanted to begin this project to work with communities in conflict areas in a different way and bring a different approach to it.
We wanted to use design as a way to help empower people and really give them a role to identify problems they want to work on and help solve them. So we did this through building two local innovation ecosystems, and that means an Innovation center in each community that ran regular design trainings that-- community participants could go to design trainings, learn the design process, and build technologies that could support their livelihood. The design training is designed in such a way that it really promotes agency and self-reliance. People choose what they want to work on, and they make those decisions, and they're given training in building skills to build their confidence. And they use the design pathway as a way to solve problems. And the last thing that we wanted this project to achieve was to promote social cohesion so that-- the project deliberately sought to bring people together across difference-- across different age groups, different ethnicities, and different clans.
So practically, USAID provided $750,000 for 15 months for this project. Everybody worked very hard to get this project done in 15 months. As you can imagine, setting up two innovation ecosystems in very remote areas in conflict was not an easy task, but YSAT was extremely dedicated in making this happen. Their staff were trained in design training, and they were able to carry out 12 CCB trainings in the two sites.
And then we were able to bring people from each site together for one co-creation summit. AMY SMITH: Great. And so that's by way of introduction to both the people, the organizations, and a little bit of the project. And we wanted, now, to go into a little bit more about the things that make up the project. So we will go into more detail about Creative Capacity Building, which is, really, the cornerstone of the work of the project. But we also wanted to look at how the work of the project increases agency and combats some of the negative impacts of transactional humanitarian aid.
And we wanted to also look at how working together on practical problems can be a way of bringing people together and easing tensions between groups in conflict. And then we'll close out the session together with the opportunity to break up into discussion groups to talk about specific areas of the presentation that might be of interest of you, either to share your own ideas or to dig a little bit deeper than what we're able to present in the limited time that we have with you. And as you recall, one of the most important things that we talked about when we talked about our partnership-- or the partnership between YSAT set and D-Lab was our philosophical alignment. And so I do want to just take a short moment to talk about the philosophy behind CCB and the philosophy that really unites our two organizations.
So this is an illustration of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. And this is a way of just characterizing the different things that a human being needs to live a happy, fulfilled, safe life. And it's divided into three main sections. The first is basic needs, and those are things that-- like food, water, shelter, that allow us to physically survive. And the second is psychological needs. And these are things like friendship, belonging, love, and those are things that help us psychologically survive.
And then the top triangle on the pyramid is this idea of self-fulfillment needs, and those are things that make us feel part of a larger whole moving forward and let's us really live a fulfilled life, as well as a healthy life. And these have been discussed and characterized for dozens of years. But one of the things that we do at D-Lab is we look at this with a design lens. And if you think about it from design and a technology point of view-- is that, when you are using a technology, this is something that meets your basic needs.
So a water pump would bring water. A grain mill grinds grain so you can make flour for tortillas or porridge. A house provides shelter and security. So our basic needs are typically met by using technologies. But we believe that when you design a technology and when you create it and you, yourself, are solving the problem, that this brings out these higher-level needs.
So when you're designing, you're designing on a team. You build relationships with other people on your team, and you build relationships to the users who will be using the technology. It does a huge amount for building your confidence and your self-esteem. Usually, if we were in person, I would ask people to raise their hands if they had ever built anything.
People not only raise their hands, but they usually smile because they remember that creative process with a feeling of pride, a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of joy within the creative experience. And you really feel like-- once you make something and it works, you really feel like you can do anything. So this idea of designing a technology for yourselves or for your community is something that really fulfills those higher-level psychological needs and self-fulfillment needs. And this is often neglected when international aid organizations or humanitarian organizations think about how to get technologies into the hands of people who need it. The donation model is extremely prevalent, where people are given what they need or given what other people think they need. But this fundamentally robs them of those higher-level psychological and self-fulfillment needs that they would get if they were able to be more involved in the creation of the technology itself.
