First day of the inspiring change meeting in Nairobi

Civic Action02 Dec 2010Joseph Ssuuna

This blog item was part of the ‘Engaging stakeholders for change’ dossier

Increasingly, multi-stakeholder processes are being used in response to ‘tough’ problems such as responding to climate change, fighting poverty, and creation of sustainable business models. Many development organisations and networks have become aware that these change processes are of an increasingly ‘emergent’ nature, and need to be facilitated. The Change Alliance is an emerging global learning network which aims to support good practice in facilitating and strategizing around multi-stakeholder cooperation for systemic change.

From 1-3 December 2010, 20 facilitators of multi-stakeholder processes from across Africa are meeting in Nairobi. Co-hosted by the Change Alliance and SNV, to exchange experiences with leaders, researchers and donors. This ‘Inspiring Change’ event aims to share and collate state-of-the-art experiences and explore ways of supporting and strengthening capacity for effective facilitation of multi-actor processes.

This blog provides an online discussion platform for speakers, participants and other experts in the field, where they can reflect on the discussions and opinions voiced at the Inspiring Change event as well as further discuss the wider topics it addresses.

The venue

Having arrived late in the night nothing prepares you for the serene and appealing Lenana guest house in Lavington deep in a seemingly nice residential location of Nairobi. It is this nice location that is venue for the workshop already setting an atmosphere of ambience.

Energising the programme

The day one programme has been an exciting mix of dealing with the usual ‘setting the scene’ issues and immediately getting into the meat of the workshop, and facilitating this delicate balance of objectives in such a way that the wealth of facilitation expertise among the participants is maximally utilised.

There was a interesting mix of facilitators and the process flowed so well that one would imagine that the facilitators have been working together for a long time.

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the facilitation process was the manner in which all got to participate during plenary and group sessions. The innovative use of a mix of approaches, cards and drawing both enable participation and enhanced ongoing analysis.

Drawing the rich picture has been a very powerful and easy method of encouraging participation while at the same time representing very complex interventions that actually take place in facilitating complex multi-stakeholder processes. The energy that kept participants going – The rich mix of diverse, cultural and technical expertise generated such an incredible amount of energy that it made the day fly so fast that it was not easy to get people to end their afternoon discussions.

So>>>>>> I cant wait for day two to especially interrogate issues of CHANGE and he change that needs to happen in us in order for us to become more effective facilitators of change!

Joseph Ssuuna

Joseph Ssuuna (Uganda) is a facilitator and management consultant. His experience in networking covers both facilitation and management of an international network, as former Secretary General of the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association (PELUM).