December 1, 2016
On 23 November 2016, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), together with Oxford University Associate Professor Fiona McConnell and Tibet Justice Centre, ran a workshop entitled “Training the Trainers”, in which participants from 10 different unrepresented nations, guided by a team of facilitators, discussed what makes an effective training session on UN advocacy. The workshop, the fourth and last of the larger programme “Training Diplomats from Unrepresented Nations: Capacity Building for Effective UN Lobbying”, was funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, 2015-2016.
Differently to previous sessions, 11 participants who took part in one or more of the other workshops of the programme, representing the Acheh, Al-Ahwaz, Assyria, Balochistan, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Gilgit Baltistan, Haratin, Ogaden and Uyghur communities, as well as Somaliland, were specifically selected to participate in the workshop, which took place on the premises of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in Geneva.
After an introductory session on how the workshop aimed to empower the participants to lead their own training sessions, participants exchanged views on what makes an effective training session, based on workshops they had run or participated in. The discussion focused on the importance of attending training sessions for the purpose of community building, especially to inspire and involve the youth in advocacy efforts, and skills sharing through group work.
The facilitators, Oxford University Associate Professor Fiona McConnell and UNPO’s Tommaso Nodari, guided the participants through the structure and content of the draft training pack, a tailor-made manual to support the participants in facilitating trainings on UN Advocacy. The hypothetical training outlined in the pack groups a number of sessions in four separate sections divided by themes. These sections provide participants with a template for several activities and resources to guide workshops on various topics. The participants engaged with this content, comparing what activities and resources would best suit their potential training sessions.
In the afternoon, the participants engaged in a discussion on what skills and qualities make a good facilitator. The discussion highlighted the importance of an interactive facilitator who is well prepared, has good communication skills and makes sure that all participants are involved and get their chance to share their opinion. The participants were then invited to prepare a small session to facilitate for the group, such as on how to give a 3-minute speech at the UN or the advantages and challenges of collaboration. This was then followed by a feedback session, whereby the group exchanged views, advice and constructive criticism on their respective sessions.
The last part of the workshop looked into the practicalities of running a training, inviting participants to brainstorm in small groups the essential tasks to remember before a workshop. This was then followed by a discussion on social media coverage of a training session, which shed a light on how to reach the right audience and report live from an event. Participants compared their experiences with social media and media coverage in general, also pointing out the importance of using these channels for UN advocacy.
Throughout the day, participants engaged in vibrant discussions with the facilitators and among themselves, sharing their experiences as trainers and facilitators for their communities. Additionally, most of them stayed in Geneva after the workshop to attend the UN Forum on Minority Issues that followed the 24 and 25 November 2016, as well as the side-event organised by UNPO on 25 November 2016.
To read more about the project, please visit the Training Programme’s website.