So this is something that really underlines the philosophy of the work that we do, which is not just giving people technology-- not the product of design but engaging them in the process of design so that they can meet these higher-level needs as well. And so when we look at design, there's three different ways you can look at it. You can look at it as-- when you're designing for someone else, where the designer is separate from the users. They may communicate with the users to gain information about what they need, about the context, et cetera, but fundamentally, the designers are the ones doing the creative process.
Then you have, design with, which is co-creation or co-design, where the designers and the users are on the same team, and they're working together, constantly bouncing ideas off of each other, making decisions together, et cetera, in order to create the product. And the third paradigm is what we call, design by, and that's when the users are trained in the design process so that they become designers themselves. And in that case, that leads to their empowerment and leadership of the design process.
And the program which really underlines The BRIDGE Project is the Creative Capacity Building program, which is essentially this, design, by paradigm where we train community members in the design process so that they can create solutions to challenges that they both identify themselves and that they experience themselves. And we think that this is really important, especially within the humanitarian context, because there are multiple benefits to design, and they're both tangible and intangible. So for the tangible skills, people learn how to use tools. They learn how to build prototypes. They learn the design process, which is a creative problem-solving process.
They learn how to interact in order to get and receive feedback in order to improve a design, and they build relationships amongst their teammates and with the users. And these are some of the tangible skills that come out of a design training. The intangible benefits are things like an increased sense of agency, where people feel more in control of their future. And this is particularly important in the humanitarian setting where people have had to leave so much behind and they often do not feel in control of their future or their situation. It also leads to transformations in terms of people's self-confidence and the way they view themselves.
They no longer think of themselves as vulnerable recipients, but they think of themselves as active creators. And so that creativity and that confidence is fundamentally important to that transformation. And in doing this, this really combats the culture of dependency that can sometimes emerge in the humanitarian sector.
And it also leads to increased understanding and empathy. Particularly, if there's co-creation where NGOs are designing with the affected population, then there starts to be increased appreciation for the skills and the situation of people on the other side as well. So these are critically important for development and for humanitarian work. Right. And now we're going to move into the-- more details about the Creative Capacity Building program, which is a fundamental part of this project. Yeah, and we've been doing Creative Capacity Building for more than a dozen years, and we have done it in 19 countries.
Number 20 is coming up soon, in a few months time. And the methodology has been adopted by organizations in many different countries around the world, where their staff now does the Creative Capacity Building, or as we call it, CCB training as part of their work, as part of their way that they engage with communities. And as I said, we have been-- we developed Creative Capacity 13 or 14 years ago in northern Uganda, and we have been refining it ever since and adapting it to local situations. And I'll hand it over to Heewon to talk a little bit about the elements that make up Creative Capacity Building.
HEEWON LEE: Thanks, Amy. So yes, let's talk about the CCB design process. So in all our CCB programs, we teach them the design process. It's a very simple, intuitive, and amazing design process that basically walks them through each of these different stages for them to identify a problem and solve a problem at the end, which can be very feasible and adaptable to the local context that they're living in. So it's an eight-stage design process, starting from gathering information and walking through to problem framing, and then thinking of ideas and choosing the best ideas, and then later on, actually get feedback and implement it into the actual context you're actually living in. So the first thing that we actually do in these CCB workshops is that we do a lot of building skills.
So we teach them different types of skills of how to use different type of tools or different type of materials to build these different small technologies that they can actually use in their context for them to build confidence of using tools and materials. And then we really deep-dive into the design process, where different participants will form a team and then will bring in different problems that they're actually having in their context, and basically try to decide on which problem they want to pick to actually use in the CCB workshop. And once they have the problem, they start thinking about, what are some ways that we can actually solve this? So we have a bunch of different tools that we actually introduce them-- into this CCB workshop, and have them start coming up with different ideas that can be very feasible. And most teams will have a number of different ideas, and it's very hard for them to choose. And then we actually teach this wonderful, very simple tool that they actually use called sketch-modeling where they actually build their ideas by using simple materials and have it tested out to select which idea is actually more feasible and better to actually create.
