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Showing posts from 2010

Marry Christmas and Happy 2011!

We wish you a Marry Christmas and Happy 2011!

The Youngsters from Ulmu village made a nice video message sharing their Christmas and New Year wishes:


The Youngsters from Ulmu village, Moldova are participating in the Youth Development program 'Youth in the Center', which is facilitated by Procommunity Centre with support from Kontakt der Kontinenten, Proni Centre for Social Education and Hogeschool Windesheim.

Thinking through about a capacity development intervention!

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Which activities to select on how to guide an organisation in its process of development? 1. Exchange, 2. facilitation, 3. coaching, 4. research, 5. training, 6. advise, 7. management or 8. implementation?

Two Young Professionals from Togetthere met for a one-day training on the 21st December, 2010 to think through about their capacity development intervention. Both Young Professionals will be assisting for a period of 6 months local development organisations in Peru and Rwanda in the area of communication and micro-finance. Part of the training was to gain skills on how to plan for a capacity development intervention based on their job description and some basic principles of capacity development.
The training was led by Simon Koolwijk, professional in the area of facilitation and capacity development. Some useful information and literature about these topics can be found at the ICCO CAD tookit site and the UNDP CD site. The training was a combination of theory, practicals in planning…

Developing capactities of local organisations

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'Build informal contacts', 'build good contacts with your supervisor', 'organise a cultural exchange party to build cultural understanding', 'conduct a participatory meeting with your colleagues guided by an external facilitator', 'consult a coach or a local mentor', 'plan monitoring and evaluation moments with your supervisor', and 'get clear about the conditions which your partner organisation can fullfill to make your capacity development intervention to a success'. These were some of the recommendations which were shared on how to tackle dilemma's and build ownership during a capacity development intervention. Dilemma's and how to create ownership in organisational development was one of the sessions during the training Project Cycle Management & Capacity Development of organisations which was held and organised by the Hendrik Kraemer Institute. The training was attended by Development professionals from World Ser…

Formulating indicators at policy & strategic level; Project Cycle Management

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The training was a mix of 'deepening understanding' about our strategic plan, teambuilding and receiving professional feedback on how to optimize our relations with our project partners. This training gave us new insights and tools on how to further develop our 4-year strategic plan. It was useful and practical! These were some of the comments from staff from Kom Over and Help after participating in the training Project Cycle Management & Partner Relations. KOEH is a development organisation supporting NGO's and churches who are assisting poor and disprivalaged families and children in Eastern Europe.
The 3-day in-company course was conducted by Gerard Verbeek and Simon Koolwijk. The training was focused at reviewing the strategic plan, formulating key indicators at project, policy and strategic level and gaining tools for project visits to project partners.As most development organisations, KOEH is applying the Project Cycle Management approach for monitoring & eva…

How to deal with cultural differences as a facilitator?

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'Build up informal moments', 'Apply the indirect way', 'Use local discussion techniques', 'Humor', 'Move along and adapt to the situation'; These were some of the outcomes from the workshop "What are ways to deal as a facilitator with cultural differences in a group?" The workshop was part of the Training Group Facilitation Methods, which was held and conducted by Simon Koolwijk for staff from IccoenKerkinActie and Togetthere.

Three participants applied creative techniques on getting out the ways on how to deal with cultural differences. A combination of 'story telling', 'role plays', 'associative thinking' and 'collecting' ideas provided 16 answers to the focus question of the workshop.

This workshop was part of the training 'Basic Facilitation Methods', which was held on the 9th and 10th November, 2010 in Utrecht. Participants learned about the theoretical principles of facilitation (consult hand…

Youngsters in front and behind the camera. Participatory Video Making in Moldova!

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Comparing life of youngsters of today, with the life of youngsters in the past. This was the main theme that young people were filming during the training Participatory Video Making which was held from 1 - 3 November, 2010 in Ulmu village, Moldova. The training was led by Mr. Vlad Druc and Mr. Mircea Chistruga, both video lecturers at the Moldova Academy of Filmmaking. Support in facilitation and discussions was provided by Procommunity Centre and Simon Koolwijk from Kontakt der Kontinenten.
During the training the youngsters did filming at around 10 sites to develop their story - Youngster in the past and today. The visits were very diverse. Interviews were done with the mayor, a handicapped mother, an old women who was taken care of by her daugther, an old single woman, a family producing local products, a young business entrepreneur and women working in the local clothing factory. Youngster activities in the youth club, a dancing class workshop and a spiritual water point with youn…

Green Agenda: Environmental improvement through a process approach!

