‘What do you do when a community you are working with refuses to provide you the data you are told to collect and the donor refuses to give aid without the data?’
This is not a theoretical question, but rather a lived experience asked earnestly in a recent workshop. There is no template for this. No guide with 5 steps to follow. This makes true the cliche ‘being caught between a rock and a hard place’. However, in addition to rocks there are vulnerable, hurting people in the mix.
The answer can sound flippant, but it is not. The only way through is conversations involving mostly listening. And yes, some logic will be present, but mostly it will be emotion and power games. Expect this. And listen. These standoffs will also likely take a while to be resolved. Be patient.
Hard places are familiar to change makers. Uncomfortable, but familiar. Courageous patience and listening are the key skills helping the change maker find a way through.