Pushing and letting go

The second week of our assignments showed us that transformations can happen in a very short time. We saw people grow in confidence in front of our eyes. Where someone was mousy and shy in the first week, by the end of the second week they stood up straight, projected their voice and confidently explained materials that were completely new to them only one week before. It shows one should never give up on people and judge them by their cover.

I knew this already because I had seen those transformations in Nepal, in Ghana, in Kenya, in Cote d’Ivoire, in Madagascar and now here. I see the same thing. It is kind of liberation from self-imposed judgements that include self-talk such as “I can’t” or “I am not good enough.”

My Kenyan colleague would hold extensive feedback session in the afternoon with those we had trained the week before. They’d sit in a circle and talk about what went well, what could be improved and what was not a good practice. The quality of the feedback the TOTs gave each other got better and better to the point that we had little to add.

We also noticed during the sessions that they began to support each other, and take action when the energy started to drop. They also started paying attention to people on phones and checking out FB during a session and redirected their attention. It was fabulous to see them do this, something that a week earlier they probably wouldn’t have dreamt of.  The newly minted facilitators started to take responsibility for whether people were learning or not.

After the daily feedback sessions the facilitators up for the next module (the next morning) would practice in front of their colleagues who provided some last minute feedback and encouragement. These sessions made a huge difference as we saw people rising to the challenge and doing better each time. If we were to put our own standards of facilitation at 100%, we felt that they had reached about 75%, just in one week.

While my Kenyan colleague W. was providing the news TOTs with feedback and support, I sat with the newcomers, the actual participants of the LDP, and improvised how to manage the quick sequence of modules that should have been delivered with 2 weeks intervals allowing for homework to be done at the workplace. This new, and less than ideal formula, tested our creativity.

What was testing it even more is that our client decided that completing the remaining 6 modules was not necessary. And so we are leaving without any clarity on how this program is going to be completed, if it is going to be completed at all. There is a time for pushing back and a time for letting go. We made our best effort and left a proposal but this is no longer in our hands.

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