Setting up a National Facilitation Team - seeking your experiences and insights

In your experience, what is the key to a successful National Facilitation Team (Country Team).

In particular:

- How do you go about setting one up?

- What kind of support is needed? (at the early stages / ongoing)

- What are the benefits of having a NFT or Country Team?

- What examples of success can you share that would inspire others who are looking at growing into a formal NFT?

- What are the challenges faced by NFT?

What are some useful presentations or reports in the Constellation and country teams which will shed more light on this?

Thank you!

Olivia

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Philippe and Marie Christine Swennen

We are members of Belcompetence and have been associated with the country team of Belgium since 2008.  We were the founding members of Belcompetence and it is our responsibility to contribute. Personally we believe that if we have been associated with an organization we must not only reap the benefits but also take on the responsibilities. We believe in the community life competence approach; its not work; it’s a pleasure we give our time and we receive a lot; it’s a win win situation; sometimes we have to do boring work but its part of managing an association.

-       How do you go about setting one up?

The team was set up in 2008 where some of us got together to form an association. We decided to register Belcompetence in 2011 so that we could take projects from other organisations like we got one from the Municipality

-       What kind of support is needed? (at the early stages / ongoing)

We have a Core team managing and supporting day-to-day working of Belcompetence like answering emails, supervising and coordinating the activities of Belcompetence; commitment among this core team is very important. The core team meets every month and includes Jean Louis Lamboray Mimi, we both, Louis Marie, Fabien, Jan, Nathalie, Maman N’sona, Ali. These meetings can consist of five and sometimes upto 20 people. Ali has recently become the coordinator of the Belcompetence support team. Other members continue activities within their communities. For example Refugees within their own community are applying the whole process of Community life competence.

Belief in CLC and practice of the approach is very important as it impacts us individually and also strengthens as members of Belcompetence.

Meeting every month listening to each other has also contributing to strengthening Belcompetence.

We had compiled a dream, practices  and self assessment with an action plan in 2010 which we self assessed and updated last week. One of the updated practices was the strengthening of our support team. We think Self assessment is very important.

 - What are the benefits of having a NFT or Country Team?

It is not easy to work alone and apply CLC. By having Belcompetence it strengths our behavior as we exchange and support each other. I find the association opens many doors of meeting interesting people of different cultures and learning from them. Its interesting to meet because you can exchange your ideas; reinforce the ideas for different activities; share your experiences and your dreams. Belgium is not very big like India. You are not dependent on skype. Its important to see different facilitators in real. its really like a friends meeting, its work meeting but they are more like friends; its also a pleasure. We don’t feel alone.

-       What examples of success can you share that would inspire others who are looking at growing into a formal NFT?

We are proud of Belcompetence’s work launched by Louis-Marie with asylum seekers in Belgium. We have used SALT approach to promote integration of asylum seekers within Belgium population. They are applying the whole cycle of Community life competence with impressive results.

We have worked other projects with other communities like municipalities, schools, enterprises, e.a.

- What are the challenges faced by NFT?

We think learning from other countries is very important. In Belcompetence what we are missing is what is going in different countries in Europe, Sorry but we both are not active member of Ning. Global learning Festival in India was a great idea and so is the Festival in DRC in Sep. We are planning a local festival in Belgium in March to learn from each other among each other. Another challenge, included in one of our priorities is to spread in the Flemish part of Belgium, where Jan is coming from. We have also to manage the tension we have between Belcompetence remaining like we are, meaning spreading the SALT approach through Belcompetence in a smooth way, and trying to grow in a more “professional” way, meaning having a more proactive “spreading approach” to get more “contracts” with communities and organisations qwithout three years self assessment. But we don ‘t have to rush, the most important thing is to keep the SALT “attitude” among our Belcompetence community.

 

 

Hi Philippe and Marie Christine,

What a great response! So informative and useful for others who may wish to learn from BelCompetence. I'm really interested in the fact that you started from the grass roots (i.e. individuals and families chose to come together to form an association) but eventually you decided to register formally. What difference did registration make to the group? What new opportunities did it open for you, if any?

Another point that has really resonated with me is: "It is not easy to work alone and apply CLC. By having Belcompetence it strengths our behavior as we exchange and support each other." I too have learned that Face To Face is really important for motivation and support in CLCP. It is a human journey, about human connection, and therefore we need to connect regularly to build that combined energy. Belcompetence seem to do this so well. I can see it helps that you have proximity and transport easily to come together monthly. Nevertheless, I take a lesson-learned here - regular face to face is something to aim for.

