I don’t get it! So what?

Rationale/ Development

It is often difficult for students to understand how the small everyday tasks that are part of their international work-based placements fit within the bigger picture of community development. This is particularly the case for those students placed in office environments and might be involved in desk-based activities such as financial audits, preparing reports or painting walls. This very simple activity was co-created with Catherine Scerri from Bahay Tuluyan, a child rights organisation based in the Philippines. It aims to help students make sense of their own role within organisations and how their work fits within the organisation’s goals. The examples that follow, were supplied by a number of CoMC partner organisations and are for illustrative purposes only.

It is an activity recommended to be completed in-country. Students could complete this activity alone as a reflection task but will possibly find it more affective if they have the opportunity to work with a supervisor, student partner or as a student group.


30 minutes


Paper and pen


  1. Ask the student to identify a small task they have completed this week eg. Writing a promotional brochure, painting a wall etc. Write this task in the centre of the paper.
  2. They then ask the question, “So what?” (eg. What does this mean for the organisation? What happened as a result?) There will be multiple answers and each should be recorded on the paper, radiating from the original task.
  3. For each of these answers the student should ask again, “So what?”, recording the answers. Again, students should look for multiple answers and record these.
  4. The result should be a mind map of ‘so what’ questions and answers, that illustrates the complex impact of seemingly simple tasks.


Mapping activity – projects to goals

Example activities could include:

  • Preparing an annual report
  • Tutoring
  • Preparing a module
  • Conducting an audit

From Bahay Tuluyan, Philippines



From KOTO, Vietnam

Sometimes students who work in the finance team do not get the same ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling as those who work in the training centre and interact with KOTO trainees on a daily basis. As a result, these students sometimes feel that their contribution is not as valuable.

Task = Writing a post event evaluation

So what?

So we can run a better event next time

So what?

So we can attract further funding

So what?

So that we can ensure the
sustainability of the program

So we can pay for an extra trainee
to study

So what?

So what?

So what?

We are one step closer
to eliminating the cycle of poverty
in Vietnam

So that one more child is able to
gain the skills to get employment

So what?

We are one step closer
to eliminating the cycle of poverty
in Vietnam