And once they have choose an idea, then they actually use these local materials and tools for them to start prototyping and test it out to see if their ideas are actually working, but also, invite different stakeholders and users to actually have them experience the prototypes they're actually creating to get feedback, to actually have better prototypes at the end. And once they have the feedback, they test it out more, and they try to really refine it to make it really feasible and then market-ready. And last but not least, once they have their final refined prototype, the goal is to have these prototypes and technologies back into the market so they can actually test it and then create better livelihoods through it. AMY SMITH: Great.
And I did just want to check to see whether Jal had joined the call yet or not, or otherwise, Martha, if you want to go ahead. MARTHA THOMPSON: Sure. Loki's joined the call, so he can proceed, but Jal is not yet there. So we've been talking a lot about how CCB builds agency.
We've all mentioned that. But what does that really mean? So what we see a lot in humanitarian situations-- and I speak from many decades of working as a humanitarian worker. Humanitarian workers are trained to come in and assess the situation and assess the problem. So a humanitarian worker might come in and say, OK, the problem here is people don't have enough fuel to cook with. We should provide solar cookers.
Or, people need income. So we should provide bakery courses or hairdressing courses. But in CCB, the community members decide what the problem is, and they prioritize what the problem is. So they might say, in this community, we don't have a knife sharpener.
We have no way to sharpen our tools for agriculture. And then the community members design the solution to solve that problem. So they make-- they may make a knife sharpener that is powered by using a bicycle wheel.
They will come up with a solution that makes sense to the way they live, to their culture, and to their context. And we find that that becomes a transformative process. When people are able to prioritize the problem that they want to work on and then design the solution, we find it changes their view of themselves. Rather than seeing themselves as beneficiaries, they really start to highly value their own capacity skills and have pride in what they do, and realize that they can use the design process as a way to solve problems and change things for themselves.
And we feel that learning these new skills is a truly transformative process for people. It awakens, in them, the capacity and potential that they have but that was not always recognized or given opportunity to develop. AMY SMITH: Yes. So CCB had its roots in Uganda.
And Jal, who is the executive director of YSAT, was-- actually participated in one of our training of trainers in 2017. And he was very taken by the methodology, and he was very eager to bring it back to the work that YSAT was doing in northern Uganda. And so we organized, together, to do a training-- a CCB training in Rhino Camp, refugee camp, with a number of refugees from South Sudan in order to sort of start this idea of having a cadre of locally trained designers in Rhino Camp. And it was a very successful training. It went on to form the basis of a co-creation summit that happened later.
And it is actually the basis of a variety of initiatives that we're still doing in Rhino Camp and in the neighboring camp, as well in Northern Uganda. And Jal was very pleased with the work and how it was going and the capacity that it brought to his staff and the impacts that he saw on the community, but he still had this dream of bringing it to South Sudan. And so in-- it was about three years ago that this opportunity presented itself, where we had the opportunity to write a proposal to USAID for starting a Creative Capacity Building program in South Sudan. And Jal was very eager to do this.
He was a driving force in the vision for how to make it happen. He personally went to visit all the sites to choose places that would be appropriate, et cetera, and I really wish that he were here on this call to share his passion for this because I know I'm not doing it justice. But let it just suffice to say that his vision and leadership is really what allowed us to start this BRIDGE project together in South Sudan. Yeah. And so one of the things that we learned, both through the work in Rhino Camp and in other areas of Uganda, was that just doing a training was not sufficient-- that it was really necessary to create an ecosystem where innovation could thrive and innovators could be supported.
And so we knew that, when we moved into South Sudan, especially because so much infrastructure has been damaged in the war and continues to be challenging during the conflict, we knew that this was important that we had local innovation ecosystems that provided a variety of things to the community. And this includes a maker space. So each of the two sites have an innovation center, trainings and activities to not only teach people the design process and hands-on manufacturing and fabrication skills, but also outreach activities to bring in other people to the centers so that they can learn about what's been done there and they can be inspired to do more. There's mentoring that happens, not only on the technical side but also in terms of business and team dynamics. And there's tools and materials at that maker space so that, when people come with an idea, they can find some resources there in order to make it happen. And then they're able to apply for small startup funds in order to get their business off the ground and running.
