Capacity Development for starters & volunteers 1 & 2 september 2008

This training was like a hot vegetable soup! A clear training; it helps you to come step-by-step towards a workplan! Very practical! Sometimes the course was like a heavy meal, but it was very interesting!

These were some of the comments from 6 starters and volunteers who will be working through Togetthere (an organisation linked to ICCO ) which sends out volunteers and starters for a period of 5 - 10 months in a development country. Main topics of the training were: How to make a workplan when you are going to work for a development organisation in the South? How can I contribute towards strengthening the local capacity? and how to deal with cultural but also workrelated dilemma's when I work there?

On the first day Simon Koolwijk took the participants through the steps of problem, goal formulation and assisted the participants in planning their outputs (accomplished products) and workactivities. One of the participants who will be working Israel, will focus on producing an interactieve sustainable website which is adapted by the local organisation promoting dialogue amongst Palestinian and Israeli youth. Another starter who will be going to Mali, will focus on assisting the local organisation in getting an improved communication system. If my local colleagues will say after 6 months, that they have learned and adjusted 10 things on communication in their organisation and department on internal and external communication, I am a happy person, she commented. Other volunteers were preparing plans for India, Paraguay and Israel. Two of the plans were presented on the second day to the Liaison and co-ordinators of Togetthere, who provided feedback to the participants. Some useful feedback for the volunteers was that the workplan should not become something fixed, but that you have there flexibility to function. And that it is important to speak out expectations from both sides, starting from the beginning.

The session on dilemma's was led by Henk Bosch from Togetthere. Henk focused on discussing the cultural and workrelated dilemma's while working there. How to deal with an authorative director? What to do when you work in isolation and you do not really get an opportunity to meet with your local colleagues? And what to do when they want you to do things, which do not fit to your qualities? When expectations from both sides are completely different? These were some of the issues which were discussed.

Finally the participants assessed the training as very useful. A course which provides structure and raises awareness for effective work in helping to develop capacities from the local organisations, but which also helps to develop your own capacities.


Simon Koolwijk


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