Four hands on the steering wheel? Co-facilitation in action

Thank you to all who attended yesterdays’ facilitation webinar for IAF India, and especially to Preetha Raghav and the IAF India team for their invitation and support and to my co-hosts Martin Farrell of get2thepoint and Sunny Walker of the Virtual Facilitation Collaborative. It was a rich and engaging session for us, so I hope also for others. Thanks also to those who live tweeted on the #FacInd hashtag – a couple of their tweets are below.

Martin Farrell wrote “As we see some world leaders promoting division and hatred, facilitators’ skills of collaboration are ever more essential. Yes we practice listening deeply to our client’s needs, and engaging participants. To challenge ourselves, let’s also take our skills to the next level by practicing co-facilitation. There are great benefits and also great dangers.”

This highly interactive 90-minute session was hosted in Adobe Connect to offer an experience of co-facilitation in a virtual environment. We offered a framework and some tips and tools for co-facilitation, illustrated by a case study.

Session materials & additional resources shared include:


For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining my free facilitation webinars online, and IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

Some reflections on my four years as ICAI President

strategic directions

Happy New Year! It is 4 years since my first New Year’s message as ICAI President in the Global Buzz and my term is now complete and I have handed over to my very capable successor Lisseth Lorenzo. I am looking forward to continuing my involvement with ICAI this year as webmaster, looking after the ICAI website and social media. In the meantime, further to my final column in the November issue of Winds & Waves magazine Looking Back & Forward, I would like to share a few reflections on my term as President – some of our achievements that I am proud of, and some of my own hopes for ICAI’s future.

Most of all I am proud that we have succeeded, I think, in raising our ambition as a Board and as a global community, and I hope that that will continue.  That was my aim in convening a face-to-face meeting of our virtual Board in May 2015, at which we articulated the three Strategic Directions by which I have structured my reflections.

ICAI Board 2015 in Tanzania1. Fostering global connections and & collaboration to support ICAs to thrive

I am proud that our global network has experienced a resurgence in numbers, with now 24 current statutory members and no less than 9 new Associate members welcomed by the General Assembly since 2012. I hope that ICAI will continue to attract increasing involvement and commitment of all ICAs, partners and others that share our mission and values.

I am proud that all five of our regions worldwide have now established a pattern of meeting annually face-to-face, and some regularly online as well, and that these regional gatherings are increasingly including more ICAs and ICA colleagues and supporting greater connectedness and collaboration.  I hope that this will continue, and that it will extend to enable also face-to-face capacity building between regions and by means of a new ICAI Global Conference on Human Development.

I am proud that members have connected and collaborated substantially by means of several new ICAI global working groups since 2012, in addition to the pre-existing global Publications team and the global Board nominations committee. New groups have worked on global policy for ICA’s Technology of Participation facilitation methodology, on options for the next ICAI Global Conference and on collaboration with the International Association of Facilitators, and in participating in UN processes by means of ICAI’s UN consultative status. I hope that these and other global working groups will continue to encourage and support such ‘peer-to-peer’ support and collaboration among ICAs and between ICAs and new global partners.

I am proud that the new ICAI website launched in 2015 provides a versatile and engaging platform for member ICAs and ICA colleagues to communicate with each other and with the wider world.  I hope that more and more ICAs and ICA colleagues will find it worth their while to make use of it and its integrated social media, and that I will have more time as webmaster than I did as President to support them to do so – and to further develop it to better meet their needs. I hope that better integrating Winds & Waves magazine and our monthly bulletin the Global Buzz with our website and social media will enable and encourage more contributions and more readers, and greater connectedness and collaboration as a result, and that I will be able to support that as webmaster.

2. Boosting ICAI resilience and safeguarding the integrity of our global community

I am proud that we have clarified and refined criteria and procedures for ICAI membership since 2012, for both statutory and associate membership, and established a global membership survey by which members may hold themselves accountable to each other against those criteria.  I hope that that survey may be repeated annually by means of the online forms integrated with the new website, and that roles and curriculum or other materials will also be developed by which ICAs may better support each other and new members in meeting the criteria and demonstrating to each other that they do so.

