Le kilo

The 500-page French-language instruction manual for our leadership program is called ‘le kilo’ here in Cote d’Ivoire. It was a comment I believe I made three years ago when we started and I apologized for the hefty tome that we handed out to the would-be facilitators. We laughed about it. Now it has become simply a reference to the instruction guide; people use it with a straight face, no longer a joke, just a word for a thing. I had to laugh when, during the practicum, someone said, they didn’t use their ‘kilo.’ An outsider would not  understand what this referred  to.  One of the slogans in my current coaching course is ‘Words mean worlds.’ Indeed.

We had a full day of practicum sessions yesterday. Because the group is so large we have split in two. I am observing one region in one room and my counterpart is observing the other region in the room with the race track table.

The two regions are represented by, respectively, 8 and 6 district teams. The plan is that these district representatives, who are themselves participants in regional leadership training that is far advanced, take the program one level down. After this training each district team will conduct the leadership development program in their districts, much like the ones we observed last week in western Cote d’Ivoire.

The practice sessions I observed took place in a small room with four air conditioners that did not work very well. It was hot and humid, and in the afternoon, when the hot sun tried to get through the curtains and everyone was busy digesting a heavy lunch, the teams struggled. But this is the reality they will be operating in when they go back: seeing the participants in the program they will lead after lunch in rooms that won’t be as fancy as this one, which by the way is not all that fancy.

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March 2017
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