Written by Mekong Institute

The Mekong Institute (MI) organized an eight-day workshop on “Orientation and Basic Training Course Management and Facilitation Skills” held in October 15-22, 2013 at MI’s residential training center in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Nine Young Greater Mekong Subregion Professionals (YGMSP) and new MI staff participated in the learning program. The workshop aimed to build-up capacity in managing training programs and other events for the YGMSPs and new staff at MI in facilitation skills in facilitating group meetings, in creating and enabling environment for participatory decision-making, and strategic processes involving multi-stakeholders.   

During the eight-day workshop, the program was designed and delivered using participatory approaches. The participants went through three progressive stages which are: 1 – “Learn to do”, where participants were provided with information on basic concepts and tools to be employed; 2 – “Do to learn”, where in participants learned to apply newly-acquired knowledge and skills in their work assignments with proper guidance from facilitators; and 3 – “Share to learn”, where participants were given opportunities to present their group work, and share their experiences with their co-participants and facilitators. In addition, the participants were given the opportunity to apply the acquired knowledge and skills first-hand during the Structured Learning Visit (SLV) at Sumsung Village in Khon Kaen, Thailand.

Upon the completion of the workshop, YGMS participants were assigned to work in different departments in MI for 6 months; during which it is expected that participants would gain knowledge as well as enhance their skills and experiences.
The overall assessment of the workshop showed that most of the participants were quite satisfied (4.39 out of 5) with the learning program and orientation provided. From the evaluation, the participants expressed that sessions related to facilitation skills are found to be most relevant and useful to the nature of the work of MI. Other topics the participants thought are beneficial included ‘Finance and Budgeting’, ‘Monitoring and Evaluation’, ‘GMS Culture and Society’, ‘MI information and Working Environment, and ‘Integration and Cooperation of the GMS.’

In the light of areas to be improved and follow-up activities which ought to be included in the program are that feedbacks on their fieldwork reports as well as the groups’ presentation skills from staff or experts should be given to participants. Also, it was recommended that during the preparation for the field trip, some groups struggled during the task allocation. In this regard, it can be interpreted that the participants should be supervised more closely by the staff. Aside from the aforementioned, one of the participants expressed his desire in that participants should be given feedback individually in order that the received comments will be use to indenfify one’s weakness and made improvements on those determined area(s).

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