I am proud that our global Board has developed effective teamwork and governance practices, notwithstanding the challenges of working as a diverse virtual team on a minimal budget. These include renewed Bylaws, monthly online Board meetings & bi-annual online General Assemblies, and responsible financial management including financial support for member initiatives.  I hope that the new Board will meet face-to-face early in 2017 to re-establish itself as a new team, and to develop a new strategy and business plan by which we all might continue to raise our ambitions further.  I hope that members will approve and contribute generously to a new ICAI budget that allows for that meeting, and for additional financial support for member initiatives including face-to-face capacity building and global strategy development.

3. Recognising & leveraging ICA wisdom and nurturing new leadership

I am proud that ICAI has been able to use its communication channels to share and amplify members’ approaches, achievements & learnings, and that these plus our global working groups, online and regional gatherings are indeed helping to nurture our collective global wisdom and new leadership.  I hope that members will collaborate globally to develop and apply a new global curriculum and materials by which to better share and leverage both historic and new ICA wisdom & leadership globally.

I am proud to have served as President these past four years, and to be able to leave such a strong and capable Board with strong and capable new leadership.  I am grateful to all my colleagues on the Board and in our wider membership, for all their support and participation in our collective efforts to ‘advance human development worldwide’.

I can be contacted now at webmaster@ica-international.org and via www.martingilbraith.com. Emails addressed to president@ica-international.org are now received by Lisseth.


This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, January 2017.

ICA International Board update, May 2016

ICAI Global Buzz, October 2015
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, May 2016.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


At our April meeting the ICAI Board agreed a draft agenda for the upcoming June 23 online General Assembly meetings, which has now been circulated to members. As usual, two online meetings will be held at 10am & 5pm UK time to accommodate different times zones, and online voting will be by surveymonkey over the following 10 days. Please contact us if you have any additions or revisions to the agenda, and please let us have any papers to be shared (and in particular any resolutions for a vote) before the next Board meeting on May 19 so that we can circulate them soon after that.

We have also announced a change of date for our second GA meetings of the year, to be held now on October 20 instead of in December. This is to bring forward the Board election so that any new members will have a couple of months induction period before their new term begins.

Education for Global CitizenshipWe are grateful to ICA Japan Board member Shizue Inagaki for accepting the Board’s invitation to the membership to be nominated to represent ICA International at the 66th United Nations DPI NGO Conference in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea from 30 May-1 June “Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together“.  Please contact us or ICA Japan  if you would like to connect with Shizue about the conference.

Best wishes to ICAs and ICA colleagues from accross the Americas for their face-to-face regional meeting being hosted this month  by ICA Peru.

Excellence in facilitation

W&W April 2016 cover image 900x600Welcome to this April 2016 issue of Winds & Waves, the online magazine of ICA International, on the theme “Excellence in Facilitation”.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) has for decades employed facilitation as a core strategy in our mission of ‘advancing human development worldwide’. When I myself first trained with ICA in the UK, as an international volunteer to a Human Development Project of ICA in India in 1986, a core element of that training was in what was then referred to as ‘ICA methods’ – what is now known worldwide as ICA’s ‘Technology of Participation’ (ToP) facilitation methodology. Facilitation remains central to our approach to doing human development, and to being ICA.

This facilitative approach is more critical today than ever in enabling the human family to address the great challenges and opportunities that are now facing us and our planet. We argue, in an ICAI statement submitted this month to the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA), that facilitation has a key role to play in moving from commitments to results, transforming public institutions and leadership for the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In this issue you will find a diverse collection of stories illustrating how ICAs and colleagues of our global network are applying such a facilitative approach in a variety of settings, from local to global, often in peer-to-peer collaboration with each each other.

