Post-needs assessment activities
August 18, 2009
Customisation
August 18, 2009

Facilitators are key players in BRIDGE – the success of BRIDGE relies on the quality of its facilitators, and the use of the right facilitation teams. Facilitators should be involved at all steps of the BRIDGE program – from providing advice at the beginning, to the customisation process, to running the workshops themselves and contributing to the evaluation process, and ideally, continuing to be involved in a sustainable program.

For this reason, it is important that a client organisation has access to a pool of potential facilitators (including regional/international) to contribute to various stages of a BRIDGE program, allowing for availability, diversity and different skills and strengths.  For sustainability reasons, a strong pool of local facilitators is essential for any extensive BRIDGE program. It is up to the program team to evaluate how many local facilitators need to be trained, and whether there is potential for this to be done within the client organisation, or whether the program team needs to look more broadly at partnering with regional or international organisations to train facilitators.

Facilitators should refer to 6.3 Running a BRIDGE Workshop and the Facilitation Manual for further information on facilitating a workshop.

Choosing and employing facilitators and facilitation teams

The importance of the BRIDGE facilitator to a BRIDGE program means that attention must be paid to getting the appropriate facilitators for the program as they will be involved in high-level decisions on workshop customisation, selecting the right mix of materials and understanding the profile of participants. In addition to being qualified professionals, facilitators must also be good team players.

An informal mechanism operates for selecting accredited facilitators from the regularly updated database of fully and partially accredited facilitators.  The responsible BRIDGE partner can decide or advise on the choice of international facilitators. Intuitive judgments need to be made about the right mix of facilitators for any given workshop, and for this reason program teams are advised to contact the BRIDGE Office for advice on this matter.

A facilitation team should be a minimum of two facilitators, and several things should be considered when putting the team together. A team approach to facilitation is best, and a workshop should not be run if an appropriate team is not available.

The process of selecting a facilitation team should consider the following:

  • Priority should be given to using local facilitators in the context of building capacity and contextualising the program.
  • A facilitation team should have a gender balance, with at least one male and one female on any facilitation team, to model gender awareness and provide balance.
  • Particularly where participants may be of diverse language groups, or perhaps speak a dialect, it is useful to consider using facilitators who can communicate in the languages of the participants, if that is not the primary language being used in the workshop itself.
  • Different facilitators will have different strengths, and different modules will also require different sorts of facilitators. A facilitation team should consist of facilitators who complement each other and who can each contribute a different quality to the facilitation.
  • It is good practice to select facilitators with relevant expertise in the module to be delivered, particularly with the more technical modules such as Electoral Systems and Boundary Delimitation. While a good facilitator will be able to deliver any of the BRIDGE content, having experience in the area of the module provides credibility and clarity. A combination of expertise can also benefit a facilitation team.
  • While local facilitators should be prioritised, it can also be beneficial to include non-local facilitators, or facilitators from different backgrounds, who can bring an alternative perspective to the facilitation team.
  • If possible, issues of conflicting or complementary personalities should be taken into account, as the way a facilitation team works together is of vital importance to the success of the workshop.
  • There are some forms of BRIDGE that can only be run by certain categories of facilitator, such as the TtF or Implementation Workshop.

Determining facilitator numbers

Different programs will have different facilitator requirements, and program organisers will need to decide early on how many local facilitators they will need to train to support a sustainable program.

Questions the program team should ask are:

  • How big is the program?
  • How many staff are to be trained?
  • What length of training would be ideal or preferred?
  • What length of training is proposed (and funded)?
  • Is there a dedicated training department?

Other things to consider include:

  • Availability – how much time will potential local facilitators be able to commit to the program? An organisation which could dedicate a few training staff would need fewer than an organisation which trained operational staff as facilitators who would not be able to be released as often to conduct program activities.
  • Stability – are the people being considered as facilitators likely to stay with the organisation, or is there a culture of turnover? In a very stable organisation which can identify key permanent staff who will be committed to a long-term project, there may not be a need for as many facilitators to be trained.
  • Diversity – can people from different parts of the organisation, different backgrounds, different levels be trained as facilitators? Because the make-up of a facilitation team is so vital, having a diverse group of facilitators to select from helps in creating a workshop that will fit varying objectives.
  • Support – are there enough facilitators, so that the responsibility does not fall on just the same people all the time? Facilitation work should be shared and rotated, to allow all facilitators to be involved and to develop their skills, and to also allow them to take a break or have a backup. A larger pool of facilitators is better than relying on a core group who end up taking all the responsibility.
Ben
Ben

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