Maria’s story


What is co-creation? That was a concept I was not aware of. Of course, one would assume by the word itself that it entails “creating together”. I was very excited when I was invited to participate in this project. Straight away I felt “this is for me”, even when I didn’t understand or have experience in creating teaching and learning resources with organisations overseas. But the idea of “creating” curriculum and “in partnership” with community organisations in the developing world that work to make the world a better place couldn’t go wrong. And it didn’t.

Co-creation was a concept that sounded very exciting and innovative, but one that none of us really knew how it would work in practice. And I think that, as for myself, most of us were committed to the project because we felt something good should come out of it. The process of co-creating was messy indeed; firstly identifying areas of interest for particular modules, then discussing how we would retrieve knowledge from all involved –knowledge that included both concepts but also feelings and reflections—and finally, finding ways in which we could translate a range of worldviews into actual learning activities for future students and volunteers working in the developing world. I was amazed to see that it actually worked, and what made it work was the enthusiasm, commitment and honesty of all that were involved. We all shared a passion for teaching, mentoring and for doing something to make the world a better place; that shared passion is what I feel was the key ingredient to the success of the initiative. And I do believe the initiative was successful, not only because we did create quality resources together that reveal different views on the world and that challenge many of our presumptions about international development, but because all participants helped in generating an environment of collaboration, mutual understanding and cultural appreciation which is felt when I read the different activities that make up each module.

In the end, I realise that is what co-creation is for me, giving space for different ideas, striving to understand different histories, cultures and circumstances, laughing together, sharing and advocating for our commitment to social change.

The highlight moments in my journey were the games initiated by partners in Sydney and Sabah, which besides being a source of great entertainment, made me realise that doing things together is much more fun, much richer, and impactful, than doing them one-sided. Those games also showed me how much we all humans have in common, regardless of our histories, cultures or special abilities. My other highlight moments were trying to communicate with Narith which made me much more aware of the richness entailed in opening up spaces for those usually marginalised so that their contribution to society is accounted for.

I enjoyed every single moment and hope the modules will trigger the same feelings of accomplishment in those using them.