Peace workers acquire dialogue skills
Almost a month ago and on a rainy day, I met some 25 participants of the training on Reflective Dialogue. Nothing seems to dampen their readiness in learning new skills particularly in conducting peace dialogue.
The two-day training was organized by the Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao as Local Resource Partner and part of deliverables for the Barangay Justice Peace Project (BJPP) of the Gerry Roxas Foundation funded by the United States of America for International Development (USAID).
The training for trainers on Reflective Peace Dialogue aimed to enhance participants’ knowledge, skills and confidence in developing their respective pool of trainers and facilitators who will organize and facilitate the barangay peace assemblies and its clusters. This brought peace workers together to learn and un-learn the basics on running a peace dialogue. More importantly, the participants were taught on probing questions and how to formulate them.
Dr. Gail Ilagan of Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) and head coordinator of Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services (COPERS) spearheaded the whole activity with the assistance of Dr. Nelly Limbanan and Dr. Eric Batican as coordinators of COPERS and both AdDU professors.
Among the conducted activities were inputs on facilitating versus training, lecture on peace dialogues and understanding adult learners. Each session had workshops to assess participants’ skill in applying the concepts. The first workshop dealt with formulating probing question using ORID (objective, reflective, interpretation, decisions) method. The next and final workshop provided participants the fresh take on making a dialogue flow for the actual conduct of peace assembly where techniques of reflective peace dialogues were applied.
During the workshops, one could see the confidence and excitement in each participants’ face as they had discussed local and indigenous way of conducting dialogue among erring parties. They also shared their plans on how to conduct peace assemblies.
At the end of the training, most participants appreciated the new skills they gained. They also shared that their learning were useful and practical especially in conducting the peace assemblies. During evaluation, one participant admired the facilitators for their “excellent presentation by their respective topic” while another is grateful since the training is “really a very timely activity, since Zamboanga Sibugay is very actively participating on the conduct of the BJPP”.
The training was held in Lantaka by the Sea Hotel in Zamboanga Cityfrom 24-25 May 2011. Similar training was conducted at Paradise IslandPark and Beach Resort just a week ago.
This article is also published at http://www.afrim.org.ph.