Tuesday, November 3, 2015

James tell us about his experience delivering workshops in the Inclusion Project

This is my first attempt to write a blog post, and I honestly don’t know how to start one. So I’m going to start at the beginning, and start with the intended topic. The main part of this post is the importance of prior preparation, proper planning and precise implantation. This week saw my group learn the importance of these factors the hard way. By no means did have our team have a bad week. On the contrary, I feel that the team should be commended for the adaptability and flexibility they showed to respond to changing circumstances.

My team is the Inclusión team, and we work to improve the rights and lives of people with disability in La Paz. We work with multiple organisations, and deliver several workshops a week on varying topics. This week we also had responsibility to provide the guided learning session to the other teams based in La Paz, the title of the presentation being aptly ‘The Importance of Youth in Development’. We found out this week that no matter how busy our schedule might be, you always need to leave enough time to prepare sufficiently.

The first incidence that should have shed some light on the matter was the difficulties we had when we tried to implement our plans to design and paint a mural at APRECIA, the school for those who are blind or have multiple learning disabilities. Not only was our original design too complex and action packed for the wall it was to be on, we forgot that as it was practical work, we were going to get our hands dirty. As the wall had to be sanded down as well, by the end of the day we were all covered in blue chalky dust. Not that we didn’t have a little fun doing it though!

The second incidence showed us how a proper plan takes hard work. Thursday afternoon saw us planning for the guided learning session the next morning. At the start we only had an outline of a plan and a few notes from research. By the end, we had more or less had divided responsibility between us for different sections of the presentation and had a working power-point with the bare essence of a script. That said it was clear to all of us that although Friday morning went surprising well, the whole experience could have been planned better. Case in point, in an interactive segment of the presentation, one of the questions we asked our audience confused Niger with Nigeria, two very different countries. Something that was lost in translation meant the correct answer to the question wasn’t actually available. It was laughed off at the time, and we managed to work around it successfully- showing in how delivering workshops, you should be prepared to be adaptable.

The third example I want to briefly mention was our sports workshop with Lurañani on Saturday. Effective implantation of a workshop does not necessary mean everything resolves according to plan. At the very least it didn’t on Saturday, when we were forced to think on our feet several times, but still delivered good and enjoyable event. There were problems concerning finding a location, more people turning up than expected, being unable to do one of the planned activities and dealing with the unpredictable climate. That meant that what actually happened was quite different than what was planned. That said, having worked with, around and through the issues, I wouldn’t change the event at all.

In summary, being properly prepared and having a great plan are excellent factors in putting together the best workshop. What I learned this week however, is that leaving room to manoeuvre and being adaptable enough to make sure people enjoy the presentation is just as vital.

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