“Remember, Unite, Renew”: A Preliminary Situation Analysis of Nyamata, Rwanda
Dr. Dennis Feaster
Hope College has had a presence in the community of Nyamata, Bugesera, Rwanda (Nyamata) since 2008, and the student organization, BeHope Rwanda Project (BeHope), has been a significant point of connection between Hope College and Nyamata. This preliminary situation analysis was designed to provide the opportunity for members of Nyamata’s community to have their voices heard with regard to future engagement with Hope College in order to support Hope’s efforts to better align with community-identified needs, preferences, and practices. This project was a qualitative, exploratory investigation of Nyamata, Rwanda and the surrounding area. In this project, students from BeHope investigated community members’ perspectives regarding Nyamata’s strengths, needs, opportunities, trends, and resources, as well as the role of Hope College in their community. The research team used open and axial coding to identify key themes in members’ responses. The organizing theme was identified as surviving vs. thriving over time: community/social factors that related to the idea of “surviving” were especially characteristic of the pastpresent, while “thriving” responses expressed desired/intended changes that are either presently occurring in an early stage or are hoped for at some point in the future. Suggestions for future engagement between Hope College and Nyamata, Rwanda include: expanding Hope College involvement in Rwanda (including conducting a full Situation Analysis); beginning to work more with the local government, as they have reliable information about the communities’ needs and they know what is important and urgent; and continuing to increase the partnership circle by giving the Hope community opportunities to get involved (e.g. Rwanda May Term) and by getting involved in the community at-large outside of NCV.
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