The challenges you face are very interesting, especially the challenge to balance a smooth natural spread of SALT against the more "professional" and deliberate spread. We also faced this tension in the Constellation GST. In my role of Transfer Facilitation I became very aware of the potential danger of "selling" our approach, or turning it into a commodity. However, over time, I began to see that we were not doing this, but instead we were responding to invitations, simply formalising them through contractual agreements. This was how we protected ourselves financially, which is why we have remained financially self-sustaining. Our marketing was simply by sharing with passion and demonstrating our commitment - ultimately, living SALT.

I wonder if other teams have had similar conversations???

Olivia

India Competence is a network of organisations with a strong belief in community strengths and committed to the spread of Community Life Competence Process. The network is characterised by a non-hierarchical structure with a yearly rotating host organization starting with SIAAP and aims to (i) go to scale with the approach, (ii) adapt it to help communities respond to their key issues, (iii) coordinate the facilitation of local responses nationally (iv) influence national policy in support of local responses and (v) facilitate ongoing learning.

1.  How do you go about setting one up?

Asian Development Bank in a partnership with Constellation supported the capacity building of NGOs on community life competence process (2007-2009). Constellation introduced CLC in six countries of Asia including India.

 

Over the two years, some facilitators in India in this process of collective learning and interactions developed a close bond. We felt that if we got another year of funding we could build a national team, strengthen CLC in our work and transfer it to others. Thereafter, ADB extended the project and provided a small funding for some activities. We did a planning meeting and Knowledge fair. This also made us think about administrative issues. Siaap one of the partner NGOs came forward to act as the host agency for our team, which we named India competence.

 

Should we register India competence?

After a lot of deliberation we decided not to register but remain as a loosely knitted group of people. We did not want to set up a parallel NGO competing for projects.

 

2. What kind of support is needed? (at the early stages / ongoing)

Presence of a core team of committed people in the country was the main factor in nurturing community life competence in India. Support from the Constellation played a big role in nurturing India competence. Chair of the Constellation has visited us and met several stakeholders. Care, Share, Learn and Transfer facilitators provided us virtual support like in writing proposals, connecting us with other teams etc.

 

3. What are the benefits of having a NFT or Country Team?

Having a country team is essential if we are looking for sustainability of the approach.  I would like to highlight shared leadership as an essential element in this as team mates take up leadership roles at different times.  A team is required as CLC is not a traditional approach and when we have team mates it helps us to remain on track! Also if we want to learn from each other within the team and with other country teams a country team plays a big part. For instance Philippines team invited us to virtually join Knowledge fair and three members from India competence joined the  skype meeting.

4. What examples of success can you share that would inspire others who are looking at growing into a formal NFT?

As I look back I think we have done some good work.

(a) We got funding from UNAIDS India for a nine month project in one of the NGOs in Northeast. This further build the capacity of the NGOs which transferred the approach to many communities and issues like HIV, disabilitiy, drug use and truckers.

(b) India competence is active on Constellation’s online community and you will find many blogs, photos and videos by the team members.

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/little-drops-of-knowl...

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/video/how-acp-changed-my-life?commen...

 

We have used it in our own work in training counsellors, mental health and evaluation.

In other partner NGOs, we have used it for building the capacity of communities like sex workers and MSM.

 

(c) We also worked with CARE India in two projects one was for strengthening of 10 Community based organisations of sex workers. The second one  is Emphasis project a cross border migration project on HIV.

CARE EMPHASIS

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/photo/carenarisakshamindia-448?conte...

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/salt-visits-and-aar-i...

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/from-inter

 

(d) Connecting communities virtually

We have tried to connect communities living different regions through Skype

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/2028109:BlogPost:117253

 

(e) International connections and participation

 

Participation in Chiangmai KF

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/my-experience-at-the-...

India competence and Kenya competence had more than a year long virtual dialogue on HIV and truck drivers . Both the teams learned from each other, practised in the field and adapted their response.

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/group/indiakenyalearningtogether

 

Community action day

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/salt-ed?xg_source=act...

 

International SALT visit Karnataka

With Ngo partner Samraksha India competence hosted International SALT visits

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/an-inspiring-story-of-a

Global Learning Festival

We hosted the Global Learning Festival where 150 people participated from all over the world.http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-taste-of-community

 

- What are the challenges faced by NFT?

In India the members are spread all over the country and collective face-to-face meetings are rare. We use virtual means to remain connected. Everyone is busy in  his or her own work and we are not able to devote much time for transfer of the approach.

