Monday, 26 May 2008

Togetthere goes for team training on Compart

On 22nd May I took part in a team training on CompartFlower, organised for Togetthere, the youth programme of ICCO & Kerk in Actie. It was the first CompartFlower team training organised, with the purpose of not only getting acquainted with the techniques but, foremost, to discuss and plan application of Compart tools in the work of the team.
During trainings I followed lately I got the impression Compart tools could be of much use in programmes of Togetthere. Togetthere aims at involving youth in development issues by supporting them in a voluntary experience, paid job or group travel. Also, Togetthere supports young people in activities that contribute to growing support for development cooperation in the Netherlands (

It was by coincidence that, during one of the trainings, I sat next to Birthe Paul. Before her work with Euforic she had worked as a volunteer in Togo, a secondment facilitated by the German organisation ASA. She told me how ASA uses wiki’s to organise youth secondments and keep youth involved afterwards. This convinced me even more of the usefulness of a training for Togetthere. Not so much by coincidence this time was that ICCO and Euforic had just planned for team trainings..

Apart from my team members two junior experts took part in the training: Wendy and Adine. They are currently in the preparatory phase of their secondments to (respectively) Honduras and Pakistan. Their participation was a pilot to decide if CompartFlower training should become standard part of the training package for junior experts.

After an introduction in Compart and Flower we were introduced to experiences of Dirkje, junior expert at OCDIH (Honduras), who is currently working with D-groups within the partner organisation on institutional learning and with other Dutch professionals in the field on capacity assessment and development. Besides, her blog keeps a really large public at home involved in her experiences. Birthe explained, while showing the wiki’s, how ASA applies wiki successfully in its work. These experiences were of much use to get a clearer picture of how tools can successfully be applied in our kind of work.
Togetthere and the junior experts discussed seperately to which needs CompartFlower can be an answer, and which tools should (how) be applied.

The most important outcomes of the discussion of Togetthere are:
- While all youngsters seconded already use weblogs, we could standardize the use of blogger (with Togetthere lay-out) for this purpose. Blogger has several advantages over other blog applications, including the one on the Togetthere site.
- We want to use wiki to communicate with young people involved in our programmes, as well as with partners in Netherlands, Europe and Southern countries. Each of the four programmes should maybe have its own wiki. Information to be shared include: trainings (practical details and content), practical information that help youngsters prepare for going abroad, country/culture information, … (more to be generated).
- We could possibly use wiki for getting and keeping young people involved in the work of Togetthere, and in issues of development cooperation, ICCO & Kerk in Actie in particular. It could create bigger ownership and a sense of being able to make a difference.
- Another idea that was raised (not for the first time) is to develop a team blog on which we share news and experiences with our target groups, especially young people (willing to) participate in our programmes.

The junior experts Wendy and Adine concluded that:
- They expect to make use of the D-group CAD, exchanging with other (junior) experts on dilemma’s in capacity development.
- Another D-group could possibly be used to link up (more informally) to other juniors, which would be an answer to the felt need to communicate with fellow young professionals on their secondments (they now feel rather alone).
- It’s very recommendable to have a wiki on which young professionals could find all relevant information on secondments, in order to support their preparation. This also includes country/culture information (to be constructed by former young professionals).
- Besides, it would be worthwhile to have a personal tool (wiki?) to use as kind of working archive during their preparation. For this purpose a CompartFlower training should be given at the beginning of their preparation.
- They support the idea to standardize using blogger by all those seconded by Togetthere.

We concluded the training had a very motivating impact. We will surely continue the discussion in order to implement tools in our work. Thanks, Pier and Maarten!

Judith Grootscholten

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