Human perception of reality is mediated through assumptions, beliefs, and mental habits, most of which are products of our culture. Typically, this does not present a problem until we find ourselves trying to function in an unfamiliar environment. Thus, Northern facilitators trying to function in an unfamiliar environment in Southern contexts report that their greatest challenges are not technical, but cultural. This presentation introduces basic tools of social science, and encourages participants to apply these tools to improve the outcome of development facilitation in unfamiliar contexts.
Dr. Joel Matthews
Dr. Joel Matthews worked for ten years with SIM international in Niger (West Africa), running an integrated development program for indigenous farmers and three years teaching community development and appropriate technology at Daystar university in Kenya. Joel’s PhD focused on indigenous agricultural innovation in West Africa, and his research interests include, anthropology, agroforestry, African language and culture, and appropriate technology. Dr. Matthews currently teaches engineering technology at Diablo Valley College, California.