Sunday, December 28, 2008

Youth Participation - comments from students & tutor from Hogeschool Utrecht

On the 18th December 2008, Simon Koolwijk conducted a training on Youth Participation at Hogeschool Utrecht - Social Department.

One of the students, interviewed by another student, and the tutors are sharing their experiences about the training. Hogeschool Utrecht - Social Department is already working more than 10 years with Facili2transform.

One of the students sharing his experience about the training Youth Participation.

One of the tutors sharing his experiences about his work with Simon Koolwijk.

Interested in a training about Youth Participation, contact Simon Koolwijk, e-mail.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Training Facilitation Methods - 22nd December 2008

A very inspirational training. My toolbox has been filled, I am ready to go for the hands-on experience in the field. I am definetly going to use the workshop method and the caroussel for some multi-stakeholder interventions. Three international advisors, who will be working for ICCO in Honduras and Peru, and Stichting Stephanos, shared their enthousiasm at the end of the training facilitation methods. The training was conducted by Simon Koolwijk.

The training was focused at sharing and learning theoretical principles of facilitation with the help of the caroussel method. Participants practised with two basic methods of the Technology of Participation (ToP), the Basic Conversation Method and the Brainstorm Workshop method. ToP has been developped by the Institute of Cultural Affairs - USA and is now actively being used in more than 50 countries around the world in development work, governments, companies, schools, universities and other public institutes. The methods are very useful for having focused conversations with groups from 2 - 40 people.

Participants also learned about the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques. KIT has been publishing a handbook called Village Participation in Development. In this handbook development practitioners can learn and find more about social mapping, stakeholder analysis, seasonal calender, gender analysis and many more useful methods, which can be used for participatory workshops. The handbook Participatory Learning and Action, published by IIED in co-operation with the University of Sussex, also provides useful tips for conducting PRA sessions.

The Open Space is also a very useful method for large scale interventions. When talking about large scale interventions we talk about 100 - 500 people. The method has been developped by researchers who found out that participants shared more meaningfull knowledge and information during the coffee breaks of (training) events than during the training. The method is very much stimulating and encouraging group's own responsibility in sharing what they would like to share.

More methods for facilitation can be found at the facilitation method site of the International Association of Facilitators. Simon Koolwijk is a Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) through IAF.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Training facilitation methods at the University of Social Work - Utrecht - Amersfoort - 18th December 2008

Great course! The discussion method is a great tool for reflections and evaluations. The course was very useful and interactive. We were involved the whole day, and did not get time to loose attention. A nice and involving way of teaching. I am inspired to use the methods at my work. Students from the University of Social Work - De Horst in Amersfoort (Hogeschool Utrecht) had a great experience on the 18th December 2008.
Community Youth Development was the topic of the course. Students learned new methods for involving and engaging youth. Focus during this course were on the Technology of Participation Methods which have been developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs in the USA. The future youth workers learned to practise with the basic conversation method. Through this tool participants are able to share their observations, feelings, meanings and decisions. It is a powerful tool in getting groups focused and involved. The other method was the brainstorm workshop method. Focus question of the workshop was: "What are practical ways to stimulate youth participation? " To foster culture & creativity, youth - organisation - sports, get youth involved in societal issues, learn through education and involvement in society were identified as the practical ways to get the youth involved.

Finally one of the participants facilitated the evaluation by using the basic conversation method. More useful methods on facilitation can be found through the IAF method website of the International Association of Facilitators. Simon Koolwijk (Facili2transform) is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF).

After finalizing the course the students went for a drink with the trainers to celebrate the end of the year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Facilitation Fundraising strategy - Milieukontakt International - 17th December 2008

"We have set priorities! It was a good day to share and to reflect. We have done a lot of good work in raising funds with our partners at the Balkan for the Green Agenda project. We did not recognise that we had a facilitator today! Simon was behind the screens, but still he was there...." These were some of the comments of the staff of MilieuKontakt International at the Balkan Fundraising strategy meeting, where information was shared on how many local funds were raised for the Green Agenda project.
The Green Agenda project focuses on conducting multistakeholder processes on environmental pracises with citizens in 6 countries at the Balkan; Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. In each country 3 pilots projects are conducted in 3 communities where improvement of cultural and natural values are the key. Some communities are already busy implementing some projects such as the promotion of bicycles in Banja Luka in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sustainable tourism & energy saving light in some communities in Macedonia, some improved waste management practises in Albania and some nature preservation and tourism initiatives in Montenegro.
Many of the participating projects have already raised local matching funds for the pilot projects. A number of local governments are supporting some pilots, and for example the Soros foundation and the Global Environmental Fund are supporting some multistakeholder processes. PSO in The Hague is also supporting some capacity building parts of this project.

Challenges are still there in the area of getting financial support for international exchange. The MilieuKontakt team will further strengthen their fundraising efforts in promoting and dissiminating the best practises of the Green Agenda Project. As we move on as we are moving now, the project will sell itself, said one of the participants. It is really something practical and successfull where civil society is taking initiatives themselves in improving the environment, expressed one of the participants at the end of the seminar.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Deepening under the surface of the iceberg - Facilitating LEF Faciliation Team - 16th December 2008

Inspiring, variation, let go, ah hah, authenticity, challenging, deepening, the future of our LEF facilitation team! These were some of the comments of the 18 LEF Facilitators, who are part of the facilitation team of LEF and participated in their third team exchange meeting. The meeting was facilitated by Jet Proost, Hannie Vonk and Simon Koolwijk.
LEF is one of the centres and departments of Rijkswaterstaat. Rijkswaterstaat is an organisation of the Dutch Government which ensures the mobility and safety of the roads, water ways and air in The Netherlands. The LEF Future Centre assists the Dutch government in dealing with complex issues in the area of water-, road and air infrastructure. For example how to deal with the rising sea level? How to deal with the traffic jams? In order to find solutions for these difficult problems creativity and imagination is a must. LEF Future Centre plays an assisting role in dealing with these issues.