And so these are the things that make up a local innovation ecosystem and that we've established at the two sites in Pibor and Duk in South Sudan. And then, Loki, if your internet allows, would you like to describe some of the projects that have come out of the CCB training so far? And you might have to take yourself off of Mute because I think you were muted on arrival in the call. Oh, thank you so much. I hope you're getting me clearly? MARTHA THOMPSON: Yes. LOKI DAVID: Oh, that's good. Yeah, I was actually struggling to get connected.
The internet wasn't good. Yeah, actually, the CCB-- it's a very good project that we have worked in, on The BRIDGE Project, and it has actually impacted the-- [INAUDIBLE] AMY SMITH: Martha, I think you might have to take over because, at least on my side, I can't really hear. [INTERPOSING VOICES] MARTHA THOMPSON: Loki? LOKI DAVID: [INAUDIBLE] We have trained over 200-- or 175 direct beneficiaries for this project and just really changed the mindset of the youth, especially in the locations of Pibor and Duk.
And we are able to come up with-- the youth were able to come up with a number of technologies that [AUDIO OUT] MARTHA THOMPSON: Loki, can you hear us? Loki, can you unmute? LOKI DAVID: Hello? MARTHA THOMPSON: Hello, OK. Can you continue? We just heard you say that they came up with technologies. LOKI DAVID: [INAUDIBLE]. Yes they came up with a number of technologies.
We have the [INAUDIBLE],, which is both in Duk and in Pibor. [INAUDIBLE] MAN: [INAUDIBLE] your network is breaking. [INAUDIBLE] is breaking. LOKI DAVID: Yeah, I have the shoe-making-- of which you look at these local shoes that is being put on. We also have the cook stove. We look at the cook stove, which is actually made locally, using the bricks-- which is built using the bricks, and is mostly, also, in Pibor and in Duk.
We also have the brick mold. The brick mold-- they make it up for laying bricks and for building the houses. We also have the paste maker, which is used for grinding, paste-- simple-- instead of like using the stone the traditional way or maybe looking at a modernized way. It's not that. So you look at the paste maker, which is actually like the easiest way like to make paste.
And then we also have the irrigation system, which mostly is used-- maybe during the dry season, it is used like to support the green vegetables to grow up during the dry season. So basically, these are the active-- the active technologies that we were able to come up with during this project. Thank you. I hope I was clear. MARTHA THOMPSON: Yes.
AMY SMITH: Yes, thank you. Martha, do you want to take these next few? MARTHA THOMPSON: Certainly. Now we just want to talk a little bit about how BRIDGE Project increases agency in terms of how it combats the negative impacts of what we call transactional humanitarian aid. So as we said before, it promotes agency and self-reliance.
So rather than just receiving goods or receiving items that NGOs decide that you need, this promotes agency for people to decide what it is they want to do and be able to have a technology to do those things. And we really, find from our evaluations and from discussions with the participants, that this does strengthen people's idea of self-reliance, that they're able to-- OK, they're able to use these skills not only in creating a technology to solve livelihood problems, but they use the skills in other areas of their lives as well. And here, you see someone using one of the ovens.
Loki, do you want to try this one? We'll see how the connection-- LOKI DAVID: Are you getting me? MARTHA THOMPSON: Yes. LOKI DAVID: Yeah, actually, when you look at the CCB training, of course, it has built the confidence of the people, especially the women, because you look at the context of South Sudan-- there are some activities that, actually-- people think it is done by men. But when you look at the CCB, it has actually changed the mindset and, actually, it has built the confidence of women, in fact, to get involved to do-- some of these activities.