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Green Balloons with 60 wishes were flying into the air! It was one of the highlights of the Final Evaluation Seminar of Green Agenda on the Balkans. From 22 - 24 October 2010 60 representatives coming from NGO's, MilieuKontakt, trainers from Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro met to evaluate the 3-year project Green Agenda on the Balkan. The event was facilitated by Suzanne Bakker from MilieuKontakt and Simon Koolwijk.

Green Agenda is a participatory method for developing and implementing local sustainable development strategies and plans with active involvement of the different sectors in the local community where the process is conducted. The method (developed by MilieuKontakt) is special, compared to other processes with similar aims, in at least 3 main aspects: the process starts out by identifying local values rather than problems; participation in the process is not limited to experts or certain stakeholder groups but is wide and open to all; and as a …

Facilitating resistance in a group discussion

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You are facilitating a lunch meeting in a big consultancy company. One of the key questions is "How to stimulate entrepreneurship in the organisation". One of your participants is showing a big resistance, because he was requested by the director to attend the meeting. He shows a non-verbal non interested attitude and is eager to sabotage the meeting. You as a facilitator are worried and are doing your ultimate best to involve this person. What to do?
Involving resistant people and making them feel responsible for the group proces is one of the biggest challenges while facilitating a meeting. "Checking people's expectations" is one measure. Another is the temparature method. Just check people's feeling about their presence, while you are starting a meeting. Address and check people's behaviour is a risky one, but if you recognize people's emotions, it can be an effective one. "Is it right that you are angry? " This statement provides resist…

Facilitating difficult people in a supermarket!

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It is 5 minutes to 8, just before closing the supermarket. Four people are queing. All of them are in a hurry and actually not willing to wait. Some of them do not behave properly. The casher is playing the role of facilitator. There are different options to deal with the difficult clients: 1. The exit option, 2. Make the group responsible or 3. Judo, make a difficult person responsible. This was the setting of a role play, while generating ideas on the question: "What are the key competencies of an effective facilitator?"

It was part of the practise of the training 'Basic Facilitation methods' and 'How to work with the KOLB learning cycle' on 27, 28 and 29th September, 2010 which was facilitated by Simon Koolwijk. Professionals working with ICCOenKerkinActie, Togetthere, Mensen met een Missie and the Theatre Embassy participated in this training.


During the training participants got acquainted with the Technology of Participation methods. These are basic fac…

Creative facilitation in overcoming a lunch dip!

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Imagine your organisation is searching for an effective facilitator, who can facilitate and deal with learning and change processes in your organisation. Three practising facilitators of ICCOenKerkinActie guided their colleague participants in identifying the key competencies of an effective facilitator. Challenged by a task, participants were asked to interview some of their colleagues outside the training room. After 30 minutes the competencies of an effective facilitator were presented and shared.

This session provided us some space to move and get outside the training room, expressed one of the participants. The whole session was composed of a diversity of creative methods; the bloopers, statue theatre, interviewing outsiders and a smily evaluation. Creative methods are very helpful in overcoming a lunch dip. It is energizing!
The creative sessions were part of the training Basic Facilitation Methods, which was held on 20 - 21 September, 2010 at ICCOenKerkinActie. ICCOenKerkinActi…

Similarities between an animal and a facilitator?

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How to come from an animal to the competencies of a facilitator? This question was answered by a group of 8 staff working with ICCOenKerkinActie, a Dutch development organisation which has one of its aims to contribute towards the Millenium Development Goals. The staff members participated in a two day training (6th - 7th September 2010) on learning and practising basic facilitation skills led by Simon Koolwijk.
A team of three facilitators practised this creative workshop with the key question: "What are the competencies of an effective facilitator?" Inspired by the book Creativiteit Hoe? Zo! (Author Igor Bytebier) the 5 other colleagues were asked to draw an animal which symbolizes an effective facilitator. An owl, lama, elephante, octopus and eagle were some of the inspiring animals which were shared. After that the participants were invited to associate words, through the brainwriting technique which reflected the 'ideal' of an effective and competent facilitator

Capacity development: A course putting theory into practise!