A rehabilitation project of ICA Nepal brings hope to those affected by that country’s earthquake, supported by ICA Australia. ICA Taiwan builds a learning community through ‘Truth About Life’ dialogues. ICA Chile partners with the Ministry of Social development and with Global Facilitators Serving Communities (GFSC) in leadership development work with disabled people.  ICA Peru supports comprehensive community development programmes in high altitude mountain communities affected by climate change. Emerging Ecology USA and ICA India develop a capacity building curriculum, building on ICA’s original Human Development Training Institutes of the 1970s.

Ann Epps of LENS International Malaysia reflects on the Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) programme of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), founded in 1994 by 70 ICA ToP facilitators including Ann herself. Winds & Waves editor Rosemary Cairns reflects on the role played by facilitation in turning volunteers into a social movement, through a Community Revitalization through Democratic Action programme in Serbia following the NATO bombing of 1999.  I myself share a reflection on how facilitation, and ICA’s ToP Participatory Strategic Planning process in particular, helped Oxfam in Lebanon last year embark on a complex and challenging change process in the midst of a complex and challenging response to the unfolding Syria crisis (see also Facilitating change in complexity).

Meanwhile, ICAI members continue to step up their peer-to-peer support and collaboration through means of online and regional ICA gatherings, and ICAI global working groups as well.  ICAs in East & Southern Africa met in Zimbabwe in March, ICAs of the Americas are now preparing to meet in Peru in May and ICAs of West Africa, Europe MENA and Asia Pacific are making plans for their own regional gatherings later in the year.

In order to enhance the reach and impact of our ToP facilitation approach worldwide, the ICAI global ToP working group is busy developing proposals to support implementation of the global ToP policy agreed last year, drawing on insights gleaned responses to a recent global ToP survey. The ICAI Board is pleased to have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) to promote and support greater collaboration between our two organizations, our respective members and our local groups around the world.

Thank you to all who have contributed to this new issue of Winds & Waves.  Enjoy this issue, and please share it and encourage others to do so.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
hyperlinks are to the regular online version

President’s message

Winds & Waves Masthead

Behind the scenes

Polish your writing skills

Facilitation

Turning volunteers into social
movement
 by Rosemary Cairns

The truth about life experience
By Richard West

Designing a strategy  process
for Oxfam
by Martin Gilbraith

Setting sharp standards by Ann Epps

Training

Life skills for building communities by Nelson Stover                              

Education

Studying sports and mind-body
link in India
 by Nelson Stover

ICA Reports

ICA NEPAL

Rehab project brings hope to quake
victims
by Binita Subedi

ICA CHILE

Working with the disabled in 2016by Isabel dela Maza

ICA PERU

Economic plan inspires mountain towns by Gloria Santos and Jesusa Aburto

Perspectives

Being present to life (English) by Teresa Sosa Vegas

Estando Presente (Spanish) by Teresa Sosa Vegas

Poetry

Manilamen: the ‘Outsiders’ within by Deborah Ruiz Wall

The litmus test of Worth by Deborah Ruiz Wall


This post was first published in Winds and Waves, April 2016. For past issues, please visit our Winds and Waves archive.

ICA International Board update, March 2016

ICAI Global Buzz, October 2015
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, March 2016.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


At our February Board meeting we were pleased to approve a request for financial support toward the cost of an ICA Americas regional gathering to be hosted by ICA Peru in May, and another toward the cost of producing three issues of Winds & Waves magazine in 2016.

We heard updates on prospective candidates for associate membership in India, the Philippines, Poland, France, Russia and the Czech Republic, and on the work of the ICAI Global Conference working group and the ICAI global ToP (Technology of Participation) policy working group.

We approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) to promote and support greater collaboration between our two organisations, our respective members and our local groups around the world. The first step toward implementation will be to establish a joint working group comprised of three representatives each of ICAI & IAF, to identify and follow up opportunities.

