Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Project cycle management (PCM) as tool for capacity development of organisations!

Project cycle management (PCM) is a process. It helps organisations to tackle difficult issues and problems through a well defined step model. It is a participative method which creates group involvement, ownership and responsibility. It is a perfect tool for communication amongst project actors and supports local organisations in their process of strengthening organisational capacity. However, it is a rigid and very systematised tool. Therefore, creativity and flexibility is needed in applying this tool. These were some of the comments of a KerkinActie development professional, stationed in Ghana, who participated in the training Project Cycle Management on the 26th January, 2011. The training was organised by the Hendrik Kreamer Institute (HKI) and conducted by Simon Koolwijk, development consultant.

PCM is a 4-step model which is applied for project management. The method consists of a phase of a. analysis, b. design, c. implementation (monitoring & review) and d. evaluation. Especially the contextuel and analysis phase is an important part in the process. During this part the key actors are identified, approached and problems and interests are defined. Whenever actors feel committed and involved in the analysis phase, already half of the work is done. It provides an essential basis for successful project implementation.
Following the actor identification phase, development actors develop a planning matrix (called logical framework = LFA). The problem tree is the starting point, which helps to identify the key causes of development dilemma's. Problems and causes are turned into 'Dreams and hopes' into an objective tree, whereafter these 'visions' are transformed into the Logical Framework.Tear Fund published a user friendly handout which explains the process on a simple way. More tools about PCM and capacity development can be found at the Compart User capacity development wiki.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ten videos for stimulating fun, roleplays and exercises!

Youtube provides a lot of inspirational short video's which you can use for trainings or facilitation events. Whenever, you try to stimulate fun in your group or want to provide some hints for a role play or exercises, a compilation of ten video's to get your group started:

Especially the television advertisements are inspirational for making caricatures of famous people or functional roles people play in society. For example the Cup a Soup advertisements with;

1. Louis van Gaal2. Sjors, the coach/ inspirator3. John, the managerare hilarious.
And what about the advertisements with Even Apeldoorn bellen with:
4. Bill Clinton5. The parking garage
Another source of inspiration are the comedians:
6. Toren C, the job applicant. See video

7. Koefnoen, showing a media training with our former prime minister, Mr. Balkenende8. Jiskefet, showing a father who is coaching his son, or is he coaching himself?
9. The two britisch soccer coachesor

10. the shocking Fart at the office of Toren C.

In case you have additional tips and links about funny or humourus video's, please feel free to respond at this blog article.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Examples of facilitation at youtube!

Video provides a great opportunity to explain somebody the art of facilitation. Following is a compilation of 12 video's showing different aspects of facilitation.

1. How to be a great facilitatorSuggestions on how to become a great facilitator; See great facilitator

2. More effective meetingsAnimation movie on how to have more effective meetings; See more effective meetings

3. How to make your meetings more effective8 tips on how to make your meeting more effective by having a facilitator; See video;

4. Creative facilitation seminar 2008, EAFIT UniversityVisualisation of a creative facilitation seminar ; See creative seminar

5. Pinpoint facilitation in ActionVideo impressions of a facilitation event; See facilitation event

6. Open space technology meetingThe principles and impressions of an open space technology meeting; See open space

7. Tips & tricks - Invite right brain thinkersThink about involving right brain thinkers in your workshop sessions. They help you to look things from a total different perspective. See right brain thinkers

8. The spirit of the world cafe - ItalianoImpressions of a world cafe facilitation session; See World Cafe

9. Memory magic - ice breakerAn interesting ice breaker to make and to tell a story; See ice breaker

10. E-FacilitationExample on how to conduct an E-Conference. Participants share their experiences after having participated in an E-Conference; See E-Conference

11. Graphic facilitation
Output which was produced and documented through a graphic recorder after a group facilitation event. See graphic facilitation

12. Participatory video makingHow to facilitate the creation of a movie. Example of a youth project in Moldova. See participatory video making

In case you would like to share links or more video's about facilitation, please feel free to respond at the blog article.

