Sister Sites

Who Owns Scotland?

Caledonia Land Programme

Social Land Ownership

Commonweal Papers

Land Reform Act Part 2 Guidance

Training of Trainers

Networks of Agents

Land reform briefings


Change Agents 2 -

reflections on practice

bulletThe first thee one-pagers in this collection reflect on sustainability in Asia
bulletThe last three refer to educational change agents (Advisers) in Lesotho


Stimulation of self-reliant initiatives 941107
For committment to survive 941114
Sensitization of those who would intervene 941107b
Coping with oralcy - being the scribe 941009
Beyond the oral culture - written materials from the Advisory Service g971124a
An adviser's portfolio - collecting and packaging ideas g971107a


Stimulation of Self-reliant Initiatives

Based on Tilakaratna S in Fals Borda O & Rahman MA (1991 Eds) Action and Knowledge; ITDG

The stimulation of people so as to undertake self reliant initiatives requires two essential steps

  1. the development of an expanded awareness of the reality in which they live - the space/time dimension and,
  2. based on such critical awareness, increased confidence in being able to get organized so as to make a difference

The overall process involves a movement away from the classic manipulation and dominance mode towards a more humanistic animation and facilitation mode.

Humanistic animation and facilitation mode

rather than

Classic manipulation and dominance mode

Start from where people are - their experiences, knowledge, perceptions and rhythm of work and thought

from a preconceived political agenda or an externally conceived set of assumptions

Stimulate the people (animation) to undertake self-analysis of their life situations (a self-inquiry into the economic, social, cultural environment in which they live) and help them derive from such self inquiry facts, figures and conclusions to serve as an intellectual base for initiating changes

the use of a closed framework of analysis or a social analysis carried out by outside intellectuals

Assist the people to organize themselves and to create their own organizations

organizing people into externally determined structures to serve goals set up by outsiders

Facilitate the actions for change decided by the People's Organizations, & in particular assist them to deal with logistical and practical problems with which they may not initially be fully equipped to cope

implementation of externally conceived projects/programs

Stimulate and assist the POs to carry out self-reviews of their activities, including any failures, and to plan future actions

monitoring and evaluation carried out by outsiders

Conscious measures taken by the external agent to make his/her role progressively redundant in order to pave the way for and thus ensure self-reliant capacity build up of the POs

attempting to provide continued leadership and patronage or to project one's own image

Such a phasing out would necessarily require assistance in developing local cadres who could eventually replace the external agents

the use of a large number of external agents, which is costly and usually requires access to foreign funds.

Top of this one-pager   Top of this webpage


For Commitment to Survive

Based on Fals-Borda O & Rahman MA (1991) Action and Knowledge; ITDG/ The Apex Press

Participatory Action Research (PAR) has the best chance of surviving the test of time only if it tells the people that it can betray them, and that only an aware and ever-vigilant people is not betrayed. (M A Rahman)

  1. the agent of change may assume him or herself to have a "superior consciousness" and thus be prone to thinking "be reasonable, do it my way". When such a person meets with resistance there is the tendency to go on the psychological defensive and this can readily turn to dictatorship.
  2. when new, revolutionaries have "commitment" but this can burn out through time and/or can be bought off by fame or fortune.
  3. as the movement grows and becomes successful it attracts members for reasons other than those which attracted the originators. With a diversity of characters jumping on the bandwagon there tends to be a dilution in the heart of the movement.
  4. also, as the movement becomes successful, it will tend to form alliances of convenience with other movements with slightly, or perhaps markedly, different agendas: in this case the "purpose" of the movement can slip out of focus.
  5. the movement will have been set up to "dictate over the people with commitment" but, when they have been formally institutionalized, such movements are readily taken over by self seekers who lack commitment.
  6. it is notoriously difficult to transfer commitment to the next generation of people who did not "live through the struggle".

Top of this one-pager   Top of this webpage


Sensitization of those who would Intervene

Based on Tilakaratna S in Fals Borda O & Rahman MA (1991 Eds) Action and Knowledge; ITDG

The learning process undergone to develop people capable of sensitive intervention in other cultural situations should be distinguished from formal training courses where the trainee becomes an object of training and a depository of knowledge delivered by a trainer. The main elements of this learning process may be summarized as follows:

Collective self-reflection and "unlearning"

The starting point is a collective reflection on and an analysis of the experiences that "trainees" already have in working with communities and their existing knowledge of micro and macro social situations. Such a critical review of existing knowledge and experiences provides an opportunity for each "trainee" to engage in self-criticism and self-evaluation, to initiate a process of "unlearning" as well as new learning.

Basic Data Collection in the field

Beginning from such an initial self-reflective exercise, the trainees are exposed to concrete field situations by living among selected communities in order to gather socio-economic information through informal discussions with the people and through direct observations as a base for understanding community life.