We reviewed and updated our Board plans for 2016 in light of developments since our 2015-16 planning meeting in Tanzania last May.  Now that there will be no Global Conference in 2016 at which we might also convene a face-to-face Board meeting, we plan to announce Board elections at a General Assembly in October instead of June (or December).  This will enable a two month induction period for new Board members before their terms begin in January. We will explore options and costs for holding a face-to-face Board meeting in conjunction with an ICA regional gathering during that period, for induction and planning as we did last year in Tanzania, and consider including that in a revised 2016 budget for GA approval.

We invited ICAI members to collaborate to draft a statement for submission to the 15th session of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration on the topic “Moving from commitments to results: transforming public institutions to facilitate inclusive policy formulation and integration in the implementation and monitoring of the sustainable development goals”.  ICAI is invited to contribute a statement on account of our UN Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC.

Svetlana continues to host weekly ICAI online dialogues in google hangout, including this month a session facilitated by Martin “What is Human Development?“.

We are grateful to the many ICAs that have renewed their dues to ICAI since the General Assembly in December, and those that have updated and completed their ICA profiles on the ICAI website. We are grateful also to the 64 ICA representatives and other readers who have responded already to our Winds & Waves magazine online readership survey.

How engaging can a large facilitated online session be?

Economics of climate change mitigation options in the forest sectorThis was the question that intrigued me when I was first invited to work with with the Forestry Economics team of FAO, to design and facilitate an online conference this month on the Economics of climate change mitigation options in the forest sector.  The answer, as it turns out, is pretty engaging!

FAO approached me last September for my experience with the Adobe Connect online meeting platform, with which they are also familiar and which they had chosen to use for the project. Their aims for the conference were to connect researchers, practitioners and others to learn from each other on the costs and benefits of various mitigation options in the forestry sector in different countries, to gather data for a forthcoming FAO publication and perhaps also to establish a community of practice among participants for further learning and collaboration in the future.

The team had not before convened such a substantial online conference, however, and were uncertain how many people they would attract to be involved. Our initial design was for a series of six 90-minute sessions for up to 100 people each, involving a keynote presentation and two shorter case studies followed by questions and answers with the presenters and some small group discussion in break-out rooms. As registrations came in from prospective participants and presenters we were keen to accommodate as many of them as as we could, and our ambitions grew.  I was thankful to have partnered on the project with Sheila Cooke of 5Deep, as meeting producer and co-facilitator, for her extensive experience of working with Adobe Connect and with FAO as well.

In the end the conference attracted more than 1,600 registrations from 127 countries, and 126 case studies from 47 counties. Fifty-one presentations on the six conference themes have been shared on the conference website, and over 700 people already have attended the first three sessions.  Our remaining sessions continue tomorrow and next week – see below for how to join.

The design we settled on is for six sessions of two hours, using an Adobe Connect ‘seminar room’ with a maximum capacity of 1,500. Participants engage through submitting typed questions for presenters, and responding to questions themselves by text chat and polls. Pre-recorded presentations are replayed by video, to reduce the technical risks of delivering the presentations live. Up to a dozen presenters and expert panellists respond live to questions put to them, and they discuss participants’ typed responses to questions put to them. We dispensed with the idea of small group discussion in breakout rooms because of the technical challenge of supporting so many people to configure their own audio to be heard effectively.

The conference teamThe FAO team (led by Illias Animon, Forestry Officer- Economics, and comprising Ruth Mallet, Eros Fornari, Sarah Butler, Marcelo Rezende and Johan Trennestam) lead all content-related tasks, select and assign questions for presenters and also provide technical support behind the scenes to participants and panellists.

After a brief technical orienation and introduction, each session begins with a series of questions to participants to help them and the panellists know something of who is in the room and what experience and interests they bring to the session. The keynote presentation then provides an overview of the topic, followed by questions and answers with the keynote presenter. Each of the additional presenters is then invited to introduce themselves and their presentations briefly, before participants vote for one presentation to view together in full during the session followed by questions and answers with that presenter.

