Sunday, March 1, 2015

Workshop Series

1st Workshop in Series

2nd Workshop in Series

Knowledge Production and Pedagogical Strategies in Community Settings: Women’s NGOs and Women IDPs as Knowledge Producers and Transmitters

Training the Trainers:
Building a Cadre of Facilitators of Workshops Dealing with Diversity

Dr. Gada Kadoda and Prof. Sondra Hale
Organizers and Facilitators

Prof. Sondra Hale and Dr. Gada Kadoda
Organizers and Facilitators

Hosted by
Nuba Women for Education and Development Association (NuWEDA)

Hosted by
Sudanese Organization for Research and Development (SORD)
3 – 5.30 PM
7th March 2015
Banat East, Omdurman

4  – 7.30 PM
12th March 2015
Arkaweet, Khartoum
There are several different kinds of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).  Our workshop will deal basically with two kinds:  (1) those which are primarily Community-based organizations (CBOs) which generally arise out of some community-identified local needs.  These are often rural or consist of or serve Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and (2) NGOs that serve primarily women and are mainly composed of political activists who are usually urban, educated, and perhaps politicized along feminist lines.  The latter think  of themselves as knowledge producers, as well as engaging in applied and practical work; the former are thought of (and possibly think of themselves) as mainly doing applied or practical work.  But that impression or self-image of the CBOs is limited because it obscures the fact that CBOs are also knowledge producers.  

Furthermore, the knowledge they produce needs to be self-recognized as knowledge, partially because the recognition itself can be empowering.  In both types of NGOs we will explore the ways in which the knowledge produced is transferred or transmitted.  In other words, a process is usually overlooked when CBOs describe their work to others. In both types of NGOs we are interested in an analysis of what the pedagogical strategies are that are used in community work.

The two facilitators will present brief accounts of their pedagogical experiences, including the ways in which they have collaborated with community groups, various organizations, youths, and each other.  They will both be speaking from the vantage point of liberation pedagogy, based on the work of Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed) after which members of various CBSs and NGOs will contribute their experiences and tools for transmitting/transferring knowledge. 

This workshop, therefore, is constructed to provide a self-assessment of the process of knowledge production and the tools used to transfer the knowledge.  When new knowledge is discovered-- about the community, about the techniques and tools employed, and about the leadership and decision making, etc., we ask how this knowledge is transmitted and transferred to future projects as lessons learnt or best practices, and how these are incorporated into future projects.  Furthermore, working with communities entails ethical considerations about what is being brought into the community, how involved members of the community are in decision-making and in the ownership of the new idea of doing something, and what the ethical considerations are in developing pedagogical strategies.  Would the knowledge transfer be carried out using dyads or a larger circle?  Would learners and facilitators name their own ways of learning?  Would the transfer come about through mutual identification, observation, repetition, memorization, consciousness-raising, self-help, applying the knowledge “on the ground,” through a form of fieldwork, participant observation, absorption, or other ways of learning, etc.?  Are the NGO facilitators constantly conscious of their pedagogical strategies?  Should they, then, make all the participants aware?  This may be one of the ethical considerations:  honesty about what is being done and how, i.e., non-manipulation.  As mentioned above, we will follow and suggest elements of a Freirian model of pedagogy-- liberation pedagogy--and analyze the elements that may be appropriate in the Sudanese context.

This is a facilitated workshop involving training trainers/facilitators, or at least raising their consciousness about the various methods that can be applied in helping others recognize their own lack of understanding of diversity.

Much has been written about Sudan’s ethnic diversity, authors often referring to Sudan (even after the secession of South Sudan) as one of the most diverse countries in the world.  Also, much has been said about Sudan belonging half in the “Arab world” and half in the “African world,” and other gross categorizations.  However, very little has been written about the hierarchies of regions, ethnic groups, race categorization, and even the hierarchy within the general category “Arab.”  Sudan has been ridden with fixed notions about racial categories and the perceived characteristics that accompany someone’s “race.” People have acted on these unverifiable notions.   Although the word “racism” is rarely used in Sudan, yet, many internal and external social commentators have observed that racism (perhaps generated by economic and historical variables) has been a primary factor in a number of Sudan’s conflicts.  People—both groups and individuals—are unwilling or unable to let go of their long-held prejudices against particular groups.  Tensions have built up, making conflict resolution difficult, if not impossible.

We are assuming that small anti-racism workshops, which could take place all over Sudan, but could start in Greater Khartoum (as one of the cultural depots), might have the potential for alleviating some of the tensions of racism.  The problem is that very few (if any) Sudanese are trained in facilitating anti-racism workshops.  This workshop aims to give some fundamental training and general guidelines to participants who have volunteered to learn how to facilitate anti-racism workshops. 

It is our plan to help generate a series of post-workshop sessions wherein participants will continue their training in a self-facilitated series, with the goal of producing a cadre of professionals who will then train other facilitators in consciousness-raising about diversity, race, and conflict resolution.