ICA:UK has been working in partnership with our sister organisation in Benin since its inception in 2006. Most recently, using funding from our Village Volunteers fund and in partnership with Fourmis du Changement in France, we supported five days of facilitation training in Cotonou for ICA Benin staff members, volunteers and partners.

Twenty-six people attended this training, made up of ICA Benin staff and volunteers, partner organisations and members of community groups that ICA has been working with. The training consisted of 5 days, focusing on introducing participants to the Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop and Action Planning methods, Graphic Facilitation and ending with a day on applications- how the facilitation methods and skills could contribute to the future of ICA Benin.

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Participants and trainers at the training. The training was led by Lan Levy and Nicolas Verdot of Fourmis du Changement, covering both ToP methods and Graphic Facilitation

Kassimou Issotina, Director of ICA Benin, wrote, “This experience has been very rich for our ICA Benin board members and her staff. Personally, I was surprised to notice that it was a successful event. I was not sure that participants will be enough able to contribute to that. In the beginning, all the participants expressed their satisfaction to discover this new facilitation method and it powerful tools for community organizing and mobilization. From this moment, their participation has been better and they asked more questions in order to understand”.

On the last day of the training, the group explored how ICA Benin could best apply the methods. They reached several key recommendations: To strengthen facilitation initiatives; Visibility initiatives (including giving information through the radio, donor workshops); Involving the youth; Workshops in local languages; Mr Sarè, one of the participants, even offered 5 hectares of land to ICA Benin in Yarakèou to help them establish a project there.

Following the training the participants established an informal facilitation community which has already met and is communicating regularly as they put their new skills into practice. Both ICA:UK and Fourmis di Changement are committed to continue to support ICA Benin in this task, encouraging individuals and the organization to better incorporate the methods into their approach.

Interested in this aspect of our work? Learn more from our Village Volunteers page and see how we can utilise your sponsorship to strengthen local organisations working in community development in 11 countries in Africa…