Two days of sharing and profound reflections on the role of community facilitators in supporting communities to embrace the model of identifying local solutions to local problems. This was the experience for 50 community facilitators during a refresher training in Arua City under the auspices of UNNGOF and West Nile CSO Network from 19th-20th January 2023.
The refresher was attended by facilitators from 14 regions of Uganda and aimed to take stock of the past training engagements (Facilitation Skills and Mobilising Support), progress made, learnings, and recommendations of how best they can execute their mandate.
Facilitated by Change the Game Academy trainers, the participants shared heart-warming stories/experiences of communities taking forward the ideals of local philanthropy. Among the numerous stories shared was one from Public Affairs Centre (PAC Uganda), where the organization's rent arrears had skyrocketed. Upon informing their communities, UGX. 1,800,000= was raised, and the landlord cleared! “In our communities, there is a great mindset change towards giving for development as people are willing to mobilize resources and contribute towards a common goal. I attribute this mindset shift to knowledge sharing and the training we got,” Emmanuel Okwi – Community Facilitator, PAC Uganda/Teso region.
The refresher also featured mind-blowing team-building practical sessions that painted a picture of how community members complement each other to tackle community problems. It displayed how a community wins or loses together, thus challenging community facilitators to appreciate the value of joint planning and execution of interventions. “This practical session has helped me appreciate how different people behave in a community and challenged me to ensure I work with everyone because each of us is gifted differently," a participant noted.
Participants revealed that they had been re-energized to continue supporting the programme engagements in a smarter, professional, and collective manner. There was also a commitment to improving the documentation of stories of change from communities to reinforce learning across regions.
These community facilitators are part of a pool of foot soldiers that will engage citizens at the grassroots towards local domestic resource mobilization throughout the 14 regions of Uganda. Over the life span of the Philanthropy for Development Programme, UNNGOF will partner with the Regional Advocacy Networks (RANs) to implement the programme at the regional level through community immersions, community dialogues and fireplace conversations. The community facilitators are instrumental in championing these engagements and creating buy-in for domestic resource mobilization as a solution.
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