The service leadership mindset can push SEALNutters beyond the geographical boundaries of Southeast Asia. Kah Wei, a true say-yes-before-knowing-how spirits, proved just that.
This year, Kah Wei partnered with Youth Thinkers’ Society (YTS) to spearhead Mit Jyu in Nepal. The project seeks to apply design thinking in better understanding the needs and problems of the local community in Hayu village, where destruction from the earthquake in 2015 still takes a heavy toll on people’s daily life.
The Mit Jyu team (*)
Mit Jyu took place in two weeks, from 16-31 October: The team swung back and forth between the capital Kathmandu and Hayu village, learning design thinking together, then during the “empathize” stage, staying in the village to experience first-hand the villagers’ daily life with no electricity and limited access to water. The team interviewed all the households in the village for more insights, then going back to Kathmandu to work on their prototype and back to the village again to test their prototypes.
Prototype of market exchange idea (**)
After an enduring and persistent 2 weeks, the team showcased their prototypes (e.g. market exchange, homestay session) with Hayu villagers and were welcome with both enthusiasm and critical feedback. Mit Jyu shared with us two stories of 2 village members, a middle-aged man and a young girl, as examples of insights they collected from the field work throughout their design thinking process.
Still want to hear more about Mit Jyu? Kah Wei is here to share more about this unbeaten path she has just trekked through!
Kah Wei (left) discussing with her team member in a design thinking workshop (***)
What motivates you to organize Mit Jyu Project?
I had the thought to push SEALNet out of Southeast Asia, and also to collaborate with some very cool youth organizations out there to make impact together. I also wanted to test how design thinking could be used within a SEALNet project model.
What was the most daunting challenge throughout this project?
I had some challenges working with the partner organization throughout the two weeks. The person I was supposed to co-lead the project with was not there a lot of times and I ended up running the project on my own most of the time.
Another challenge was in facilitating all the the design thinking workshops, because it was also my first time doing it. It was a lot of learning by doing, but that was fun!
Can you share about one (most) memorable moment during 2 weeks in Nepal?
It would be on the day when we tested our prototypes with the villagers, because for me it’s was the moment where everything started coming together. We had the opportunity to also test our assumptions and the prototypes helped us dig deeper into the problems that the community was facing.
How does this project re-shape your perspective about SEALNet projects and/or SEALNet values as a whole?
I think many SEALNutters have thought about the SEALNet project model and the social impact it makes on the community. When I was a project member in 2012, I remembered I had my own doubts about whether we were using the community to achieve our own means. But, one thing that we need to remind ourselves is that we cannot expect to make sustainable impact in 2-weeks and solving a social problem is not an easy feat. Plus, we may not have much experiences or skills that can bring something valuable to the community.
Mit Jyu made me think about how we could channel what young people have – the energy and enthusiasm to do good, in an effective way. In this project, we channeled our energy into collecting information and data that is useful for the local organization, who would be working long-term with the community.
Any final take-away reflections you wanna share?
Before embarking on a project, we need to pick the right partner organization. After that, manage and align expectations to make sure both organisations are on the same page.
Thank you Kah Wei for very insightful sharing <3 Hope you will have another adventurous and eye-opening year with SEALNet!
(*) & (**): Kah Wei’s FB
(***): Mit Jyu FB Page