And also, this one also made them [INAUDIBLE] problem solving skills because, generally, the context of South Sudan-- women are always shy, and they're neglected from doing all the activities. But when-- when the CCB [INAUDIBLE].. And you look at-- now, somebody can be able to build-- come up with a technology and then be like, wow, I thought I could not do this, but I was able to do it. So the next time, it also motivates other people to make sure that-- to tell them, yes, I can do it. So this is actually what I can say, based on the building confidence and problem solving skills. MARTHA THOMPSON: And then we also see that people are able to make products that diversify their livelihoods.
People have made a knife sharpener. They build products that solve problems in the community. And these are both rather isolated communities with limited service.
So the fact that you have a new way of building bricks, the fact that you can bring in a bake oven-- in one of the communities, it was the first oven that had been there for several years-- that you can find a different way to make paste, groundnut paste or paste for different kinds of-- different kinds of bread and cookie production-- so the fact that people are able not only to have a livelihood but they're able to diversify both their livelihoods and the services in the community. So these are some of the participant quotes that we got from our last-- our last evaluation. And what we've tried to do here is put the pictures of the people with the quotes together. So this is Monica, who really felt-- she felt such a sense of pride in what she was able to do.
And she felt that people in the community also saw her in a different way because she actually was able to help build this technology. And as Loki said, especially for women, this is a very important aspect of the program, that they see themselves differently and that people think, well, women could never do that, but wow, this woman actually was on a wheel cart team and helped develop a wheel cart. Loki, I think this is yours? AMY SMITH: Go ahead. LOKI DAVID: Yeah, when you look at-- actually, this is also one of the former participants. Since she got the knowledge of CCB-- and she was able to use it making an oven, she could not go hungry because she was able to make bread and sell it and earn a living.
So this is a very great impact, and this is a very great change. This one is specifically [INAUDIBLE].. [INTERPOSING VOICES] MARTHA THOMPSON: This is another participant. Talked about pride, but he also-- we also felt this-- it was an important quote to include because it shows that, for many people, the margin between hunger and, actually, having some sustenance was so narrow, and that having a technology really could make that difference for one person.
So we also feel that this-- when we talk about combating the negative impacts of aid, what we really see and what we hear from people is how they see themselves, but also how others see them. And people who are affected by conflict-- they don't just become dependent people, but the humanitarian system casts them in that role. And the humanitarian system is really about NGOs as giving things to people who are affected by conflict, who are receiving those things. And we feel that a program like this really changes those negative impacts.
It allows people to become problem solvers. They're not passive recipients. They're not passive beneficiaries, waiting for something. We think it's really important that people choose the problem they want to address. In your own lives, you get to prioritize what you want to work on, what problems do you want to solve.
And just because people are affected by conflict doesn't mean they shouldn't have that same ability to choose what they feel is most important to work on. It gives people a path forward. They see a way to-- oh, I have a problem. I can try to figure out a way to solve it using the design process, using these skills that I've learned.
And then, as we have mentioned before, people surprise themselves by what they're able to achieve and accomplish, and people in the community can see them differently. But we also see, from some of our evaluations, that NGOs begin to see people as, oh, these people have been able to do this. They've been able to build these technologies. They're able to use these skills. They're not vulnerable people, but they're people with a lot of capability and capacity.
And we really have a hope that this will change the way that NGOs see people affected by conflict. AMY SMITH: So Martha, do you want to take over these next few slides that Jal was going to do? MARTHA THOMPSON: Yes. When we showed you the first slide of what we're trying to achieve with this project-- what YSAT and MIT D-Lab-- we're trying to achieve, we talked about social cohesion.
And we felt that a way to deal with social-- or to build social cohesion-- we want to experiment the idea of working together on practical problems. And we thought that that would be a different approach to peacebuilding and to build social cohesion. So we look at this at two levels. One is within the community itself. In Pibor community, people are divided by age group and by clans, and there is often a lot of tension between different age groups and a lot of tension between different clans. In Duk, people are divided by ethnicity, Nuer and [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH],, BUT you also have displaced people who've come to the area and host communities, which also gives rise to tension.
