Written by Mekong Institute

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Executive Summary

The development of facilitation to this point has, for many professional service organizations, been a development of facilitation abilities and skills in individuals. Increasingly it is becoming accepted that in order to be effective in today’s organizations, people must possess some combination of the following abilities; leadership (a long term view which sets the tone and direction), management (an immediate view which encompasses planning and getting things done), and facilitation (a global view devoid of content which enables people to achieve their objective).   

In order for facilitation to be developed as a core competency for the organization, certain organizational needs must be met in order to support this delivery system. Where the focus has previously been placed on developing facilitation skills within individuals, a focus must now be placed on developing structures and strategies within an organization which supports a facilitative approach to their service.

In collaboration with GIZ, the Mekong Institute organized a five-day training course on Facilitation As a Core Competency: a Training of Trainers for professionals from CARD, MRD, MoI, SNEC, LI, GIZ, CEDAC, LWD, VBNK, PNSA, and FOCTA of Cambodia, PAFO and GIZ of Lao PDR, YASTD and YNCIQ of China. The training course was conducted on 4-8 April 2011 in Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand.

This training course was not a conventional training course; it was a skills studio workshop emphasizing interaction and experimentation. The training course was delivered in seven interrelated modules utilizing a variety of inter-active and experiential learning methodology and tools. The training programme contains of seven modules as follows:

Module 1: Setting the Context of the Training

This module contains activities that are essential for enabling free and open participation right from the start of the training programme. This module helps trainers to prepare the groundwork, break the ice, explore group limits and give the overview of the training workshop and advanced facilitation model.

Module 2: Facilitation Processes

This module gives generic model of facilitation, an overview of some tools and techniques one needs for facilitating, and description of some interpersonal phenomena one needs to be on the lookout for. The best way to learn facilitation is, of course, to do the work and have someone give you feedback. The next best thing is to observe someone else facilitating.

Module 3: Participatory Approach to Service Delivery & Intervention Design

Modern organizations, whether corporate, government, or NGOs, increasingly face the challenge of responding to rapidly changing circumstances. These same organizations are often expected to involve stakeholders in decision-making processes, making any such process more complex and difficult to manage. These two challenges are often at odds with each other, the former requiring speed and agility and the latter requiring time and patience. The increased need for timely collaborative problem solving and participatory decision making in businesses, organizations, and communities worldwide has led to an increase in the use of group facilitators to support those processes.

Module 4: Managing Change to Build Facilitative Organization

This module focuses on how to analyze the forces of change in order to institutionalize facilitation as core competency of the organization. The module allows participants to identify facilitating and hindering factors at their work place as well as find the ways to overcome constraining factors through different tools and simulation exercises.

Module 5: Facilitating Conflict Negotiation

This module focuses on the definition of conflict, the process of conflict and the resolution of conflict. Participants are provided the presentation of conflict management and asked to work as group on conflict management to identify the real conflicts that happened in their lives, analyze the factors that contributed to the conflict and work on how to solve those conflicts.

Module 6: Implementation of Workplan (preparation for the field work)

Participants demonstrate skills in preparing group for field visit (clarification of objectives and expected outputs, member assignments, materials, tools). The structured learning visits to three study sites, Dong Bang Community Learning Center, Nampong Self-Help Group, and Sriviroj Farm, in Khon Kaen of Thailand provided the participants on how to prepare field work by using facilitation skills. The information market is used as a tool in presentation of the results from the field work.

Module 7: Integrating Skills and Way Forward

This module focuses on the integration of different sets of concepts and tools in developing facilitation as core competency (internal training, mentoring, coaching, reuse framework, knowledge repository, blue sky, etc). Participants will go through exercises on how to manage different interaction and intervention scenarios, promote full participation, handle difficult group dynamics, fostering inclusive solutions and ensure participatory decision-making in the professional services firm.

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