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Shari Cohen

sharicohen@hotmail.com

 

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My Most Significant Change Story

November 5, 2015

I work with the community on child protection projects. There is a community dialogue component of prevention which involves creating awareness and practices of social norms that contribute to child abuse.  When I got the invitation to the C4D ToT Learning Lab, and after looking at the agenda, I formed a partial picture of how this training event might be, based on my previous training experiences. I was really only curious about the title "Learning Lab."  Well, three days into the Learning Lab and my experience is very different from the partial picture I had formed in my mind.  And it's different in many ways, and I like the uniqueness of the whole experience. This training has already had great impact on me and it's only the third day. I can confidentally say it has influenced my mode of thinking, observing and acting.

 

So what brought about these changes?  Everything about the Learning Lab contributed, but I will highlight those aspects that are most exciting!  First, the facilitators creativity in preparation and arranging the actual space has opened up new possibilties for exploration and collaboration by allowing participants to mingle with different people each day.

 

Facilitators also pose questions that allow participants to question or reflect on the way we currently carry out our work, and help guide us in identifing alternative possibilities of enhancing our work.

 

The sessions are exciting and insightful!  And example is the picture of the boxer, Mohammed Ali. This visual discussion starter made me realize that I haven't been observant enough of the community I'm working with.  Learning the concepts of 360 Degree Observation and the 3 H's has changed my perception of the community from being "beneficiaries" towards being "rights holders".  I have learned to be empathetic towards rights holders, which is more empowering than viewing them in a sympathetic way, which disempowers them.

 

The session on C4D and Youth Programming really touched me and I realized that as much as I have good intentions for the community, if I don't involve them and let them participate in the project, I might end up with projects that don't meet their needs.

 

The session on FGD vs. CDM provoked self-reflection on my responsibilities to rights holders.  Through the 5 Whys I realized I shuldn't take all things at "face value" (immediate cause), but take the time to get to the root causes of any issue I am working with.

 

I know I can't have a complete change of how the community dialogues are carried out because they are already happening, but I have the confidence now to enhance them to be more rights-based and inclusive.

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