So in the community, where we see CCB building cohesion is, one, you have to design projects that bring people together. So deliberately, in both communities, the community leadership chooses people from different clans, different ages, different groups, different genders, and they form teams to work together on design projects. And so this is very unusual, particularly in Pibor, that people would from-- these different groups would be coming together and then working very practically on a project together. And they find that this really builds new kinds of relationships. People relate to each other in a very different way. One aspect is that the training is done, in a way, to build relationships between people.
People play games together. People do fun things together. But also, people work together in a practical way to solve problems that they care about, that are for mutual benefit. And so, actually, bringing people from different clans together, bringing men and women together in a team-- the goal of that team is to make the technology work, so that becomes the most important factor. And again, that really broadens the aspect of relationship that people have among each other, and then those teams use the product in the market to earn money together. And so they have a vested interest in working together and making the product and making the technology work.
What we find is that this kind of opens up a new space of relationship for people, which is a space where they're both working together for mutual benefit and they've learned new ways to relate to each other. And we feel that this can be-- well, we see that this has been a very good way of building cohesion. Many participants have said, oh, I would never have spoken to this person, and now we work together on the same team. So we see that, as these trainings go on, it continues to strengthen this web of relationship across difference in the community.
AMY SMITH: And the second type of collaboration is this working together across communities. So this is, now, looking at bringing together participants from people and participants from Duk, where there is quite a bit of conflict between those two communities, and try to build relationships across those communities. And the goal was to build relationships in-- across these groups in crisis as a way to ease and reduce tensions between them so that people-- if they have friends in another community, they may not jump to-- they may not jump to conclusions, as quickly.
They may lower their biases. So there's a variety of things that-- through building relationships and connections across community you can help to reduce tension, and we wanted to do this in a way where the groups would work together in ways that were mutually beneficial. And so we decided to do a co-creation experience that would bring together people from both of those communities, with this idea that they had a common language and framework of design. So they spoke different languages, but they all spoke design because they had all been through this training.
And they all had this common vision, which was they had all created technologies as part of their training, and they had a vision to improve those technologies and to take them to the next step. And furthermore, they were interested in learning from the experiences of the people in the other site. In many cases, there were projects that had been done at both Sites, And so they were able to connect and learn from each other's experiences. And these were really important factors as we developed the curriculum and the vision for this Co-Creation summit that we did that was about a week long and was held in Juba and brought community members from both locations, as well as design facilitators from other CCB programs that we had in Tanzania and in Uganda. And the idea was to bring together people from both communities in order to build social cohesion as they worked together, as they co-created and collaborated to improve the technologies.
So there were some key features to that summit. The first was that it took place in a neutral space. So both of them were coming from their communities to a third place, and that was really important in terms of, just, people having an even footing from where they were starting from. The other thing that was very important was the way that we selected projects. So we had four projects that took place at that summit.
Two came from each community. And of those two, there was one which was actually being developed in both. So there was an oven project that had been developed in Pibor. There was also an oven project that had been developed in Duk. There was a wheel cart that had been developed in Pibor and a wheel cart that had been developed in Duk.
And so in those cases, people came together from those teams and worked together to share their experiences and to create a new prototype that brought the learnings from both of their design journeys. But we also had a project that was done only at one community but had participants from the other community join that team so they could learn about that technology. So there was a paste maker that was developed in Duk, and then the team from Pibor came and joined that team so that they learned and were able to bring that technology. There was a shoe-making project from Pibor, which-- where participants from Duk joined that team and, again, could bring that technology back. So this idea of being very intentional about the type of project that was selected was critical in terms of promoting collaboration at the summit.
We also made sure that we did a variety of team-building activities throughout the time that we were together because there was-- these were not only people who didn't know each other but people for whom there was a history of violence, a history of conflict. And so we wanted to make sure that we built those personal relationships in order to try to ease those tensions. And we also worked very hard to create an enabling environment for co-creation, where people could try to address power dynamics, reduce biases, have a positive mindset as they worked together. So we have a few quotes from that workshop as well-- which was a very successful workshop. The technologies all moved to the next level, and the participants really appreciated the opportunity to come together and work together on something practical.
