Community Life Competence Training Guyana... day 1

Today saw the beginning of the another Community Life Competence (CLC) training in Guyana. it brought back memories of my training in February of last year. I remember trying to have an open mind yet curious to know what the training was all about. From listening to participants expectation I could have sensed that a lot of them felt the same way i would have felt on the first day of my training. 

As participants came in today, signed registration sheet, collected their training packages they were greeted by Korey who kept them occupied by chatting with them about the CLP process and their expectations. Sometimes as facilitators we fail to connect with training participants at this critical stage.We forget that sometimes participants may not be familiar with each other and this can sometimes make people feel uncomfortable. Having Korey chatting with them as a facilitator and made them feel more comfortable and created an environment where persons began to settle into the training environment. This proved very useful for by the time we were ready to start persons were comfortably chatting with each other and were eagerly waiting on the formal opening of the training.


The Training was formally called to order by Constellation Coach Autry, who in his usual jovial way introduced UNAIDS country coordinator Ruben Del Prado welcomed participants on behalf of UNAIDS and sharing on why the organisation supports the process. Ruben also shared on the vision of Guyana Community Life Competence which contains the elements of  effecting change by empowering minds, through working to creating competent communities and improved quality of life; identifying and building on strengths promoting community ownership and fostering partnership at local levels to address challenges. He stressed that " all of us in the room will contribute to accomplish this dream" Our ways of working and ways of thinking will ensure  that we accomplish the vision.

Tricia took over the floor and introduced herself by letting participants know "this is the face to the voice" i liked that little statement, it says a lot.Tricia did  a lot of the initial contact with the participants via telephone. I think it works in that it sets the tone for what is going to happen next. It brings the connection to fore, lots of times people wants to connect with the physical. She continued by having persons introduce themselves by saying their names and associating themselves with a fruit. As usual this brought out smiles and laughter from the participants and facilitators. Michael then took over and had the group come up with some ground rules by which the training will guided.

Autry took over an gave an introduction to the SALT process, what it is, how it is done, how we can be involved and how it has been working for us. He then proceeded by doing the "Are you human?" excercise, this question really brought out the "human connection". i believe it sets the foundation for everything that follows. for constantly you will hear participants referring to it. Autry then continued by having participants writing their hopes and concerns on heart shaped paper which were then shared with the group and pasted in a big heart on the wall. Autry also took the opportunity to have persons placed in groups with with the names of fruits, these groups were asked to select photos on a table and look for strengths in those pictures. This I think begins the process of having person changing their ways of thinking. People usually  looks for weaknesses but this makes them look for strengths.

There was a short break

A video prepared by the constellation was shown after which a skype Connection was started with Gaston. Who spoke about the Constellation and also the Blended Learning programme. The discussions that followed was moderated by Michael. I always believe that we should use to our advantage the tools that are available to us; this use of technology I think only demonstrates that we can use several ways of working. The interaction attained during the discussion I think was truly beneficial for it helped participants to appreciate where the process would have come from.


The afternoon saw participants Colleen and Korey with Support from Tricia, building the dream with the group. It started with an individual dream after which they were placed into three groups to come up with a group dream and illustrate that dream by drawing their ideal communities on a flipchart. There was lots of fun during this activity, persons were laughing heartily while drawing their dreams. There was full participation of all group members (fullticipation). Groups were then given the opportunity to present their illustration of their dream to the rest of the group. Participants really enjoyed doing this. After all would have finished presenting the group then worked on drawing a community dream using aspects from the group dreams. This was completed with participants all contributing to what the dream community looks like. This was presented to all.

Ruben and Michael with support from Korey discussed what it was to do an after action review. The opportunity was also used to do an after action review with the group. Participants reflected on the days activities and were all happy with the way things went. Persons thought that the process was one which they can apply to their communities while some persons felt that they were already doing some aspects of the process in their work.

The days activities ended on a high note...Can't wait for tomorrow!!!!!!

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Comment by Gaston on October 10, 2011 at 3:09pm

Thanks for posting Michael. I had some turbulent weeks and only now take time to read fully these blogs. What I learnt from you here: 

- The introduction connections by one facilitator like Korey. Great idea; 

- Using the pictures exercise to simply draw out strengths. So simple, but effective. A nice alternative to drawing out key strengths such as hope, care, community, change etc. 

- The co-facilitation of the partner, in this case UNAIDS, is great. I do think that the fact that Ruben and his team are really engaged (well beyond funding this) is a key success factor. 

OK, now I'll read day 2 ;)

Comment by Marissa Massiah on September 22, 2011 at 7:45am
Hi Michael, Korey, Tricia, Autry and Ruben,
I'm posting after Day 2 of training as I prepare to facilitate part of the tomorrow's session. I like the fact that it is the 'community' that generates their collective vision from a position of strength. This way facilitators don't force the community's view to fit a prefigured metric, but everything that is discussed comes out of their core, consensus strengths first, needs second and finally leading towards developing ownership centric proactive solutions.
Our facilitators are redefining what it means to facilitate!
I'm looking forward to transferring and ignighting this similar passion to the community I will interact with.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on September 21, 2011 at 7:51pm
Thanks for your interstingly written report. I enjoyed it very much.That too within hours of the event I appreciate how you have used technology to connect and share. This is an .inspiration to me..
Comment by Marlou on September 21, 2011 at 7:41pm
Thanks Michael for this sharing, what a beautiful team you have there.


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