Facilitating for Friends of the Earth in Malaysia

3-day evaluation of a long term EU project

Goal

Friend of the Earth International asked me to facilitate a three day evaluation of an EU-project together with the project coordinator.  Activists from seven Asian-Pacific groups came together in Malaysia for this self-evaluation. 

Process

After discussing it with the project coordinator, I made a concept plan which we discussed and reviewed until we were both satisfied. Because it was a fairly complex project (several years, a lot of different activities and a lot of partners) we started by having each country make a timeline.  We used this to determine the most successful moments. A context analysis of these moments helped to determined success factors and lessons.

Approach

With such longer meetings, it is important to be reticent of both the tempo and the need to make progress. I use humor to help people stay engaged. During the lunch and at the end of the day, I a checked in with the project coordinator. Our plan was a good basis for the program, but you can’t go faster than the group is willing to go.

Flexibility is necessary. Everyday we made changes in the program to ensure that the self-evaluation had enough body.

Facilitating an international group, in which you are not part of the culture, requires tact and good listening skills. When I was unsure, I asked for help.  Sometimes in the group and sometimes during breaks.