Gruber, Meaghan, Class of 2014 – (Barre, MA, United States)

Practicum Summary:

Community Voice in a Multi-Stakeholder Decision Making Process for a Proposed Health Clinic Project in Horminguero, Siuna, Nicaragua

Meaghan’s study focused on the community of Hormiguero in Siuna, Nicaragua and examined the local Collaborative Health Care Clinic Casa Materna’s role in complex multi-stakeholder processes. Through various tools such as observations, consultations, semi-structured interviews, Meaghan analyzed the participation of stakeholders that live in the USA, Siuna, and the community of Hormiguero. She found that although stakeholders with power, such as NGOs, government officials, and businesses, may consult communities on their needs, these organizations who have funding and therefore power, often fail to involve community members in decision-making processes. Meaghan points out that communities are best positioned to determine how their community functions or does not function, their history, and how to achieve goals together. In her conclusion, Meaghan discusses the importance of the three-way partnership and the interplay of different sets of power characteristics that each player contributes to the success of a project, and how these partners can better serve the needs of the community through effective collaboration.