Beirut Diary: I’m in Beirut for the week as part of The E-Mediat project, a capacity building project that leverages a networked approach. I’m the lead for Zoetica where my role is to deliver training, advise on the curriculum and coaching methods, model transparency, and serve as meta network weaver. I have the honor of co-training with some of the best folks doing work in this part of the world. (Here’s the posts from Day 1 and Day 2)
The E-Mediat project is sponsored by MEPI, US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative and was created in response to Secretary Clinton’s announcement of Civil Society 2.0. The project is being managed by IIE and builds on a highly successful program launched in the Middle East five years ago, Women in Technology that trained over 10,000 women from 9 countries in the Middle East and in collaboration with over 60 training partners. A true public/private partnership, the funding partners include Microsoft and craiglist Charitable Fund.
Day 3 of the Train the Trainers session was devoted to Digital Activism and facilitated by Mary Joyce. The learning objectives:
- To provide participants with a formula for training digital campaign strategy
- To reflect on how these modules might be used in their own trainings
The session provided strategy theory and a simulation exercise based on creating a digital activism campaign for the Story of Electronics film (that now has Arabic sub-titles). There was a link from Day 2 about Networked NGOs which included a case study of how the project took a “networked approach” to its campaign.
The morning session focused on the building blocks of strategy – SMART objectives, audience identification, and messaging. Participants worked in teams to brainstorm a campaign to support the message in the film in their country. The environmental and recycling message was relevant to all in-country teams.
The next exercise was to focus on media choices. Although social media was the focus of the how-to trainings that are part of the trainer the trainers, this exercise was intended to help NGOs think through their media choices. It boils down to audience.
Mary Joyce used a remix of the Social Media Game that I created with David Wilcox back in 2007 and has subsequently been used by many other nonprofit technology trainers. Mary’s remix simplified the tool selection to what was being taught during the TOT. She created templates that the trainers could used to create cards in Arabic language.
Next, the concept of a networked campaign was introduced as was the timeline and action plan. The final exercise was a competition where each in-country team had to create a campaign, give a brief presentation, and got feedback from judges (IIE staff). The Jordan Team won!
One of the fun parts of the project for me is the opportunity to observe other trainers and learn from them. It was particularly rewarding to see instructional techniques (the social media game) that I had developed and been using since 2007 used by someone else. Mary did a fabulous job!
A couple of tips I picked up from observing Mary in action that will be particularly useful for trainings for participants where English isn’t their first language.
1.) Simplify, simplify, simplify. Both language and what you’re teaching.
2.) Localize and make it relevant
3.) Even if you have a video with sub-titles, the speakers might be speaking too fast. Have participants summarize what they heard in their native language.
4) Mary had a “laptops down” rule and only allowed participants to be online during breaks.
5.) We lost electricity and could not use the powerpoint. Mary did not loose a beat. She used the white board to draw the concepts in the slides.
6.) Framing of session. Often it gets messy when you’re training the trainers in a skill they will need to acquire along with having them train others. Mary’s session was one where she was modeling how they might teach the topic, not teaching them the topic. It is important to add this framing.
The Yemen Team has some additional reflections on their workshop blog.