Simon Koolwijk

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sticky wall: A helpfull tool for facilitation!

Participants name it the magic wall! You just stick a piece of paper on the wall and it will stick. The sticky wall, a cloth of material (size 3.5 x 1.6 mtrs), is an excellent tool for facilitation. Whenever you use paper or flipcharts and you want to move them quickly it is very helpful.

Benefits· The sticky wall provides a space where you need to group and regroup participants' ideas that have been written on papers
· It is light weight, you can use it for 2 - 5 years
· It is easily portable so that you can take it to every meeting

Preparation, use and maintenance of the sticky wallØ To make your new sticky wall sticky, use 3M Spray Mount, Artistst Adhesive. Avoid over-spraying
Ø You can use most types of paper on your sticky wall, but don't use construction paper because it may permanently stick
Ø When you fold the sticky wall for carrying, be sure to fold with the sticky side in
Ø For subsequent uses, first check the wall for stickiness
Ø You can hang the sticky wall with masking tape, push pins or T pins
Ø When there is adhesive build up, and you want to clean it, you can use 3M Citrus Based Cleaner
Purchase of the sticky wall You can order the sticky wall at the website, click sticky wall

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to facilitate Chimpansee behaviour in organisations?

High performance! What are the key ingredients of an effective leader? High business performance! How to create entrepreneurship and more openess in the organisation? Many training courses and teambuilding workshops are focused on the rational behaviour of people in organisations and their commitment to get a better performance of the organisation. However, the reality is more unpredictable. 'Gossip', 'sabotaging or undermining the boss', 'informal alliances to slow down organisational change', 'fear of losing position as a manager when staff become super high performers', 'manipulation to get a higher salary or a better position in the organisation', 'managing your private affairs at work' and 'delegating impossible tasks or projects to your potential competitors in your organisation, so that you can blame them'.

Social and political behaviour in organisations are still an underestimated force which are driving organisational development. How come that organisations which were successfull 10 years ago, have now become slow and conservative operating institutions? A lot of similarities can be found with the development of chimpansee communities and political behaviour in organisations. Similarities between chimpansee and human behaviour in communitiesPatrick van Veen author of 'Help mijn baas is een aap!' & 'kuddegedrag in crisistijd' identifies a number of remarkable similarities between chimpansees and humans. For example; a new chimpansee leader, the alfa man, who has just come to power, kills all the chimpansee babies to ensure that his ancestors are his. A new Chief executive who has become managing director destroys most of the favorite projects of his predecessor and initiates another restructuring. Chimpansees make alliances within their community by grooming each other. Staff create partnerships by informal meetings during lunch or at the corridor. An alfa man never gains power by himself. He always has gained support from the majority of the community before he has challenged his predecessor. After gaining power, he keeps his community satisfied by giving his supporters privelleges. A director who has gained leadership in the organisation rewards the staff who have helped him to power and sabotages his critics.

Other books that provide an interesting look into the internal politics and social behaviour in organisations are:
* Zo Zuidas, author: The Zoza's
* Chimpansee politiek, author: Frans de Waal
* Hoe wordt ik een rat? author: Joep P.M. Schrijvers
* The egalitarians human and chimpanzee, author: Margaret Power

Ways to deal with Chimpansee politicsBuilding coalitions and networking inside the organisation are mentioned in the aforementioned literature as the most crucial steps to maintain and ensure a good position within the organisation. When you become victim of such a political game, the authors refer to three strategies;

1. FightYou fight back and try to build coalitions and support against the other coalition, so that you get some of your goals persued.
2. FlightYou count your blessings, accept your defeat and prepare for another position within the organisation or look for other job opportunities outside. Why waste energy on fighting? Go for the opportunities which provide energy.
3. AdaptYou accept the situation as it is, but low down your commitment to the organisation and focus on your hobbies during your free time or the weekends.

