At our last workshop in Bolgatanga, Ghana one of the participants, the regional head of office of the Red Cross, walked up to me with a beaming smile on his face: “Eva, the thing you taught us last time you where here [meaning: Net-Map], we are now using it with our community groups! It’s working very well!”
We didn’t have much time to go into further detail but he had made me happy. I had been convinced before but he was running proof: This is so simple and so useful, that any halfway interested layperson can learn how to draw Net-Maps in half a day and start understanding his or her complex work environment better.
Sure, I don’t know how exactly he is using it, if he exploits the method to it’s full potential and without misunderstanding. And, sure as well, to be able to structure a more comprehensive network learning approach or to develop a bigger net-map study, you have to put in more thinking and background knowledge into it.
But even though some of my colleagues caution me and advise me to make it sound more difficult, so as to make sure that people don’t “steal” the idea… I would rather want to encourage people to just take it and run with it. When I started pushing Net-Map beyond my own project, a good friend in Ghana said: “If you want this idea to grow really big, you need champions for it. One person can only do so much. But if you find a lot of people all over the world, who get excited about this, it can become much bigger than you are.”
So, my colleagues in Bolgatanga, Ghana will agree: This is no rocket science. It’s powerful because it’s simple. If you have tried it out and want to tell us about your Net-Map experience, the way you have adapted it for your use, the local materials you used, your challenges and unexpected outcomes, please contact me to write a guest post (short) or case study (longer). If you want to try it but are not quite sure if you are on the right track, contact me and we’ll discuss.