How To Evaluate "Facilitator Capability"

Facilitator capability evaluation can be prepared by “self assessment” and by local communities. Both are highly recommended although in practice is very difficult to do so. Even an experienced project consultants are often confused when asked how to begin the evaluation process.

One effort is to obtain a process within the society itself. Of course with communication techniques based on what is presented or seen, felt and smelled at that time. In the evaluation it is usually disclosed the impacts of facilitation by facilitators who came to the village. Say, what appears in the village from the beginning of facilitation. Then, what impact in the emergence process.

For the latter, we often call it the “turning point” of facilitation. Perhaps also, first, local people will say “Before facilitator coming we slept”. Where and when they wake up?. So the “turning point” is the first, from sleep to awake.

Second, perhaps in the village there are some issues such as flooding, savings and credit activities etc, and it cannot be solved by the community but need policy of local government, the “turning point” is how the stakeholders to find out the solution. For facilitators who have a record of the agenda and time line facilitation would be very easy to detect at which point, there is interaction and joint action.

For facilitators who actually carry out its duties and functions, may be very easy if you use input or the input of society by looking at the “turning point” activities that arise. Although in fact, there is also a good case but just a nice coincidence, or “good luck”.

The simplest thing is to try to review the evaluation process by building a few factual questions or real. No need of complex or hard to see what inputs and their impact but ask people who tell stories. This technique is once again depending on who the interviewer, if they can understand or not?

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Facilitators and Their Failures

Lots of programs or international projects scheme has been implemented during the last two decades but seemingly in-effective or no significant impacts recorded. Problems found during the implementation, which is more complex than ever. The involvement of NGO facilitators in project has not been successful. This situation cannot be separated from the perspective and the capacity of NGOs, donor and government staff itself.

NGO for example, as a “space filler” between community organizations and government, their capacity apparently is a key factor to test how capable they are in mediating the situation in the community when dealing with outsiders.

If the example of “village” as an arena or battle field of ideas of development, many examples from the field prove that often face a complex situation coming from both villager or from outsider.

For example; perhaps there are those among us (on behalf of the provincial department of education unit) if come to the village will ask, “what is the main problems in the village.” Because the visitors dress uniform from Education Office, villagers will certainly say “no school or no teachers.”

And, when someone comes and asking, -say the forestry official uniform-.”What is the main problems  of this village?” Of course with spontaneous community (which could be the same person in the first case, would say, “We need seed or pine trees”, for example.

Staff or the community facilitators cannot dismiss an answer like this because community has been accustomed the problem and asked “what do you need?” “What exactly this village needs.”

How do I avoid if there is such a thing? To avoid this, let say, what is the best question or fit? It is clear that the outlook and good communication techniques of facilitators from NGOs or frontline staff need to be a common concern.

A friend who had some experience with the villagers might be very easy to approach and to develop the ideas.  As usual, when you come to the village and meeting with them, just introduce and ask with a fine, polite and appropriate.

Start with a very short question, “what are you doing, what is this”. If you see they are gardening ask the names of plants and how much came from each type of plant, and so on. Maybe after that will come the others and they all happy to explain and as facilitators we just need to develop questions than explain.

If citizens are asked whether “problem” of course they will solid in answering, “yes that is my problem”.  So please don’t ask them about their problem!