Facilitating effectively has not been easy for everyone, especially to young professionals. With an aim to help its new staff and Young GMS Professionals in this field, Mekong Institute organized an 8-day workshop entitled Basic Training Course Management and Facilitation Skills supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme from January 9-18, 2012 at the Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand. 

Facilitation is an art, said Dr. Suchat Katima, MI Director, to seven new staff and eight Young GMS Professionals from the GMS countries that participated in the workshop. 

The main objective of the training was for the participants to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills on training management and facilitation. The workshop provided the participants with basic skills and tools required to ensure that workshops or trainings can run smoothly by proper facilitation. Participants were exposed to various facilitation approaches and methods, such as VIPP, group discussion and information market, that can be applied in their future assignments. 

After the workshop, the participants expressed that they were satisfied with the training, and felt that their facilitation skills and knowledge about MI had deepened. Mr. Aryuwath Pratumsa, one of the new staff, expressed that the training had exceeded his expectations, saying that the learning was induced in a creative yet smart manner. 

Mr. Chan Sereiratha, a Young GMS Professional, shared that his favorite part of the training was the GMS Cultures and Society. This section tackled each GMS countrys profile, culture and emphasized the different protocols to observe when working with GMS countries. 

As part of the training, the participants were divided into two groups and went to two different field sites: Sam Sung Village, for those inclined to Rural Development; and Khon Kaen Agricultural Development Company, for those interested in Trade and Investment. This field trip allowed the participants to understand better the steps and requirements when organizing a field visit. 

Before I had little experience in facilitating a field visit, said Ms. Patranuch Saksawang, one of the participants, but now, I am more confident to organize a field visit for my future work. 

In his closing speech, Dr. Suchat Katima guided that: Facilitation is an important tool. You can use it in a very positive way, but also you can use it in a very negative way. I hope you will not use your new-found skills with the wrong intentions. He concluded quoting the movie Spiderman, reminding that with great power comes great responsibility. 

The two-week training covered a wide range of topics including MI Overview and GMS Cooperation, GMS Culture and Society, Core Competencies of a Professional Services Organization, Effective Facilitation Skills and Tools, MI Standard Training Program Cycle, Organizing Field Visits, and many more.

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