Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

The Place:

KRTTI (Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute) is a government institute in Kakata, Margibi County, Liberia, West Africa. We are tasked with training elementary school teachers. Our trainees come from, and will return to, rural areas. They pay no tuition and are given free board and room.

Currently we receive very little financial support from the Ministry of Education and most of our food is donated. Although we are now in the process of rebuilding our farm to pre-war status, it's a slow process and we're in a race to close the time gap between the end of donated food and self-sufficiency. Our ideal future farm will be able to supply the kitchen with the bulk of its needs, be a training farm to complement the agriculture component of the curriculum, and have enough surplus to sell in town with the proceeds used to support the farm needs, add additional foods to the kitchen's menu and contribute to the Institute's emergency fund.

The Challenge:

To find ways to motivate our field workers to stay on task and be accountable for their area of responsibility on the farm. The reluctance of people, in post war Liberia, to accept responsibility is, overall, a major obstacle in the path to the country's recovery and, for us, can have devastating effects on the farm. Over the Christmas holidays one of our nursing sows starved to death because the caregiver just didn't bother to feed her.

The Idea:

Encourage the field workers to stay on task through competition, direct rewards, and recognition.

Our field workers are paid $80 US a month (A bag of rice to feed a family-of-four for a month costs about $30). Although money is a common motivator, it has the drawback of leading to missed days. We have had some success with providing the workers the noon meal so we know that non-monetary rewards work also. We have, over the last month, been interviewing field hands, supervisors and other employers about their needs, ideas and successes.

Changing human behavior is not what the school is about but we need to do it if our desire for self sufficiency is to come to fruition. We want to reward the teams with "uniforms" (matching shirts), laundry soap and other small personal items. We are able to supply them food items so that they can make their own meals, which they prefer to do because the cafeteria meals are quite repetitive and boring, but there is no funding for the other rewards. The team leaders, and to a lesser extent, the team members, will share in the proceeds of the harvest, although we don't expect long term expectations to have much impact. At least for the first couple of harvests.

Most of our field hands are illiterate, which makes recognition awards more difficult. Instead of written awards we will take pictures and post them on a bulletin board near the tool storage area. The workers are always ready to jump in a picture when the camera comes out and enjoy the photos of themselves they do see.

We will be constantly monitoring, evaluating and changing (when needed) the approach that we use. We expect to be able to create a model that will be used at our two sister schools and at other mid-sized farms.

The Money:

The money will be used for a year of rewards, prizes and incentives. No cash will be given as a reward and none will be used for any purpose other than as stated in this request. The cash will be kept in the school safe that only the Director and the Business Manager's counterpart (a Peace Corps Response volunteer this school year and me, next year) have access to.

The success of the first year's program will insure healthy crops and yields with enough profit to continue the funding of the incentives into the future.

Margaret L (Peggie) Scott
IFESH Volunteer
KRTTI (Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute)
Kakata, Margibi County
Liberia, West Africa
peggie@mindspring.com
+231 77 154 616

Views: 69

Comment by Ternura Rojas on May 14, 2010 at 11:58am
Hello Peggie, the aim of your evokation sounds really importabt. The strenght of your pitch relies on that it is anonging project. I would make your petition a little bit more catchy by adding an introduction using your own words:
You are evoking on behalf of the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute that provides FREE training and free board and room to elementary school teachers.
KRTTI needs this support because although it is a government institute, it receives very little financial support from the Ministry of Education of Liberia.
You are asking Evoke to help you "To motivate our field workers to stay on task and be accountable for their area of responsibility on the farm" during one year, at least, so that the "farm will (become) able to supply the kitchen with the bulk of its needs, be a training farm to complement the agriculture component of the curriculum, and have enough surplus to sell in town with the proceeds used to support the farm needs".
"The success of the first year's program will insure healthy crops and yields with enough profit to continue the funding of the incentives into the future."
How do you like this piece as the introduction of your evokation?
I would also highlight in bold the most important ideas.
good luck!
Comment by A.V.Koshy on May 14, 2010 at 12:09pm
good one peggie, simple , to the point and workable
Comment by Peggie Scott on May 16, 2010 at 9:44pm
Thank you Temura, Your suggestions are interesting because they're just the things I haven't ever done in a "formal" proposal and it wouldn't have occurred to me to do them here. But it certainly makes sense that in an arena of breaking the rules, flexing a little creative muscle wouldn't be frowned on. It's going to have to fly as it is because I've been writing a second proposal also. Just turned it in. (Wipes brow).

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