Our work is grounded in six operating principles:
Encouraging “learning by doing”
Promoting accountability and transparency
Supporting collaboration, partnerships, and inclusion
Triple bottom line
Balancing environmental, social and financial outcomes
Building on existing skills, experience and resources
Optimizing the use of resources
Reflecting on our years of experience as facilitators, researchers and evaluators, we offer the following as a description of our approach as a process of collaborative or reciprocal storytelling:
Everything is stories.
We approach participatory action research as a process of story gathering, and collaborative story creation. We create spaces and ways for people to tell their own stories, to find an audience, and to change their stories in connection and solidarity with their peers and fellow travellers. We strive to find and elevate stories to answer the questions that our society asks itself.
A question is the start of a new story.
From shared questions, we can find the story that suits the problem. Usually there is more than one question we need to answer to get at a final one, but then of course questions and stories together have a habit of multiplying. In this way, stories and questions are an ancient renewable resource for sustainable livelihoods.
We are not the story.
We focus on eliciting, documenting, and mobilizing the stories of our co-participants. We aspire to be experts in the processes of community and collective story-building, not simple extractors and cataloguers of numbers. While numbers can tell powerful stories, they are meaningless without the stories built around them.
People are not numbers.
This is one story we want to elevate, and tell through our work: numbers cannot stand in completely for people or their stories. Yet our culture often asks numbers to tell us things about people. Numbers can help answer questions, but without their own true context of story they can quickly become nonsense, or worse, used in ways that silence, alienate or confuse each other. We seek answers in people’s stories and the numbers both together as a way of building trust, and sharing the truth.
Stories set you free.
This is why we do the work we do: so people seeking freedom can tell their story, and that story can open more doors in their lives. We work with our partners to create a future with more self-determined stories of change and freedom.
Our method is one of collaboration, striving at all points to ensure effective communications and the broadest possible stakeholder engagement. We have particular interest in rural economic development and issues facing women. In addition to numerous ongoing economic and policy development engagements, Eko Nomos’ work most recently has focused on issues of rural food security, ending violence against women, and the urban immigrant experience.
Eko Nomos brings a consultative and collaborative approach to every project. As researchers, facilitators, and collaborators we work to guide processes, build capacity, facilitate stakeholder involvement, and offer timely, strategic advice.