Things to consider in scheduling a meeting

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Things to consider in scheduling a meeting --Chris C. 09:31, 15 November 2007 (EST)

I was reading a journal I wrote while in Somalia about my Peace Corp experience in Ikot Ekpene. I forgot about all those little things that went into something as simple as fixing a day for the next community meeting. The Rural Development Officer, in charge of Ikot Ekpene Division (me) probably scheduled 10 to 20 community meetings a month.

  • Basic 101, when were the major and minor markets for the area being held (cross those days off)
    • The Effics/Ibbibios and Annangs used an 8 day week, refered to as the market week. Usually a clan would have or attend a major market on one of those days. There might be a smaller market on another day.
    • Best practice was to note next to the meeting in my calendar, the day of the market week.
    • In the division, there were probably 12 major markets. 1 or 2 of those markets would impact a specific village or clan (group of villages).
  • Were there religious events going on?
    • For example, in my area "Ekpo" might be out and about collecting gifts. In some places and times this was very serious business
    • An important person might be putting on a "second burial" to honor a specific ancestor
    • Don't forget church holidays, or official government holidays
  • Where were the Tax collectors going to be in the division?
    • Revenue agents would sweep an area making sure everyone had paid their head tax. This could be very distruptive.
    • My Divisional Officer gave me a general idea where collectors would be if they were out.
    • Sometimes I canceled meetings or changed the dates. I never told the village why.
  • Were their security issues?
    • There was always talk of bandits. Some villages would put up roadblocks at night with different societies being guards. Usually this was not an issue in the daytime.
    • Sometimes there might be a dispute being brought before the local district court
  • When were the community work days?
    • For example, at certain times of the year Oil Palm fruits would be harvested by the village from all trees regardless of individual ownership. Sort of a property tax that supported the school and other community projects.
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