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Shorter distances with virtual follow-up visits

The distances in the world have felt longer than usual during the pandemic. But they decreased when we recently brought Sida on virtual follow-up visits to our partners in the Amazon, Colombia, Ethiopia and Nepal.

Photo: Minesh Gurung. Meeting on a drinking water project in Mugum Karmarong Rural Municipality in Nepal.

The distances in the world have felt longer than usual during the pandemic. But they decreased slightly when we recently brought Sida on virtual follow-up visits to our partners in the Amazon, Colombia, Ethiopia and Nepal.

A couple of times a year Sida usually makes follow-up visits to countries where our member organisations cooperate with local partners. The visits are both about seeing how the business works on the ground and meeting the people who through the development work have the opportunity to create a better future for themselves and their society.

“These trips are often good opportunities to dig deeper to understand the conditions for, for example, the accompanying of human rights defenders in Colombia or the schooling of disabled people in Ethiopia,” says Miriam Mondragon.

Miriam Mondragon is an advisor for capacity development at SMC Faith in Development.

She has coordinated the visits together with the member organisations on the digital platform Fabo. Since the pandemic became a fact in March 2020, no follow-up trips have been possible, so it was a matter of finding a good form for travelling digitally.

Important that the visits became “for real”

“It was important to us that there would not be another Zoom meeting, but that we would really get a feel for the context of the different projects.

With the help of Fabo, all participants were able to prepare by accessing pictures of those who would participate as well as maps, films and summaries of the projects. The virtual visits then went smoothly from Colombia to the Amazon, Ethiopia and Nepal.

“It felt like we were getting close and our partners really appreciated being able to talk directly to us and Sida. It is important to show that we are listening, that their experiences and activities are important. Sida was also pleased with the visits and praised the thoughtful arrangement. There are guaranteed to be more virtual visits in the future – not least for climate reasons – although we can’t wait to meet for real,” says Miriam Mondragon.

Learn more about virtual follow-up visits