projects, facilitation

Workshop weather - facilitation innovation

Can you tell me weather at the workshop? Not outside the room. Inside the room.  

This was the challenge that I gave to participants in a workshop that I facilitated last week.  The workshop was in Holland with participants from the Caribbean, Pacific, and west, central, east and southern Africa. The workshop was designed to discuss international development projects that actually work to reduce climate change (thus the weather forecasts). 

Part of the work that we do at Danaqa (consultancy) is to help with the facilitation of processes that involve different people, in different contexts who have similar aims linked to reducing poverty.  

We  have very real experiences in helping to break down these barriers of communication and enjoy the challenge of helping others to do this to.  We are used to using different communication tools, exercises and processes to interact with our partners, suppliers and buyers.  Using these experiences (with some training from our "old" careers!) means we have a good understanding of the perspectives of different people from different contexts, and how to ensure that constructive conversations and learning can happen and outcomes can occur.  

When this works properly it can be a wonderful thing.  The workshop in Holland (hosted by CTA) involved a peer review process (constructive criticism) that had the potential to be very sensitive.  The chance for conflict, awkward moments and failing to achieve the wider goal were high. Our weather forecasts predicted low pressure and storms at times, and reflected on sunny spells with strong wind at others!  We learnt that in Zambia you either "have weather" (it is sunny) or there is "no weather". We heard from a climatologist from the Pacific, and an agro-forestry expert from Cameroon. Barriers were broken down. The weather was good.