Positive behaviour of a stable communityConflicts and politics are maybe the most interesting and intruiging aspects of organisational development. They can be both created from inside as from outside. However, both chimpansees and people prefer a stable and safe community. Researchers observed that in stable chimpansee communities, members have fun and play regularly. They have a lot of mechanisms of mutual support. Interesting is that a Chimpasee leader, the Alfa man, plays the role of listener and maintainer of the norms and values of the group. Whenever somebody is violating the rules of law, he intervenes and resolves the conflict. Researchers discovered that violent disputes amongst chimpansee members within a community are very much limited. Mostly they are resolved on a peaceful way. So, in circumstances the hierarchy is clear, tasks are done efficiently and effectively. When there are no external threats (such as shortage of food or a competing community), the living environment is safe and leadership is stable, the community takes care of each other. Of course there are still a lot of striking differences between chimpansees and people, but to a certain extent it is interesting to look at organisational development from a biological perspective. In the documentary VPRO Tegenlicht of January 10, 2011 Frans de Waal shows some of the positive characteristics of chimpansee communities: Link:

How to act as a facilitator when chimpansee behaviour is affecting the organisation?What to do as a facilitator when you are facing a group or organisation that is full with conflict and intruiging back-door behaviour?

1. Make your client responsible from the beginning and ensure a monitoring/ evaluation planA crucial step is the intake with your client. Is he/ she already aware of these conflicts? What are the reasons you have been hired as a facilitator? Don't be afraid to ask some thorough questions during your first meetings. A useful step is to formulate a focus question with your client and try to involve some key people in the preperation of your workshop. Ensure that they are the 'eyes and ears' of the group. And build in a monitoring and evaluation track where you will evaluate their findings after one or more workshops.

2. Observe different behaviour during the workshop and deal with itA lot of interesting things can happen when you facilitate a meeting. Some people dominate the workshop, others show limited interest, people openly show aggressive or conflictuous behaviour or sabotage a fruitful outcome. There a different ways to deal with this as a facilitator:
* Formulate and maintain ground rules
* List and address the expectations and check with the group on what expectations they would like to work
* Approach some of the people face to face during one of the breaks in order to listen to some of their concerns
* Address the behaviour and give it back to the group so that the group will be confronted to take its responsibility.
* Practise the art of Judo. Give the sabotaging or conflictual behaving people a responsibility
* Allow persons, when they feel they should not be there, to leave the meeting

Another way is not to deal with it, so just 'let it happen' so that the group will deal with it.
3. Evaluate at the end and just after the meeting wit the groupEnsure that you evaluate the content and the process at the end of the meeting. In case people do not feel safe to express their feelings, try to build in evaluation moments during the 'informal' moments during or after the meeting. Involve the 'eyes and ears' of the preperation team in this evaluation, so that you can share their observations during a mid-term or final evaluation after the workshop.

4. Build trust, maintain your neutral position and show your concern with the organisationMost crucial is that you ensure your neutral position as a facilitator. Be clear on your role and try to build an atmosphere of openess and trust with your client. Be sincere in what you observe, feel and experience. And show your concern and commitment that you support the organisation and its values.

In case you have additional remarks, questions please feel free to respond to this article.

Simon Koolwijk,
facilitator/ trainer
For more about courses on facilitation, consult:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Energizers & games make facilitation fun!

How to overcome a lunch dip? What to do when people are tired of using their heads? And how to get focus? Energizers and games are ways to refresh people's minds and get them active.

The paper tiger is a popular one and fun to do. Make an animal from a piece of paper without talking. Make a group, each person tears a piece of paper without talking and passes it on to the next person. Make a maximum of 4 rounds and give each group a maximum of 5 minutes.
Ranking on the chair is a nice one to get to know each other better. Make a line of chairs as many people as there are in the group. Give an assignment to the group by asking a question. For example; Rank yourself on basis of your age, or birth date? or what is the most south located place you have visited on the earth?

