Mar 25, 2010
We were located 2 hours from Capetown in the small town of Kleinmond. We stayed in a holiday home in small bungalows in a be...
We were located 2 hours from Capetown in the small town of Kleinmond. We stayed in a holiday home in small bungalows in a beautiful, inspiring landscape with mountains in front of us and the Atlantic Ocean behind us. What better place could you have to start a writing collective. The idea was not to write just another guidebook, but to bring in the vast experiences of the participating NGO’s to bring theory and practice together in combination with an action research next year in 20 Southern NGO’s to bring the guide as a tool for transforming organizations and Social change into practice.
To develop this we needed to know each other much better, but also to develop our own writing voice. One of the exercises we used for this is the technique of freewriting. In freewriting your pen, rather than your mind decides what to write; the hand leads and the mind follows. As simple as it sounds, it’s no easy exercise and takes real discipline to stick to this simple premise. We did several exercises with a start sentence and 4 minutes of writing. Afterward you had to underline the key sentences and share this with a small group to make a poem out of it. That sounds a bit weird, but actually the poems were quit powerful.
Another method that we used was it always powerful storytelling. With the freewriting exercises we also had described two of our key learning moments. You could share the stories with one of the others, pick one and shared that story with the whole group. During the whole week we told these stories and distilled the general lessons out of these stories to use that to describe inside-out how we have gone through our own learning journeys. These general insights were stored on colored papers on the whole: a big collection of thoughts at the end of the week.
To look outside-in to organisational learning the core group of the writers collective on organisational learning, which we discussed to see what was most inspirational, fascinating but also to define areas for deeper research, missing parts and remaining questions.
On day three we were on a quest for our vision. At 07.00 sharp we climbed in silence the mountain in front of were we stayed. At the top (a 30 minutes climb, through a beautiful landscape, one of the most diverse worldwide in terms of number of plans) we wrote our how we thought the Barefootguide would be used in the world in 5 years time as a free writing exercise. After a lovely walk down through a different path we brought all these stories together in small groups to design the leading image through a very creative drawing process. These three leading images were than shared and brought together into one picture with symbols, metaphors and key words.
The last day was the process that will lead to the development if the barefootguide. The next write workshop will be in May in Egmond (the Netherlands).
Before that time a needs assessment with some of the partners that will participate in the action research will take place (not at IICD partners) and a similar assessment about current learning practices should also be carried out under the organisations of the writers collective. In the next two weeks it will be more clear what that will mean for IICD. The action research for next year was also designed, but the key question for the next two year were the research areas which needed more deeper research. Also adding the voice of the south more. All of us will contribute more case studies like our thematic learning briefs, our Learn-Work trajectory and country learning reports. We concluded with a mood image of the whole week which was again an creative exercise to trigger your right brain. All in all a very inspirational, intensive and challenging workshop. Looking forward to continue this process in May.
Mar 01, 2010
On February 23 last, I took part in the symposium Genderjustice.nu , organised by WO=MEN (pronounced women equals men). ...
On February 23 last, I took part in the symposium Genderjustice.nu, organised by WO=MEN (pronounced women equals men). This Dutch Gender Platform is a network association of almost 70 organisations and individuals who have committed themselves to working towards equal participation of women and men worldwide; to global gender justice.
Goal of the day was to discus if progress has been made towards gender equality (fifteen years into the Beijing Platform for Action) and to present information, experiences, questions, dilemma’s and practices from the field to inspire. It further discussed what development organisations are doing to promote gender equality.
Next the opening panel, themed: The gender matters on the table, was on. Facilitated by Evelijne Bruning ((The Hunger Project) panel members Sylvia Borren (World Connectors), Özden Yalim (WO=MEN), Jeanette Kloosterman(Oxfam Novib) and I answered questions like: What progress has been achieved with regard to reaching gender equality up to date? How far have the agreements made in Beijing been implemented? What gender issues do you run into in your own work practice? What is happening in our ‘gender kitchens’, which good practices can we share? Where do we encounter problems, but especially: where lie the opportunities?
The rest of the morning the audience could choose from 4 parallel workshops, all of course dealing with gender in one way or another.
Lunch break was optimally used for either watching the movie ‘Password Women’ (on how ICT can be put to work to advance the position of women) or for networking.
In the afternoon I was part of the workshop “reporting, connecting & documenting gender / innovative practices.” The other presenters in this workshop were Mina Saadadi (Shahrzad News), Doris Alfafara (Stichting Damayan) and Lin McDevitt-Pugh (NetSheila).
In my presentation I focussed on how the use of ICT can strengthen gender related activities, show cased by examples from IICD projects.
I explained what type of activities our organisation is involved in and presented 4 gender & ICT projects (CIDOB, Online consulting service from Casa de la Mujer, WIDNet, AMJUPRE) and briefly spoke about Coprokazan (showing the Bamanan – local language - presentation), the GINKS training for seamstresses and the Pag La Yiri radio station.
Everything I brought forward came directly from what our partner organisations have shared at the Cross Country Learning Event (CCLE) on Gender and ICT s of last December. During this meeting IICD partners discussed how ICT can contribute to addressing gender equity and women empowerment in development. I figure our partners know best what ICT has brought them, so better let them do the talking (via me).
Although time was too short to give a full overview of the activities our partners are undertaking, I did receive nice reactions from people who were enthused by the possibilities that ICTs offer – or better maybe: the opportunities that these women create for themselves by choosing and applying ICT tools in such a way that it benefits them and their cause.
Overall: met with many very interesting people and enjoyed a very stimulating, inspiring and energising day!