As part of the requirements for the M.Sc. program in Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph, Stephanie Patzer is conducting a research project with TECHO Honduras, with support from Cuso International. TECHO is an NGO, present in 19 countries in Latin America, that seeks to overcome poverty through the collective action of youth volunteers and the residents of informal settlements, executing programs and projects that enable community development. The focus of this research project is the participatory planning and development mechanism that the organization has developed, called mesa de trabajo. TECHO’s mesas de trabajo are working groups that consist of community members of informal settlements and youth volunteers who collaborate on identifying, prioritizing and resolving problems that act as barriers to overcoming poverty and low quality of life. TECHO’s mesa de trabajo model is the cornerstone of the work that TECHO does and reflects a facilitative and participatory approach to community development.

The objective of the research project is to complete a case study of two of the mesas de trabajo that TECHO Honduras has developed in two very different communities in rural and peri-urban areas. The results of the case study will highlight the way in which TECHO’s mesa de trabajo model can accommodate communities that are either already active in community development initiatives and those that are not. In addition, the study will contribute to further improving their methodology for facilitating community development as well as identify lessons learned from their current practices. This project will support the institutional reflective learning process of TECHO, particularly its operations in Honduras.

Further information can be found at