OL 344 Assignment Four Homework
Online Learning: OL 344 Adapting to Climate Change: Sustainable Implementation.


This week’s resources:
Assignment Four Discussion
Magee Example Project Assignment Four

Assignment Four. Project Launch: Leading a Participatory Workshop in a CBA Long-term Skill Set

Part one.
The first thing to do for your workshop is to make sure that you are well-prepared. That you have people to meet with, you have a place to hold a workshop, and you have the materials that you will need.

If you’ve decided to offer snacks or a nutritious luncheon, you have chosen recipes and have a plan for purchasing the food and putting someone in charge of preparing it so that you aren’t distracted from facilitating the workshop. You also have cups or glasses, tea and water, plates and cutlery, napkins, and a way to clean up at the end.

If you arranged the workshop for Saturday, then you still have this week to fine tune the details.

Since this will be your first workshop actually teaching the community how to do something on their own, it’s really very good idea to go back to the community prior to the workshop and have a tour led by a knowledgeable villager of the context that your workshop is going to be about. You may learn some things that you didn’t know, you may have your memory refreshed about things that you did know once, but most importantly the context will be fresh in your mind for when you begin the workshop.

Part two.
Hopefully you brought colleagues to help you facilitate the workshop—especially if you break it into groups (of men and of women, or of teenagers and of parents).

The lesson plan that you adapted for leading the workshop from one of your other lesson plans will be very helpful in both the preparation in advance (because it suggests materials that you will need) but it also tells you what to do at each stage of the exercises so that you can stay on track.

It is good to begin the workshop with an icebreaker (sing a song or play a game) and introductions around the room. We want to make sure that everyone is comfortable being there, that they feel safe enough to say what’s on their mind, and that there is a certain amount of enthusiasm in the room in order to encourage participation.

Take notes throughout the day right onto the lesson plan to remind you about things that went well, things that didn’t go well, and how long the different segments took. For example, you might find that the workshop only took four hours to do rather than the six hours you estimated.

Large sheets of paper and markers are also a great way to take notes. As your community members say interesting things you can jot them down on his large sheets of paper and use them later as reminders of what was said, what people’s reactions were, and what was and wasn’t working. This information will create a good baseline of where the community is now—that you can use for a comparison when the project finishes in 2 years.

I know that you will be tired at the end of the day but I would take a few minutes when you get home to go through the lesson plan and make a few more notes. The next time you give this workshop or when one of your colleagues wants to give this workshop you can clean up the lesson plan to reflect what really happened. Even a year from now your notes will be very useful.

I would also recommend meeting with your team the next day to get their perceptions of how the workshop went and if any improvements could be made the next time that you give it.

Be sure to take photographs. You should get your volunteer helpers to take photographs of you as well. Be sure to take:

  • some close-up detailed shots of some of the participants,
  • close-up detailed shots of the materials that you use
  • interesting drawings that you might have done in your large sheets of paper
  • take shots of the whole group
  • take careful shots of the charts on the large pieces of paper that are the results of the 5 exercises — like the map, and the calendar
  • photos of you in action—both in front of the group and close-ups of you with individuals

I would suggest that you read our field guide on taking photographs:

One of the biggest challenges that I see with nonprofits is a shortage of good quality photographs. Get close-ups of people so that they fill the frame of the photograph. Make sure they’re smiling and looking at you. Make sure the lighting is good and that the photograph is in focus. If you’re taking photographs outside where there’s lots of glare, use your flash – it will balance out the glare. Look at the photograph of the woman with the green banana plant to see what I mean. Take close-up pictures of people doing things – action shots. Take pictures of people doing the exercises in the workshop — such as drawing the map of the community or filling in the calendar — get right in there up close to take the photograph.

Don’t take too many long distance shots because it’s difficult to understand what they’re about. Don’t take pictures of the back of people looking at something — take pictures of the front of people looking at something. When you’re composing your photograph make sure that there are not a lot of busy things happening in the background to distract from your subject. Please consider reading through the newsletter. If we decide to feature your project in one of our newsletters — one of the criteria in our decision-making process about who we feature is in the quality of the photographs they send us.

Here are some examples:

Take photographs of the charts that you develop in the workshop exercises.

Good luck at the workshop and enjoy yourself!

The homework to turn in will be:
1. A short summary of what you did in the workshop and how it was received by the community members.
2. A few photographs of the workshop—the attendees—and of yourself too.
3. A photograph of charts or drawings or maps that you may have developed during the workshop.
4. A short paragraph on what worked well and also of things that you might do differently next time.

Go to Magee’s Example Project Assignment Four to see what this could look like.

See you next week.