Almost every participant mentioned how grateful they were to have something that was a real hands-on opportunity for collaboration, rather than simply a dialogue and discussion. So this practical nature was very important. And then the idea that they really stayed together-- so this is one of the quotes that-- from one of the participants, who stresses the importance of living together, eating together, working together, et cetera, as a way to become friends. And he credits that friendship to the CCB program and the Co-Creation Summit. The. next quote is one of the most powerful ones that came from our evaluation.
I actually will read this one because I feel like it was particularly meaningful that the young man who said this said that he was expecting the training to change him from being bad to being good. And as he had said before-- that he had been a raider, meaning he went on cattle raids of the ethnic group that was different from his own. And then he goes on to say, "But now I am a scientist with technologies that have not been there before." And so the power of this to transform someone's view of themselves, not just as someone who knows how to use a hammer or a hacksaw, but someone who views themselves as a better person as a result of this work-- and this was, to me, one of the most powerful quotes that came out of this because of the transformation that occurred for this young man as part of his participation.
So this was a little bit about the power of bringing people together. And I'm going to hand it over to Heewon to talk about how we can come together, ourselves, to talk about some of these three parts that we've presented of the presentation so far so that we can have a chance to chat in smaller groups. So over to you. HEEWON LEE: Thank you, Amy. So yes, we have three different topics.
We have the first topic in room one, called Benefits of Strengthening Livelihoods through Collaborative Design. Room two-- we have Creative Ways To combat the Negative Impacts of Transactional Humanitarian Aid. And room three-- we'll discuss about the promises and pitfalls of localization. So I have created three different rooms, and you are more than welcome to choose a topic that you would like to be a part of. And I'm just opening up the rooms right now, and we will have about 15 minutes to discuss in our break-out rooms. And after that, we will come back, and we will share some of the stuff that we have identified and discussed about to the whole group.
OK, welcome back, everybody. I know it was very short on time, but I hope you guys had a very good discussion within your groups. And we don't have that much time, but we would like to hear some of the discussions that you guys talked about. So can somebody from team one-- from Amy's group-- would like to share some of the discussions that you guys talked about? AMY SMITH: Thanks. I was just wondering if there was someone who might like to summarize our conversation.
It was a short time. and we had a very good question right at the end, so we didn't get a chance to decide who would report back. LOKI DAVID: Yeah, maybe I can do it.
No problem. AMY SMITH: Thank you. LOKI DAVID: Yeah, our discussion was so good. The best question came towards the end, and we ran short of time. And I wish we could actually have more time so that we discuss that because using the digitalization to improve on the livelihoods is actually one of the best ways that we can adopt.
Yeah, actually, we had a very good discussion based on collaboration on how to improve the strength and the livelihoods. And of course, couple of questions-- I mean compliments from the participants-- from Steven, from [INAUDIBLE]. So it was actually so good, and I would really, actually, say that our discussion was so good, and it was beneficial for us-- for the team-- for room one.
But maybe for Lorraine-- maybe we can get more time and then we discuss on that because I would really need you to get more into discussion of that. I just love that last question, honestly. Yeah. AMY SMITH: Yeah, and just to inform people of the last question, Lorraine mentioned that they tend to go to the market to identify challenges for digital livelihoods and then do collaboration and co-creation about, how do you overcome the hurdles that enable people to get digital livelihoods.
But they tend to do market studies in order to determine what the challenges are that are addressed. And her question was, do we think she should do more co-creation and co-development of those challenges with the end users and with the people who will be entering the Digital Livelihoods program? And so people were eager to share their opinion. I'll just say, quickly, yes, is my opinion. And then I'll leave it over to group number two. But it was a thought-provoking question right at the end, so thanks.
And thanks to the team for sharing their thoughts during our session. HEEWON LEE: Yes. Thank you, team one, and moving onto team two. MARTHA THOMPSON: We had an interesting group, because we had Patricia from Innovation-- the Innovation department at USAID that actually funded this project.
