On-going socioeconomic research in Lobitos

By undertaking focus groups, in-depth interviews and ethnographies, we have come to understand the local communities needs, informing the holistic development of our projects.

Dr. Jen Hazelton engaging with the local fishermen

Engagement with another Lobitos NGO, Waves for Development

Focus groups as part of social assessment carried out with local youth

Focus groups with Lobito's housewives

Interviews with local leaders

Meeting with the Lobito's Mayor at the District Municipality

Workshop with the President of the Lobitos fishermen's association

In August 2013, we began the regeneration of Lobitos through this socioeconomic assessment. As part of this study and through a variety of qualitative techniques, we asked the local community to identify the district's main problems/needs and their idea’s on how they should be solved. With the information obtained, we began implementing our “full bottom-up immersion” strategy and began developing projects which focussed on addressing the problems/needs identified.

The study identified the following problems as the most urgent in the area: The lack of water and sanitation, alleged land trafficking in the beach area, lack of sustainable job opportunities and pollution. The respondents provided diverse leads as potential solutions for these issues hand in hand with the rest of the population. We followed these ideas during the design and planning of our first projects.

The team returned to Lobitos in March 2014 to monitor the results of our first fieldwork and to update its conclusions. This fieldwork was directed by Dr. Jennifer Hazelton, Research Coordinator from the Newcastle Institute for Sustainability and EcoSwell volunteer, who is developing a framework for the design and implementation of social projects in Lobitos. The framework will be based on her study of the roles, risks and responsibilities that each stakeholder faces in the area and the difficulties and barriers that can present themselves.

The study results will give a social project typology that will define the best strategies, design and implementation methodologies, best funding options, amongst other aspects that will allow us to make viable project designs, that take into account the specific characteristics of Lobitos and create “shared value” amongst the stakeholders that coexist in the area.

From the moment we moved into the locality, in July 2014, this initial analysis has been enriched with the ethnographic experience gained through the direct and regular interaction with the general population. New information has been gathered through our workshops, meetings, fishing trips, events and daily conversations that help us get closer into fully understanding the political, social and economical viability of our projects.

We are looking for volunteers who can continue with this qualitative research and continue with its constant actualization (through interviews, data processing and analysis), hand in hand with the Lobitos team and Dr. Jennifer Hazelton. This research is intended for publishing through the Newcastle Institute for Sustainability.

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