What is our dream for 2020?

http://aidscompetence.ning.com/profiles/blogs/dream-india-competence

 

Dear Rituu,

The write up on India Competence is so well done, that I am sure it is impossible to do better, and still be brief, and interesting to read till the end. If it inspires any other country to follow the India example or learn something from your write up, the sharing has been worth it.

Kudos once again!

Rafique 

Dear Rituu,
I do share the comments of Mohammed. Really impressive what India Competence and is. Thanks for sharing IT.
Chers
Philippe

Rituu! What a brilliant write-up and a great picture! I know you put a link to the dream in your blog but I just want to highlight it here too:

"Our dream is that by the year 2020 community life competence approach has spread all over India- geographically in all parts of India, at least in five thematic areas, and among different professionals working at various levels. We will work towards scaling up the approach especially in North India. We see India Competence as a key facilitator in communities emerging as self-motivated and self-helped groups, with their own success stories to share with the global communities at every Global Learning Festival and Constellation Meet."

As I read each of these posts it occurs to me that each NFT is so different. Like India Competence is not registered, and has little opportunity for Face to Face, but yet you have so much activity! It really shows the power of online tools for sharing and learning - and how well you all use them.

Working with a host organisation like SIIAP - how does this work? What kind of support do they provide? Do they have dedicated staff who regularly connect with India competence? What do you think is their motivation for supporting you?

I'm so proud to be part of a network like the Constellation! All these National Facilitation Teams - wonderful examples of collective action!

Thanks Rituu,

Olivia

Rituu you are the one who put things together if anyone read on this i hope they could see the movement of our team among it. Great one.

Joma

Hi Olivia, thank you for this topic. It will help me to organize available facilitators in a real NFT in Burundi.

Facilitators and coaches we work with in Burundi are from opportunities of training thanks to short partnerships. Here I name a regional project in 5 countries (GLIA) and Solidarité Protestante working with faith based organizations in 5 countries, too. When there is no project demanding facilitators, the challenge is to keep these facilitators in a team working on sharing, Learning and transfer. Another challenge is access to Internet for some who may wish to be active.

I am representing a national organization committed to use CLCP and we are then trying to stimulate Burundi competence to be effective. My wife, my sister and 10 volunteers are helping me to keep former facilitators connected.

I would like Burundi competence to be outstanding to facilitate youth compétences on different challenges beyond HIV and AIDS (youth employment/entrepreneurship, gender Based Violence issues). So the challenge is to have all facilitators and coaches dream with me.

Volunteers and I are doing our best to strengthern our team and will be able to share our results soon. Meanwhile we will take advantage from expériences shared on this space.

Thanks again for this continuous sharing efforts.

 

Eric     

Eric! How wonderful to hear your dream.... and no doubt many others would like to dream with you. But I can see that the challenge is mobilising those people and getting them together (either face to face or online).

Calling out to those reading - Who would like to share their experience to help Eric?

Olivia

Now I want to share, not what we did but what we have just began to do. Volunteers and I are doing SALT visits in youth centres. We take days of sharing reports on studdies and surveys I realised as consultant and discuss about our personnal feelings on communities' strenghts raised in my reports and what can be done to stimulate the communities'efforts.

The second phase will be to ask two or more ancient coaches come and share their own expériences, not as coach training but as a human being facing challenges and how he lives them as a coach.

After that, we think to ask volunteers what they dream to undertake as independant persons, what they think they would like others would learn from them, what préoccupations they hope other members of the team can help, etc.

Then I hope to facilitate linking with local support: NGO, UN agencies and national associations with opportunities to facilitate. I am now doing a research for the feasibility of a youth project in peace, employment and democracy and hope to connect my partner with many youth organizations from which we may train many facilitators. A support from the Global Support Team may be needed I hope.

Best regards,

Eric 

Hi Eric,

There is an active group called Youth Competence on NING who all have experience facilitating CLCP on youth issues in their own communities. Have you seen this group? Perhaps you could meet with them online to discuss some possible ways forward.

Good luck!

Olivia

Thank you Olivia, I know the group and appreciate visiting the page. But this time I hope to participate with clear questions.

About the NFT, the challenge as you understood is to mobilize facilitators to learn and share face to face or on our ning page.

But volunteers and I are trying to stimulate them for Learning and sharing sesions. I will be working with many youth associations and youth centres these coming 6 months and hope it to be opportunity to improve communication.

Thanks again.

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