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Where Are You in Your Constituents Circle of Trust?

By Wayan Vota on June 28, 2018

circle of trust farmers

We all have varying circles of trust. We have people close to use that we trust completely, like a spouse or a parent, and we will do what they say even if we don’t know why, or doubt the validity of the action.

Next, we have close friends and relatives that we trust, but a little less so. We may question their comment or request, though we still generally believe they have our best interests in mind. Then government entities and the press, then less close friends and neighbours, and then maybe general community and society members.

Where is your voice in your constituent’s life?

You may have an awesome project, with scientifically proven actions your constitutions should take. Yet where does your local representative sit within your constituents’ circle of trust?

Is the teacher, community health worker, or agricultural extension agent in the first, second, or third circle of trust? Do your constituents know and trust them (and you) enough that your SMS text, WhatsApp message, or Facebook Group conversation even makes it into the first three circles?

Or is your messaging lost in the background chatter of life, regardless of your evidence base?

The Telenor Pakistan experience

I thought of this question while listening to Habib Saqib of Telenor Pakistan speak about reaching the circles of trust of his constituents at ICTforAg. He understood that farmers, like all of us, have circles of trust, and that he needed to get his program’s messengers and messages into farmers’ inner circles.

That’s why he is engaging with lead farmers in each community to persuade their smallholder farmer friends to adopt the Connected Agriculture Punjab Package. He’s backing up those lead farmers with additional messaging and communications, but unlike many programs I’ve seen, he’s not assuming one text message (or even a few) will change farmer behavior.

Technology is amazing, but it’s the human connection that changes lives.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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One Comment to “Where Are You in Your Constituents Circle of Trust?”

  1. Laurie says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful blog. There is a hot topic now in development that anthropologists have always looked at: how our constituents/participants/formerly ‘beneficiaries’ regard us. I don’t think many of us in global health actually know that answer.

    We try to work with more trusted people by community members, but communities are not monolithic entities; they are often snake pits of competing interests, inter- and intra-familial disagreements, structural inequalities. So one group’s trusted communicator may be another’s loathsome neighbor.

    And then there is the whole business of development and how our constituents view them and us. The decision-makers, even if not from another country, are from another social class and often from a different part of the country. You have raised a very important issue. Thanks!