Tuesday 22 June - I was well enough to come in and lead the day's session. Phantok says the one he ran on time management and a typical day in the office went well. So today we did communications skills, using the WUJS programme. We did exercises to show the communicative importance of voice, movement, eye contact, use of hands, confidence and behaviour. It was games all the way through, so attention or interest wasn't a problem. Some of the leaders had trouble with maintaining an open posture, saying they felt more comfortable with crossed arms or legs. I told them it's important to feel natural, but if they can get over that discomfort it's a good thing. After the session I went to see an American girl I'd met, Stephanie, who is a professional campus organisation coordinator and trainer and who's volunteering with the Tibetan Woman's Association. We arranged that she would run Wednesday's session on Effective Meetings while I went to the hospital to get my mystery illness checked out. So I spent early afternoon briefing her.
Wednesday 23 June - Doctor told me I have Giardia and gave me antibiotics, saying it will get better withing 48 hours. When I got into the Longsho offices at the end of the morning, Stephanie was finishing off her session. I could tell as I walked in that it had gone extremely well. She's very professional, doing this sort of thing so naturally. Everyone's attention was perfectly focused. She gave me her notes afterwards and summarised what she'd done: types of meetings, process versus content, planning and agenda, discussion sequence, facilitator role, how to cope with difficult people and conflict, how to bring introverts out of their shell, what to do with points if you're running out of time... She said she's got a huge amount of resources and passed me and Longsho business cards. Anyway, a real success. Cheryl Sklan told me before I flew out here, that my role was to organise the best seminar possible and to know that it might mean networking and bringing in outside facilitators.
Thursday 24 June - Final proper day of seminar. I ran a morning session on budgeting which finished with an exercise in financial planning for an imaginary project. There was some misunderstanding about some of the techniques - such as planning fundraising to build on current resources and doing accounts in the middle of the project to allow you to replan the remainder - but by the end everyone had understood. I'd organised an afternoon computer skills session at the LHA (Louisiana Himalaya Association), where a trained instructor worked with the participants on Word and Excel. They drew up some financial spreadsheets, so it was reinforcement of some of the stuff they'd done in the morning.
Friday 25 June - Review and evaluation. Played some games, gave a memory refresher on each of the seminar sessions and handed out evaluation forms. The final question on the forms was "What are the first 3 things the new office workers should do when they take over?" Here are the answers I got:
- Recruit new leaders / members (x3)
- Be punctual (x3)
- Fundraising (x2)
- Be committed (x2)
- Be true to yourself
- Be active most of the time, especially during camps
- Use effective methods from seminar
- Don't be lazy
- Know Longsho structure, aims and objectives and work towards them
- Be effective in communicating and understanding
- Show initiative
- Meet expectations of fellow members
- Be flexible
- Update Longsho plan
I've got the rest of the evaluation forms to bring back. We should go over them to help us with future volunteers.
One of the new initiatives that has come from this seminar is the board of trustees, close friends of Longsho in a position to see the bigger, longer term picture and offer advice. Longsho are thinking of 4 specific people who will be invited when the new office workers take over, later in the summer. I said I would speak to those I could when I get back.
Monday I will be going to the leaders' meeting to say goodbye to everyone and to speak to Phantok about getting the report finished and sent off. Then I'm off to Manali and Ladakh.