“Great trainers, great group atmosphere, interesting concepts. I hope this opportunity will be taken seriously in my organization and will be actually applied in practice.”

The training course “Be the Change!” was developed as an accompanying measure and opportunity to train employees, co-workers and active members of the participating organizations in the field of diversity-oriented organizational development and change management. The training sessions constantly interrelated the values of diversity-orientation, anti-discrimination and inclusion in youth and voluntary service organizations with reflections and practical learning about how to instigate critical dialogue and actually start with and facilitate change processes in NGOs.
The training took place from 18th to 22nd of February 2019 in Berlin. The host organisation “ICJA Freiwilligenaustauch weltweit” was pleased to welcome 20 representatives of its partner organizations from Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. The training programme was run by the expert organization SOCIUS Organisationsberatung gGmbH.

Group Dynamics:
Even though the program lasted only five days, the group grew together very well even if there was a diversity of age and background. While some participants knew each other since a long time, others had never met. The facilitators were well prepared for the high degree of diversity within the group and implemented many innovative team building and relaxing energizers, allowing participants to express their mood and wishes even dancing. On the one hand, the group itself accepted every activity, never complained and tried to use every opportunity to learn what was offered by the facilitators. On the other hand, the facilitators were flexible, adapted very well the content and methodology to the mood of participants and situation in the group. The coffee breaks were tasteful and interesting at the same time since everyone brought their own snacks and sweets from their home country. People exchanged thoughts and their experience with struggles and strategies and also laughed a lot together which helped to strengthen the bonds of friendship within the partnership.

Seminar Content and the Relevance for the STAR E Partnership:
The program established four competence areas needed for understanding and working towards change with a focus on diversity, anti-racism and inclusion. A wide variety of methods was applied and background information was provided. Participants constantly were encouraged to contribute and reflect about how the seminar content could contribute to bring about change in their organization. After having laid the theoretical basis during the first days, the last two days were very active. Participants could implement the just learned methods to their organizations’ change processes.
In summary, after the training the participants were very happy with the results and looked forward to make use of the newly discovered tools. The training contributed a great deal to the participant’s understanding of the role of change management in working towards diversity and against racism within/ with their organizations. This learning experience will enable them to strengthen their role and profile in combating racism and becoming facilitators of dialogue and inclusion. It could be felt that this outcome was crucial as it will greatly enhance the work of the STAR E (Standing together against racism in Europe) partnership project.

Finally, we would like to thank the facilitators from SOCIUS, Joana Ebbinghaus and Simon Mohn as well as the participants and partner organizations for their great cooperation and highly valuable contributions!

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