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"The fact that we worked our own project, made the course very practical!"; "The application of many diverse tools and methods of teaching made us to involve constantly"; "The case studies were very practical and gave us insight in capacity development and how projects usualy operate"; "The course was very inspirational!"

On the 23rd, 24th and 26th August, 2010 capacity development advisors, working with GZB, Mensen met een Missie, ICCO & Centrum for Israel Studies participated in the course Project Cycle Management & Capacity Development which was organized by the Hendrik Kraemer Institute (HKI). The training was conducted by Simon Koolwijk.

The first part of the course was focused on how to plan and design a project through the Project Management Cycle and logical framework approach. Based on a practical project, participants developed a project plan through the logframe approach. On the second day participants presented their job de…

Video Evaluation - short highlights about two weeks exchange on International Humanitarian Law

"I have never experienced such a wonderful seminar", "My expectations have been met", "I know how to apply the four principles for International Humanitarian Law", "The composition of the group", "Lecturers addressed the issues". These were some of the comments which members of the ACT Alliance shared during a video evaluation at the end of the face-to-face seminar discussing Humanitarian Assistance & International Law (HAIL) which was held from 25th May - 4th June, 2010. This 2-week seminar dealt about the four principles of HAIL; 1. Humanity, 2. Neutrality, 3. Impartiality and 4. Indepedence. Main purpose of the meeting was to link theoretical principles with the reality of the work in the field. The 22 participants coming from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin-America shared 'best practices,' 'challenging cases' and 'possible scenario's ' on how to apply HAIL during interventions where Humanitarian Aid i…

Public Participation in water and health related issues

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Having access to clean water is still one of the long lasting dreams in many countries. On 15-16 June, 2010 around 70 representatives from European governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations met in Bucharest, Romania to exchange experiences on information and public participation in water and health related issues. Most representatives were coming from Eastern European countries and organisations who run water and health related projects in Eastern Europe. Simon Koolwijk assisted the organizing committee to facilitate this workshop.
Main organizers of the international workshop were the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - Water and Health protocol ) and WECF (Women in Europe for a Common Future). The overall goal of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of public authorities and non-governmental actors to cooperate in the implementation of the Protocol on Water and Health.


The workshop allowed participants to: 1. Review obligations and opportun…

Promotion of rural entrepreneurship in Rwanda

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Promotion of rural entrepreneurship in Rwanda is the main focus of the IPER program, which is led and coordinated by AgriProFocus. Wageningen International, The Royal Tropical Institute, SNV, Larenstein, Agriterra, Oxfam-Novib and ICCO are major partners in this project. On the 11th June 2010 the partners met in Arnhem to discuss about the action plan led by the Advisor of promotion of rural entrepreneurship in Rwanda.
The program is focused at strengthening local market development by building capacities of value chains on rice, casave, maize and other agricultural products. Farmers, producers, service providers and research institutions are involved in this program. Finally farmers and individual families would like to improve their lifes, have fair prices for their products which will lead to better welfare. The meeting was facilitated by Simon Koolwijk. "We all of us produced something on which we have ownership, consensus and it is workable", commented the participants…

Lots of inspiration in limited time!

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"We strengthened our team through joint analysis and practicals with new methods", "The teambuilding was a successfull instrument in coming to concrete results", "We learned a lot of diverse methods on how to support structured group processes", "The training was dynamic", "We gained a lot of inspiration in limited time!"
Staff members from Impulsis and the communication department from ICCO followed the training on facilitation methods. Since Impulsis is regular organising meetings with their project partners, who have partnerships with small scale projects in Africa, Asia and Latin-America on education, peace building or community development, the lessons learned were very applicable for the own worksituation.

Participants got acquainted with the theories of facilitation, the Technology of Participation methods (developed and tested by the Institute of Cultural Affairs - USA) and creative methods from COCD (literature: Creativity Toda…