Every day it is getting a bit hotter – we are moving into the rainy season here in the mountains and the humidity is mounting by the day. Air-conditioning is a great invention.

We have completed three of the five days of our training of trainers. The design I adapted from the previous TOT is working fairly well thanks to my foresight to make comments about what worked and what didn’t work. Still I am making adjustments as we go because this time our focus is a little less defined and this requires that we explore things in more depth. Last time our focus was given: increase the retention rate of people on antiretroviral therapy – a problem that has created sleepless night and much head ache at the top of the ‘pyramide sanitaire.’ In our previous program it was a tangible problem that was addressed successully.

Now the focus is intersectoral coordination with regard to Ebola and other epidemics – prevent, detect and treat, or “préparation et riposte” as they call it here. Coordination is a lot less tangible than HIV patient retention rates; some people think it is simply meetings but everyone knows that bodies around a table doesn’t necessarily make for good coordination. But something was done right here as Ebola never entered Cote d’Ivoire even at the height of the tragedy next door. I am trying to figure out what that ‘something right’ was.Today we are going to find out what good coordination means to the three regional teams that are represented here, and hope we can tap into that experience.

The team of experienced trainers is stepping up to the challenge as we bring on board a new cohort, with a few hiccups here and there. One hiccup that startled me was when the participants received their facilitator guide materials: 500 pages, a two hole puncher and a four hole binder. It was quite a sight seeing all these doctors punching all these pages with those punchers. It took 45 unplanned minutes. I have learned over the years to put plenty of padding in my time budget and so we could absorb this hiccup as well as those related to ‘la francophonie.’

The participants are slowly molding into teams – they’d better as they have a big job to do next week when we go ‘live,’ and start on Monday with three simultaneous alignment meeting in three frontier regions with Liberia and/or Guinea.

We will divide in three facilitation teams, consisting of a few experienced facilitators – the ones that already completed a successful leadership program in the eastern part of the country – and then the ones we are training right now.

As usual, since the training is experiential, there were countless ‘anxiety’ questions when we started on Monday. That mist is slowly lifting, and those not very engaged (what? another training?) are starting to get engaged. I am doing few sessions myself and coaching mostly from the sidelines. I am proud of the team that is so passionate about the work of leadership development.

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November 2015
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