The word game has a competitive element. Ask people to make columms, asking them for example 1. Country? 2. City/ village? 3. Name? 4. Animal? 5. Tool in the household? Each time a participants says a letter. For example 'R'. After that the one who answers the questions the fastest is the winner!
These energizers were part of the training facilitation methods, which was held on 5 - 6 january, 2011 in Utrecht and led by Simon Koolwijk. He is certified professionals facilitator with the International Association of facilitators. IAF has also a professional network in the Netherlands, called IAF-Benelux.
Young Professionals (YP's) from Togetthere and Mensen met een Missie became during the course acquainted with methods (Technology of Participation) on how to facilitate and guide groups. These YP's were prepared for their capacity development intervention missions in Peru and Guatemala, where they are going to assist local organisations in updating their communication strategies and training courses.
'Experience', 'know the background and the theory' and 'practise' were the main components of the course. During the last day part, participants learned on how to set up a training and how to teach a lesson according to the 'KOLB - learning cycle'. This cycle integrates facilitation and teaching on how to transfer knowledge to groups of people and individuals. It is a powerful tool in capacity development of local organisations and people. Young professionals from ICCO - Togetthere have made a short list of coaching and facilitation tools at the icco-cad toolkit site.

The training had a good balance of theory and practise, commented the participants. It was intensive, but very useful. We would have loved a day more! The training was structured and passed very smooth. We were the whole day active and time flew.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Young people active with video and social media: Participatory Video Making in Moldova

Young people's lives today versus the lives of young people in the past from the mouths of adults. This was the main theme of the participatory video young people from Ulmu made from 1 to 3 November 2010. The video-making was guided by two professors and students of the Film Academy in Chisinau, Moldova. Support in the discussions was provided by Pro Community Centre and Kontakt der Kontinenten.

Prior to the training Pro Community Centre organized an orientation meeting to allow young people to know more about the process. Professors from the Film Academy asked them to think about the scenario and locations / individuals to select for the story. Young people chose the theme; "the youth of today versus those of the past". During the training 10 locations were visited in their village to develop the story. The visits were diverse. Interviews were done with the mayor, a disabled mother, an elderly woman, a garment factory, a young entrepreneur and a family that produces local products.See below a 4-minute impression of the process of participatory video.

The development of the scenario and filming were part of the first two days of the course. The final day focused on video editing and discussions. By the end of the training a draft story of 10 minutes was completed. A core group from the youth club performed the final completion work (translation, perfectionizing, subtitling and learning to work with video editing) together with the professors of the film academy in the remaining weeks of 2010. The film is now in a completion stage and will be presented at a national conference on youth development in Moldova in March 2011. The process of participatory video making will be continued with youth clubs from Varnita, Vadul Rascov and Cotiujeni Mari.

Lessons learned
The training yielded some interesting lessons. Highlights included the video making, do it yourself and getting acquainted with the basics of filmmaking.

Some lessons learned were:
* As many times happens, the group felt it did not have enough time to complete the video. The use of a means of transportation on the second day could have saved some useful time.
* During the filming the youngsters and their professor used 5 cameras. This had an overwhelming impact on a number of interviewees. Therefore limit the use of cameras up to two.
* Many times the youth asked closed questions to the adults. Inclusion of a session on interview techniques offers an added value during the orientation
* The process of video making contributes to 'team building' and increases awareness about the profession of film making.
* By working with the Film Academy of Chisinau it created a basis for further capacity and local knowledge development about participatory video making. The process provided space for a core group of young people from Ulmu to further develop their skills on video making and editing.

Young people duplicate the process of video making
The training inspired the young people from Ulmu to make a video production themselves after the training and to spread it through social media. Together they made a Christmas message that was posted on youtube and was circulated through Odnoklasniki (Eastern European version of facebook). See link:

The participatory video making is part of the project 'Youth in the Centre', funded by Matra (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). This project is aimed at building sustainable structures for youth work in Moldova. The project is a partnership between Pro Community Centre, Kontakt der Kontinenten, Proni Centre for Social Education and University Windesheim.