HUNDEE field staff found that they deeper the probed, the more assets the community uncovered - physical assets such as the school and church; traditions like revolving savings and credit schemes and support systems through death and birth; individual skills such as terracing and, crop rotation and strong leadership; linkages with outside institutions like agricultural extension officers that could invest in community activities if requested; and more - all of which, if combined and mobilized, could contribute to improving the community in ways they considered important. Maybe this community wasn't so poor after all?
So after spending a few days mapping out all of the assets in the community - and discussing possibilities instead of problems - the community came up with an action plan:
They wanted to improve the fertility of the land and reduce reliance on expensive chemical fertilizers, so they approached government extension officers and asked for training on pit composting. This has led to improved yields, more productive land and increased household savings. One community member explained how using locally available resources has allowed him to be more in control of his own livelihood: "As commercial fertilizers are purchased from abroad, we have always lived in fear about its sustainable supply and stable price. Compost is our own property so we are not affected by price changes."