Learning to be a Facilitator

The second week of Balloon Kenya has been an eye opening experience.  In my life I have never thought that I would be a facilitator because it’s a profession that requires a lot of understanding and passion.  The training I have acquired for the  past week has enabled me to face this challenge with confidence even though from time to time, I questioned myself; my concerns lay with delivering the relevant information in the most simple and coherent way possible.

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My first session was held in a small village church in the town of Lanet, where the people made us feel very welcome. The area was serene, beautiful and very green with a lot of different types of crops which gave me the impression that the land was relatively fertile.  The most touching thing was after the session the locals generously invited us to their homes. I was impressed and proud to be part of this community.

I was assigned to work with two groups the Perfectors and Noko Kona.  The majority of the Perfectors are students studying cosmetology while Noko Kona are a mix of local businessmen and women from the Lanet area.  What united them was that they were both keen to learn how to create and make a business successful.  Despite having a lot of other commitments such as work and family they tried to avail themselves.  We introduced the (BMC) Business Model Canvas to them, which they initially found confusing but after a few exercises they grasped the key concepts and were able to map out their business ideas using the tool.  The Perfectors were very easy to teach because the majority are still at school. Noko Kona are a very enthusiastic group and they work very well as part of a team despite their different levels of education. They were keen to assist each other which I thought,  showed true commitment and the spirit of oneness.

There have been a few challenges with reliability, punctuality and general misunderstandings. However we have managed to work through these and expectations from both parties have been established.  Language has also played a challenging role,  my colleagues don’t speak Swahili, however in such instances I have managed to intervene and translate to ease understanding and communication between the groups and us.

We have managed to assess each persons business ideas and come up with solutions and advice for each one.   We have been having extra meetings outside our scheduled days too, in order to ease the atmosphere and create a friendlier environment which will give them the confidence to share as well as have fun.

My facilitative experience has been one to remember and I have learnt a lot and met very lovely and inspiring people along the way.

Written by Izzy Kamau, Fellow 2013

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