Mapping helps to research about different places. It allows us to seek and develop the links among different knowledge of the maps. It makes us track and extract different data within certain areas which can be utilized in different fields.
Similarly, research helps us to build ideas and concepts of different subjects. Research allows us to observe new things which will challenge existing theories. I observe different people, places they live in, and their interactions. This makes me knowledgeable about local businesses, how they handle their problem, and how to find solutions. So, mapping and research go hand-in-hand. With the help of Maps, I can locate different places and with research I can explore and identify opportunities in those places. I implied this learning during my recent expedition to Makawanpur as a part of Kathmandu Living Lab’s (KLL) ‘Community Asset Mapping Project’.
I started mapping from Chitlang, Markhu, Tistung and Palung, where I was able to know more about local people, the way they worked, and effort they put behind their works. I made some questionnaires to get some ideas and knowledge about their local stores and how they are handling on a daily basis. The questionnaires’ format was:
- Name of the owner
- Yearly sales
- Customer per day
- Do foreigners visit or not?
- Do the locals sell vegetable or not?
With the help of above questionnaires, I went on a survey to gather people’s perspectives. Every people of those places had their own individual experiences and knowledge about their stores. I asked about their daily market challenges – establishment issues and their thoughts on how to overcome such barriers. I got to know about the type of brand products they sell and the type products that customers prefer more. It turned out they mainly sold vegetables. Through their sales behavior, it helped me to know average income of their stores and how much expense, per person, they spend in buying products. I also knew about the kinds of products which they sell more in volume and their customers’ visits per day.
Because of the survey, now, the shop owners will be benefited because they will have more knowledge about what kind of products the customers prefer more. Regarding this, owners will be clearer about customer desires. It is important for shop owners to know more about customer service and to know more about their community. This will help them to be more flexible towards customer and to be more knowledgeable about their products. Also, this will make store owners to be innovative and creative in their pursuit to attract more customers.
All in all, I had a great experience as I was able to discover and learn new things through the concept of mapping. It felt great to communicate with the locals of all four places and to know about their way doing business. Also, communicating with the people of villages allowed me to know about their lifestyles.