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Development Support: An introduction

Ever wondered who trains the trainers? Say hello to Traidcraft’s Development Support team, as they plan their latest Associates training programme...

“Development Support” is a funny name for a department. We spend our time supporting development, which although it may sound quite nice, probably doesn’t mean much to anyone outside our immediate circle.

To flesh it out a bit, we are based in the UK and we provide capacity building inputs to the Traidcraft Exchange projects in East Africa and South Asia. This means we regularly travel to the regions and assist people to become better trainers and coaches, and they in turn train and coach the businesses that our projects support. TX - SupporterDevAssociates4.jpg

Our workshop training programmes are highly participatory: we don’t like lectures and we don’t believe in PowerPoint.

Instead we use lots of interactive games, role-plays and debates to get people learning and sharing their real experiences.

For most of our participants this is a completely new way of learning and they nearly always come away refreshed, energised and enthused to try this methodology in the training they deliver. A participant in our most recent workshop commented that this was the first workshop that she’d ever been to in which no-one fell asleep at any point!

So, in order to widen our reach, embed the methodology locally, and to reduce our environmental footprint, we have embarked on selecting a group of independent consultants in South Asia who we will induct into our approach and the requisite skills and tools needed to deliver it successfully.

Once they have completed their three-week training programme with us, they will take over from us and provide the capacity building inputs on TX projects whilst we sit back, take stock, continue to support through mentoring, and revel in the thousands of air miles we’ve saved!

TX - SupporterDevAssociates5.jpgEarlier this year we advertised for independent local consultants with the necessary business expertise and training skills, who would be interested in working on our South Asia Traidcraft Exchange projects on a contract by contract basis.

Working closely with colleagues from our Dhaka and Hyderabad offices, we then invited a number of these to a selection workshop.

This was the applicants’ opportunity to show us their training and coaching skills, and our opportunity to demonstrate to them our training methodology and what it feels like to be in a Traidcraft training session: we felt that the process should be as much about them selecting us, as us selecting them.

The outcome of this process was 11 highly motivated and highly skilled consultants accepting their offer of a place on our programme – after months of careful research and planning, the Traidcraft South Asia Associates was underway!

Stay tuned for part two: the chosen Associates get to work!