Africa A+ facilitation: enabling implementation
Africa A+’s lesson on facilitation began when the staff of the Rainbow ECD Centre in Masiphumelele requested a Christmas concert planning workshop. The A+ facilitators faced two challenges when planning the workshop: 1) if we believe that ‘People own what they create’ how do we support a school in planning a concert without introducing our own ideas, and 2) how do we facilitate the workshop in isiXhosa, the language of the teachers and the children? After much thought the A+ facilitators made two decisions. The first was to enable the workshop to take place in isiXhosa by translating every facilitation question into isiXhosa with the help of Google Translate and Vuyiswa Rapoyiya. The second was to create a ‘toolbox’ that would enable Rainbow to create a concert using their own ideas. A shoebox was decorated, labelled ‘concert planning toolbox’ and filled with stationary, recyclables (bottletops, sticks, etc), and stocked with four ‘tools’ called INSPIRATION, DISCUSSION, VISUALISATION and PLANNING.
On the 8th August the Africa A+ facilitators and the Rainbow staff spent an inspiring afternoon workshopping the Christmas concert. The concert planning ‘toolbox” was handed over to Rainbow. The INSPIRATION ‘tool’ was an experience i.e. a story dramatisation to music led by Shumi Chimombe (photos 1 – 3). The DISCUSSION ‘tool’ was a set of questions printed in isiXhosa and English that had the Rainbow staff discussing in isiXhosa the practicalities of putting on a concert e.g. ‘Where are the parents and caregivers going to sit? The VISUALISATION ‘tool’ had the Rainbow staff putting the ideas generated by the discussion tool down onto a large sheet of cardboard (photos 5 – 7) . The staff first drew a floor plan of their school and garden on the cardboard before laying out the bottle tops, sticks, blocks, and Lego. Each object represented a part of the concert e.g. where the parents would sit, where the children would get dressed, the siting of the stage, Father Christmas, and the refreshment tables. The last ‘tool’ PLANNING enabled reaching consensus before the staff recorded in a notebook each planned step, related action, timeframe, and person responsible. The result was a lively and animated workshop ending in a concert plan created and owned by the Rainbow staff. Patience, the 4 -5 year old educator, noted that “Collaboration is the best tool. I feel light now. The visuals helped a lot.”
The Rainbow ECD Centre held their Christmas concert on the 10th November (photos 8 – 12). It was delightful to see the implementation of the concert planning workshop. Although Africa A+ provided the inspiration and planning tools, the concert was the result of the Rainbow staff’s own creativity and hard work.