Training for Transformation

Training programmes are rooted in the experience of the participants and their communities. Each one has plans or hopes of launching a new programme or new way of working to improve her community and work with those in need. Everyone shares her home situation with others, starting in two’s and four’s, then sharing the needs for new projects and the possibilities for improvement. In the larger group these can be written on a large mind-map.

Those with similar plans work together, considering how they want to develop their project and what is required. Their draft projects are presented to the larger group, with questions helping to improve at every step. Budgets are created once the details of the project are drafted.

This training grows out of local needs and works to transform that situation and to improve it. Participants are the specialists in their own communities; mutual inspiration helps to create project proposals that are realistic, clear and likely to succeed.

Working in small groups

Our method is simple

  • The context should be warm and welcoming.
  • There should be flexible spaces with room for small buzz groups, movement, role play during sessions.
  • There should also be space for participants to face one another on occasion as this can change the dynamics between delegates and bring additional value to sessions.
  • A range of materials should be on hand; paper in large rolls and some coloured paper, paints and pens, fun materials such as feathers, wool, ribbons, glitter, etc.
  • Sessions should build up from participants’ experiences and wishes, sharing in pairs, then small groups and finally all together to gain an overview. “Walkie-talkie” sharing, “life-line” drawings, “mind-maps” and SWOT charts are all tools that enable sharing.
  • Coordinators must gather the threads together by the end, bringing all the work of small groups and different issues together, so that everyone recognises the overall needs and responses and their part in a colourful tapestry.
  • Participants must all contribute and interact with one another; group work is vital. Through this, they get used to expressing their views about problems and possible solutions and showing situations verbally and visually, or through dramatic representation.
  • Facilitators are there to enable each person in the group to express ideas equally. Domineering behaviour must be prevented or unblocked, and shyness overcome with encouragement and respect.
  • Facilitators are part of the group and may share their particular experiences as well as any other member of the group.

Sometimes, facilitators may wish to control things and remove the openness and insecurity of relying so much on participants, however, plans that give a false sense of control are unlikely be as rooted or relevant to participants as those generated by them. It is hoped that participants ‘own’ the problems and solutions that are shared and that plans are made jointly in a participatory approach.

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