A panel discussion follows, where all panellists share and discuss responses to questions raised by participants before and during the session, on all of their presentations. During the following plenary discussion, participants are invited to share what successes they are proud of, what challenges they face and what resources and other support they can share, while panellists respond and discuss verbally.

The session closes with a brief summary of key points raised, and an opportunity for participants to evaluate the session and share feedback, and what follow-up actions they would like to see or take themselves. Feedback has been largely very positive so far, with more than 60% rating yesterday’s session 9 or 10 out of 10 overall.

If you are wondering just how engaging such a large facilitated online session can be, then join us for one of the remaining sessions, or watch out for the session recordings to be posted to the conference website.

If you are wondering how you might engage large or smaller numbers of people through virtual facilitation, then please do contact me – and see Sheila’s Virtual Facilitation Online training course with ICA USA.

In the meantime, for a flavour of the conference and the importance of its content, take a look at the opening remarks recorded for our first session by Dr. Eva Muller, Director of FAO’s Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division:


For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining my free facilitation webinars online, and IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

ICA International Board update, January 2015

ICAI Global Buzz, Sseptember 2014
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, January 2015.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


In December we held two online General Assembly (GA) meetings in Adobe Connect on December 12 (early & late for different time zones), and we conducted asynchronous voting on GA resolutions by Surveymonkey poll between December 12-22.  Full reports were circulated to members before Christmas.

The aims of the ICAI General Assembly, currently held twice per year in June & December, are:

  • to take ICAI membership decisions, including approval of Associate & Statutory memberships
  • to take ICAI strategy & policy decisions, to direct the work of the Board and to guide & support the peer-to-peer collaboration among ICAs
  • to elect the ICAI Board and hold it accountable to the membership, including by receipt of an annual finance report.

A total of sixteen member ICAs were represented by 24 participants at the two online meetings, and 23 of 24 statutory member ICAs participated in the asynchoronous voting.  We are grateful to all who participated.

A full 2013 Financial Statement was presented to the membership, along with summary financial report and Board report for 2014, and a budget for 2015-16 was approved. Two new Associate members were approved for membership, and five new Board members were elected, succeeding four retiring members and bringing the total to eight. The ICAI working group on global conference was extended to work with six potential hosts to recommend a programme and budget for ICAI global conferencing to the GA in June 2015. A revised draft global ToP (Technology of Participation) policy, incorporating feedback from global consultation, was presented by the ICAI global ToP working group for discussion with a view to bringing the policy to a GA vote in the new year.

I take this opportunity now to congratulate, thank and welcome our five new members joining the Board from 1 January – Shizuyo Sato of ICA Japan (a former Board member and President of ICAI), Svetlana Salamatova of ICA Ukraine, Lisseth Lorenzo of ICA Guatmala, Adufu Yawo Gator of ICA Togo and Charles Luoga of ICA Tanzania.  Also I offer warmest thanks on behalf of all the Board and members for the service of our outgoing Board members – Isabel De La Maza of ICA Chile, Shankar Jadhav of ICA India, Gerald Gomani of ICA Zimbabwe and Krishna Shrestha of ICA Australia.  And of course many thanks to my two fellow continuing Board members, Seva Gandhi of ICA USA and Staci Kentish of ICA Canada. At our January meeting this week, the new Board will be joined by outgoing Board members to reflect and learn from the experience of 2013-14 as a prelude to induction, teambuilding and planning for 2015-16.

I am also delighted to welcome now our two new Associate members the Development Institute of Ghana (nominated by ICA Ghana, ICA Zimbabwe & ICA:UK) and Emerging Ecology of USA (nominated by ICA USA, ICA India, ICA Nepal).  Find them now, and all of our worldwide community, on our online Global Network map.