Knowing your group


Having only 8 weeks in Kenya it’s sometimes hard to gain a good understanding of the Kenyan groups that we work with. It might seem peripheral but understanding what activities are already undertaken, the assets available, the issues faced and aspirations for the future can be crucial in grasping why a group is particularly keen on one business idea or why the dynamic is a certain way. It’s very hard to work with a group without setting their actions within the context of where they are now.

One method we’ve found particularly good at speeding up this ‘getting to know you stage’ is through drawings, borrowing a tool created by Patti Dobrowolski, founder of Up Your Creative Genius.

This picture comes from our first session with Nakuru Youth with Disability in Action.

On the left of the picture you can see their current situation – the challenges they face, what they are thankful for, the strengths of their group. And on the right side of the picture you can see where they want to be in exactly 1 years time – defeating the stigma towards disabled people in their community, attracting more members and forming international bonds with other disabled organisations.

Creating this drawing with Nakuru Youth with Disability was a brilliant way to start the programme. It enabled us to see very quickly where the group is at and what their vision is for the future. And crucially, we could begin to see where Balloon Kenya might fit into this future. This group must create income-generating projects to support their other activities supporting disabled people across Kenya. So our programme seems like a good fit.

During the last 5 weeks this group has made huge progress and on Saturday they will be pitching their idea for a computer training college. Amazingly, with only 1 computer and a couple of great salesmen they have already managed to get 20 people signed up for basic computer training when the college opens! I have sneaky feeling they might get funding…


P.s. this image was beautifully drawn by one of our Balloon Fellows, Mr Jeremy Brown