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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

YETAM partner training, Rwanda

I couldn't sleep last night because of jetlag so was really tired today. But the workshop that we did and the partners were so so so good that it kept me energetic.

We started at 9 and went until 4.30. We had several people including Bernard, Jacques and Olivier - young guys who work with video through Maison de Jeunes; Musafiri and Patrick from PAJER which is a youth parliament organization; Nandita and Amina from Never Again which is a theater group; Chaka a painter; Genevieve and Edison from the Plan program unit office, Joseph and Jean Baptiste from the University of Rwanda as translators, and Isaac, Chrystel and me.

There was tons of discussion about the project, ways of working with youth, facilitating vs. 'training', etc. It was really clear that we are all on the same page in terms of how to work with youth and what the project can blossom into. I'm so excited. Already the partners kept saying how we think this but we should see what the youth themselves want/think. They are talking about how to keep the project alive and sustain it and support it if the youth decide to create a youth association in the district.

They are really happy that Plan is not a 'city' organization, and that we are going to the community to work there not bringing kids into the city. They were really complimentary about the project design and the fact that Plan/Nokia have general goals but are not obligating and pressuring the community to implement in a certain way -- that the partners and communities are able to find the best way for the project to work in their realities. Although when we talked about our 'hopes and fears' almost everyone had some concerns about being away from family, work, school and friends for 3 whole weeks, they were all extremely committed to follow up with the youth and to be really present during the 3 weeks training.

Now with a common vision, tomorrow we will work on who does what, when and how for the 3 weeks. We'll focus on more solid plans (though we will be flexible as the workshop goes on) for the first week and debrief each evening, and then after the first week we will re-group to take another look at the plans for the 2nd week, and the same thing for the 3rd week.
So tomorrow we'll put up flip charts on the wall, one for each week, and the partners will come with ideas for activities. We'll fill things in and make sense of it all. Well, that's the plan, at least.

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