Clayton Lillienfeldt – Local and international transformation mediator
I helped facilitate six diocesan training workshops. I think the diocesan training workshops were extremely successful and the co-ordination of the 22 dioceses was phenomenal.
Part of this success was due to the fact that the right people came to the workshops, which was very gratifying. In my experience, we were only out by one or two people – good going given the size of the gathering.
One of the facets of the workshops that I loved, and that I believe contributed to the amount of ground we covered, was just how inter-generational the groups were. We had old people, young people, parents, grandparents and people from a range of church structures in one group, and they all bought incredible wisdom and experience to the sessions. For transformation workshops to be productive, I think it’s important to get a good mix of participants, and facilitators. We had both!
We also came to the process at a time when there was an awakening of awareness of HIV/AIDS, which was very valuable because it allowed us to tap into that energy and commitment. The church leadership was taking a leading role in voluntary counselling and testing so the rest of the church felt they had to be involved in fighting the pandemic.
What’s so unique about this planning process is that within 14 hours you have a product! It’s not often you see such immediate results and I think this was very energising for participants. At the end of the workshop you have an action plan covering the six building blocks (leadership, care, prevention, counselling, pastoral care, and death and dying) that details what needs to be done, by whom and by when. What’s more, it is a product that is owned by everyone.
The toolkit, Planning our Response to HIV/AIDS – A Step By Step Guide to HIV/AIDS Planning for the Anglican Communion (PDF Document 4.3MB), certainly made our training job easier. It was clear, easy to navigate and had a good analysis of the work that needed to be done. Best of all, it was easy for communities to respond to. The process we went through at the All Africa Anglican Conference on HIV/AIDS gave the planning manual a context and history, and recorded the discussion and how decisions were reached, which was very important.
I’m used to doing SWOT analyses when you move into an organisation, identifying the threats and weaknesses and then turning immediately to look for solutions to the problem. Although this can be a valuable strategy, the Anglican process was a much more reflective process. We examined the deep roots of the problem, then looked at what we needed in terms of human, financial and community resources to deal with the situation. We didn’t move straight to problem solving; instead, the Anglicans conducted a deeper analysis of the situation. This meant that the plan communities came up with was very realistic with a long time frame that would ensure implementation. And, because of the reflective nature of the planning, there was large-scale buy-in from the community.
One of the criticisms about the training workshops is that we didn’t educate people around HIV/AIDS. But that wasn’t a project objective and, anyway, most people had a fair understanding of the pandemic so we were working from a reasonable knowledge base. Instead of concentrating on content, we rather wanted to take people through a process that would give them the skills they needed to formulate a plan against HIV/AIDS within their parish. I think we managed to do that really well.