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19 jun

It is not possible to fall asleep

It must have been about a year ago that I saw a group of around 15 VNG colleagues with colourful balloons presenting themselves as the newly trained group of in-house facilitators. Where I first saw them as a free of charge excellent support to my work, I must admit, I was also convinced that facilitating is a skill that touches upon the core of my work. So the idea of being one myself came up too often to avoid the thought.

The enthusiasm of one of the facilitators convinced me in the end to write a motivation letter for the 10 day (!) training to become an excellent facilitator. After interview, I was one of the lucky few for who a new world opened.

Working for over 12,5 years at VNG International, of course I knew how to stand in front of groups, and even before that, there are embarrassing photos of me as a nearly 6 year old screaming instructions to my classmates. That screaming for sure had never had any impact, maybe my other interventions had at least some.

The adjunct director of VNG writes in our brand new in-house publication ‘succesvolle sessies, fantastisch faciliteren: ‘facilitators are the important connectors within our organisation. By together and in a creative and innovative way thinking through issues, colleagues will be moved. A development which helps teams and organisations to renew and improve. In short: facilitastic! … Facilitators are of great value to make sessions more fun and effective.‘

The only thing I now needed to do was… bring it in practice. Super proud of me completing the training and scared of what my colleagues might think, I had confidence enough that I can make sessions more fun and effective. After some in-house trials, I was super happy with the recognition and invitation to facilitate the first VNG International Great Lakes meeting. 18 colleagues from home-office, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and Burundi met in Kigali and…

Had fun during all the sessions! Oh, and yes we are now a closer family then before, we have a vision for the region, we can pitch each other’s work, we have identified follow up actions, and have a WhatsApp group in which too many photos and thoughts are shared.

Where most complimented upon the active involvement they had felt during all the sessions in which they were able to share their thoughts and opinions, and how they draw the stories of their colleagues, interviewed each other, speed dated, negotiated etc. one colleague came up to me and said that he felt so tired, and that it is impossible to fall asleep during my sessions. I saw the disappointment in his eyes.

Irene Oostveen

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