From Theory to Practice: A Journey of Upskilling Community Facilitators of Wadah Foundation.

As a realisation of Wadah Titian Harapan Foundation’s commitment to enhancing its personnel’s competencies, the ‘Enhancement of Community Facilitator Skills’ training was successfully conducted on May 13-17, 2024. Held at Wisma Hijau, Cimanggis, West Java, the training was attended by 15 Field Staff from the Program Department and guided by expert speakers and facilitators from Bina Swadaya Consultants. This activity was designed to equip the staff with essential knowledge and skills in community facilitation, in line with the expectations of Lia Parengkuan, Head of the Human Resources and General Affairs Department, who anticipated an improvement in staff capabilities after participating in this series of training.

The five-day training was designed with a participatory and interactive approach, creating a dynamic and engaging learning atmosphere. The main material presented, ‘Concepts on Community Empowerment’, aimed to open participants’ insights that empowerment is not just a concept, but a transformation of awareness and accessibility that enables communities to organise themselves and face challenges more resiliently. Through advocacy and social control, participants were taught to become agents of change who fight for the aspirations of the community.

In order to strengthen communication and collaboration skills, participants were divided into four working groups. Interactions between group members generated innovative ideas and strengthened teamwork, while enriching their learning experience. On the second day, the focus of the training shifted to critical thinking. Participants were trained to identify and analyse problems using the ‘Problem Tree Method’, which then formed the basis of a strategic action plan. In addition, the training also emphasised household economic management and business analysis, preparing participants to support communities with entrepreneurial potential.

After receiving material in class for three days, on the fourth day, field practice was carried out by visiting the Wadah assisted community in Warabal, Parung, Bogor Regency. Field practice was conducted to actualise the materials that had been obtained during the three days in class, such as how to identify, formulate problems, and identify potentials to make participatory program planning. Participants were divided into three groups, namely Education, Health, and Economic Development.

The ‘Community Facilitator Skills Enhancement’ training organised by Yayasan Wadah Titian Harapan has successfully achieved its goals. Five intensive days with Bina Swadaya Consultants at Wisma Hijau not only increased the knowledge and skills of participants, but also strengthened the spirit of collaboration and commitment to community empowerment. The field practice conducted provided a real opportunity for participants to apply the learned theories to concrete actions. The presentation session on the last day became tangible evidence of the growth experienced by each participant, especially in terms of problem identification, strategic planning, and business analysis.

Rita Wadu, one of the field staff from Kupang revealed significant improvements in her understanding of economic management and business analysis. This shows that the training method – involving sharing, dialogue, and hands-on practice – has been effective in facilitating the learning process. Petronela Lele, a field staff from Sikka, said she gained knowledge in conducting root cause identification and developing participatory action plans. Petronela Lele will apply the knowledge and skills received in mentoring. Nevertheless, there is a desire for further deepening of the material, given the limited time that makes the learning process feel short. Therefore, the hope for the future is that Yayasan Wadah can provide additional sessions or further training to enrich the experience and understanding of participants, so that they can apply the knowledge gained more optimally in assisting the community.

Author: Robby Reppa
Editor: Paula Stela Nova Landowero


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