The Targeted Population for Social Change

The population targeted for social change in the Mai Hich CBT project comprised the local tourism entrepreneurs and the local community. This population contributed valuable local situated knowledge (which eventually shapes the goals and designs of tourism interventions) and included information relating to: (1) the diverse causes of local issues (e.g., local poverty), (2) the local resources available, and (3) current livelihoods and needs. Moreover, one of the key criteria when developing CBT is to ensure its activities are well-integrated into, and complement the targeted population’s current livelihoods. Yet despite being the key actors around which the whole innovation initiative is built, the role of the targeted population is often overlooked during phase 2—the development of interventions. In the case of Mai Hich CBT, instead of viewing the community simply as ‘beneficiaries’ or a ‘social problem’ that needs to be resolved, the tourism social entrepreneur (i.e., Mr. Duong) understood their strengths and needs: “All the people I have worked with helped me to realize one thing; they have more than enough enthusiasm and plenty of diligence, but they only fail due to a lack of expertise. And this expertise can be trained” (personal communication, 2015). This knowledge led to the design of vocational hands-on training with tourism experts that replaced ineffective formal tourism workshops during the implementation phase.

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