Interview with 7Senses
1. How could you best describe your organization?
7Senses questions the famous quote “Give somebody a fish and he has food for one day. Teach him how to fish and he will have food for his entire life”: what if that somebody does not like fish? Or what if there’s no fish around? What if our fishing style is not working for him? Or what if it is not culturally appropriate to eat fish?
7Senses' aim is to improve the quality of development cooperation worldwide through Participatory Action Research (PAR). Madelon Eelderink, founder of 7 Senses, gives trainings on PAR, intercultural communication and development cooperation and can be hired for the design and execution of action research projects worldwide.
2. What makes your organization/ company/ service different from others?
As far as our knowledge goes, 7Senses is the only organization that combines PAR trainings for young professionals with tackling community issues at location, working directly with local stakeholders.
3. What can customers expect from your organization?
Customers can expect high quality PAR trainings which will give them the opportunity to tackle community issues (whether that be in a slum area in a developing country or a department of a company) through PAR, leading to sustainable, high impact solutions.
4. Why did you start working in the industry you do?
Ms. Madelon Eelderink: "During my fieldwork I have seen many failed development projects due to the lack of stakeholder involvement. When I applied PAR for the first time in a village in Guatemala, I was facinated by its impact to the community and my ambition became to improve the quality and impact of development projects worldwide by conducting and promoting PAR."
5. What have your biggest obstacles been in trying to expand your organization?
Although most of our costs for PAR projects are covered through the trainings we give, we also partly depend on donor funds. Many of those funds only finance concrete projects such as building a school, orphanage or water pump. In PAR projects, we do not know the outcome yet as during the PAR process it is the local community that decides what fits best in their sociocultural context. Not knowing the outcome beforehand is for many funds the reason not to fund our projects.
6. How can SANEC help with positioning your company?
It would be great if SANEC could bring us in contact with companies or organizations who want to invest in community projects and who are not afraid to let the community, including all different stakeholders, develop and implement the best fitting (often unexpected!) solutions, leading to high impact outcomes.
For more information on 7Senses, please have a look at their website here.