Unique Value Points of LEF are the combination of using different pre-sets (room set-ups) and creative facilitation approaches to deal with difficult problems. For example one of the goals of the third team meeting of facilitators was to get a more deeper understanding about its own successes and failures. Four groups were divided into 4 different pre-settings, such as the kitchen, picknick, room fire and sport hall set up. These different settings created an informal and relaxed atmosphere to look at the facilitation process from a different perspective. Finally, lessons were shared through creative presentations. One highlight for me was that I was confronted with a shock effect from my colleagues. "How to deal with a group, when they are not happy with a rigid time schedule?" I learned it was helpful to express and show my own feelings about this to create a safe environment for discussion.
Another highlight was the Quiz. The goal was to get acquainted with the rules and procedures of the LEF Future Centre. Colleague facilitators could mention a rule and procedure, and two managers from the LEF Centre could respond if these were right or wrong. Finally the group came up with 34 rules & procedures, and only 5 were guessed wrong.
Finally the participants shared about the cultural values of the LEF Future Centre. Through this, the facilitators Simon Koolwijk and Jet Proost used the Ice Berg method. Participants identified the visible elements of LEF, and the underlying cultural elements such as Norms & Values, Rituals, Identity and Certainties. The paradox question: "How can we get rid of LEF"?was a very stimulating question in getting out the real cultural values of LEF. Authencity, Being Futuristic, Warm Atmosphere, Being a Frontrunner and Open for Changes were some of the key elements which were mentioned as some of the cultural elements which are typically LEF.
The session was closed with a one-word evaluation. For each letter of the word Evaluation, participants could express their feeling in one word. Energy, Variation, Authenticity, Laughing, Unique exchange, At the Table, Teams, Inspiring, Eer to Jet, Simon & Hannie.
For more impressions click.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Participatory video participant web 2.0 training, 3rd December 2008

At the end of the web 2.0 training on the 3rd December 2008 one of the participants interviewed the trainers Joitske Hulsebosch, Elmine Wijnia and Simon Koolwijk. It is simple and practical way on how to involve the participants in applying modern techniques for knowledge transfer.

The web 2.0 training is a joined initiative of Joitske Hulsebosch, Sibrenne Wagenaar, Elmine Wijnia and Simon Koolwijk. They have a joined website at werkenmetweb2.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Working with web 2.0 tools, 3rd December 2008

"I am very much inspired, but now the challenge to do it at home..." "A very useful course to get acquainted with all the electronic tools, you can use for learning processes", "Lets first start myself and master the tools a bit, before I start to encourage my colleagues". Comments which came from the participants at the end of the training working with web 2.0 tools held in Utrecht on the 3rd December 2008.

Most of the time of the training was focused on practising and playing with the web 2.0 tools (see photos and impressions). Participants got acquainted with social bookmarking, forum discussions, wiki's and on how to load down rss feeds. During the exercises Joitske Hulsebosch, Elmine Wijnia and Simon Koolwijk were available for assistance.The training provided a lot of eye openers. Social bookmarking gives you an opportunity to list and store all literature and resources, and you can check the bookmarkes of your colleagues. It provides you insight on how to update yourself professionally. Forum discussions help you to answer urgent questions with a critical group of people. Simple questions such as: "where can I learn most effectively Chinese? Or which games or energizers can I use next week for a group high profile managers" will definetely generate answers on a forum. Wiki's and blogspots are useful tools to share resources, such as toolkits and articles. Simon Koolwijk for example works with a group of capacity development advisors from ICCO and they share their resources at the iccocad wiki and their articles at the blogspot "Everything You Always wanted to know about Capacity Development". RSS feeds will provide you the opportunity that the information will come to you, instead of you searching long time for the information.
During the last day part of the training the participants came up with new ideas on how to apply the e-tools in their worksituation. Use the wiki for coaching, make a social bookmark for myself, start a forum discussion in my organisation, build a training course using a wiki.
The next training in web 2.0 tools will be planned in early February 2009. This course is a joined initiative of Joitske Hulsebosch, Elmine Wijnia, Sibrenne Wagenaar and Simon Koolwijk. They share a joined website called Workingwithweb2.0 tools.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Training project cycle management & capacity development 27 - 28 november & 1 December 2008

"The flow was perfect" "I enjoyed every moment" "A very useful course, which supports me to plan my capacity development efforts" "A dynamic course with a lot of variation in exercises".
These were the comments of three development advisors who will be working the next two years for ICCO and Stichting Stephanos in Malawi, Peru and Honduras. One advisor will be supporting touristic initiatives in Peru, one will work as a creative therapy consultant with youth in Honduras, and one will be working as an educational co-ordinator supporting local schools and orphans in Malawi. The course was organised by the Hendrik Kraemer Institute in Utrecht. The institute is preparing development advisors for consultancies and missions in the south. Simon Koolwijk was conducting the 3-day training.
Capacity development, strengthening local partners to make their service delivery more sustainable and effective, is one of their main tasks. Assisting local staff in project planning and proposal writing will also be one of their duties. Therefore the training was focused at learning skills in project cycle management and learning skills on how to do organisational development and capacity planning. More tools and resources can be found at the ICCOcad resource site.

Articles about capacity development advisors, who have been trained by the Hendrik Kraemer Institute and who most have a working background with ICCO projects can be found at the ICCOcad blogspot "Everything you always wanted to know about capacity development" .