So she represents both a donor and-- as a donor agency. Then we had Faith, who works with a humanitarian agency. We had Ayuk, who's leader of a refugee led organization, and Mikal, who is an urban refugee. And so it was very interesting to hear everyone's viewpoint. And I would say we had a very strong consensus.
Would someone from the group like to just-- we don't have very much time, but just like to take one or two minutes to talk about the main points? FAITH KATHOKA: Maybe I can go, Martha? MARTHA THOMPSON: Yes, go ahead. FAITH KATHOKA: Let me see if I can have my video. There we go. So I think we all agreed that the beneficiaries have to sit at the table.
It will not work if it's always outside coming in. But also, there has to be a push from the donor so that the donor just doesn't give money and let humanitarian organizations decide what will happen. And so looking at the dynamics that were in our group, that would be USAID-- Patricia giving WFP money and then making sure that-- WFP making sure that Ayuk and Mikal are at the table before they can just say, oh it, is food you need. Here is food.
So it's making sure that all the players are on board when it comes to this. And just-- something that Patricia said that is very important-- she said that her team is, right now, pushing internally to have this change. And so it's such a positive thing because it means the person who is providing the money has a bigger say.
Ultimately, generally, they always have a bigger say to what will happen, so it's good to know that there's a change that is happening internally to ensure that all-- everyone who is supposed to be at the table making the decision is actually doing. MARTHA THOMPSON: Thank you, Faith. HEEWON LEE: Well, thank you very much, yes, and then nice to meet you, Faith, again. And yeah, moving on to the last team. So our topic was basically talking about the advantages and disadvantages of localization.
Is there anybody from our team who would like to summarize the conversations we had? BEATRICE WARUINGE: I'll go. HEEWON LEE: All right, Beatrice. Thank you. BEATRICE WARUINGE: I can summarize for our team. Ours was group three, and we were talking about the advantages and disadvantages of localization.
So in our team, we had INAUDIBLE, and then we had Vitaly, and then we had Brittany from USA. So I'll just summarize this one very fast. So one thing that came out as an advantage is there's definitely an aspect of ownership.
There's also the other aspect of-- it's a local problem, so there's a local solution. And something we just summarized and say there is a bottom-up approach. The community has this problem. They get a solution. And then the solution just fits perfectly in their. Context we also say another advantage is-- it brings many people from different places, different communities, different-- across borders, together, which also enhances or enriches the dialogues because we have these cross-community dialogues.
A disadvantage-- we say it can be expensive, especially if we have to bring a global partner down to the local-- to the local situation. And it can also be time-consuming. The last point that we were discussing just before the breakout session was over, was the [INAUDIBLE] of even funding for this-- for this community programs-- can also be a challenge sometimes because of the processes-- the vetting processes that have to go through before funding is provided. I think I covered most of that. HEEWON LEE: You covered everything, Beatrice. Thank you so much.
Yes. Yes, so I know it wasn't enough time. Hopefully, some of us can reconnect and then have more in-depth conversations later on. But since we have to wrap up, I'm going to pass the mic to Amy.
AMY SMITH: Thank you, and I'm just going to quickly issue a big, thank you, to everyone for joining us for this time. I know that we have people representing many different countries here and many different time zones, and we appreciate your taking an hour and a half to join us for being able to share this project. It's a project that we're very excited about.
and we're very happy that USAID has actually funded a follow-on project that allows us to continue working there for some few months. And then we continue to work with YSAT as they continue to try to expand CCB and these local innovation ecosystems all around South Sudan. So we're excited by the potential for the project.
Very much appreciated hearing what you all had to say at the discussion group. So thank you again for joining us. You'll see, here, the email-- HumanitarianInnovation@MIT.edu. And I also put it in the chat so that you can reach out to us if you like. If there were any questions that were unanswered during your breakout session, please feel free to be in touch Thank you, once again, to the Migration Summit for sponsoring so many wonderful activities during this month.
You guys have done a wonderful job, and we were very grateful to be able to participate. So on behalf of all of us, I want to say, thank you, to everyone, and I hope you have a good rest of your day.