Identifying groups and issues and promoting localized self-inquiry

Such an exercise in basic data gathering enables the trainee to identify categories of groups. Through interaction, the trainee seeks to stimulate those groups to identify issues of common concern, collect the relevant data on these issues and assist them in analyzing the data so as to enrich their understanding of their own life situations. It requires a sustained effort on the part of a trainee to be able to set in motion such a process of self-inquiry by the people.

Collective reflection on ongoing experience

While engaged in such field exercises, the trainees meet regularly (at least once a month) as a group to share and analyze their experiences among themselves as a collective learning experience. This transference from field action to collective reflection is an important method for the trainees to improve the quality of their work by learning from each other's experiences.

Breakthrough at 6 months

While their can be no definitive time table, concrete experiences suggest that trainees generally take at least 6 months to acquire the basic skills for stimulation and to demonstrate some concrete results in the field. At this point, the trainees would begin to show varying degrees of success in stimulating the people with whom they had been interacting, and to organize themselves so as to initiate changes. The process is not necessarily even; some would lag behind others.

Identifying Counterparts

As an important part of these field exercises, the trainees also should identify those individuals from within the communities who possess the potential skills for animation and facilitation, and should assist in improving such skills. Creation of internal or community cadres is an important requirement for the ultimate phasing out of external cadres.

Top of this one-pager   Top of this webpage


Coping with Oralcy - being the scribe

Source: Clark GG (1994) Personal communication

bulletModern bureaucracies tend to be large and complex and 'literacy' enables uniform and exact communication through time and space on even complex and detailed issues.
bulletPeople from essentially oral cultures do not feel comfortable with the literate demands of bureaucracies. The issue is not of necessity one of motivation and cognition but relates rather to modes of communication.
bulletThose who seek to promote bureaucratic rationality in essentially oral cultures can, as an interim measure, function as translators between modes. This act of "being the scribe" can operate at different levels.

Transcribed Interviews

While a tape is running, questions are asked and answers given. The audio tape is transcribed and, after editing and discussion, a written Platonic Dialogue is available for distribution and feedback.

Discussion Papers

A series of one-on-one interviews are conducted with key stakeholders. Major issues, and their variations, are highlighted and reported on. The written product is distributed to contributors, or more widely, for feedback.

Policy Workshops

A group of key stakeholders is called together to discuss a topic. Brainstorming and conceptual mapping lead to a set of options which are prioritized and a generally desirable and contextually feasible "mission statement" is generated. The written product is widely distributed as a draft for ratification.

Minutes of Meetings

During the meeting the scribe listens and makes notes. After the meeting the notes are unscrambled and tidied. Action points (who said they would do what by when) are highlighted. Copies of the minutes are distributed the next day. Feedback is obtained at the next meeting.

Feedback in an Oral Culture

bulletWritten feedback is not to be expected in an oral culture but, if the topic is seen as relevant, there will be no shortage of oral feedback.
bulletThis can be gathered systematically using one-on-one or group techniques.

Top of this one-pager   Top of this webpage


Beyond the oral culture - written materials from the Advisory Service

Source: DFID's Secondary Education Support Project (SESP) in Lesotho (1997)

It is said that  Basotho culture is essentially  oral. The Basotho are good at speaking and listening but are not so good at reading and writing. But there are limitations in an oral culture. Communication is limited in space and time. Those who were not present for the discussion can know about it only from someone who was there and they may not have access to such a person. And, even if they do have access, they will get to know only what the person remembers - and the person might be biased.

The value of the literate culture is that it can make detailed and accurate information available over wide areas of space and time. This has already happened with humanity. Even today we can read about the thought of ancient Greeks, Chinese and Indians to mention but a few. The problem is that although those from oral cultures can learn about literate cultures, the reverse is not true. In an oral culture information comes in but does not go out. This is particularly unfortunate in our confused modern times when there is a great need to investigate alternative ways to be human.

But the usefulness of literacy is not only in the intercultural realm. Even within a given culture it is useful to be able to share ideas through time and space. This is particularly true for example within the education system in Lesotho. There is much that a given school or teacher can learn from the successes and failures of others in Lesotho. But they cannot learn it if they do not know. If experiences are written down they can be readily available to anybody at any time. Herein lies one of the challenges for the Advisory Service. Three factors have to be considered:


Who will do the writing? *** AUTHORS

What will they write about? *** TOPICS

How will their writings be published? *** MATERIALS



the authors could be any individual or group of individuals with an interest in education. In a more limited sense the advisors could set the ball rolling and so encourage teachers who could then encourage pupils by their example.


the big topic is education itself with all its economic, political and cultural dimensions. Then there are the larger conceptualisations concerning teaching and learning and the different subjects that are taught. At a more operational level there is the function of the various non-school based educationists who act in support and/or supervisory roles. And of course people could write about the fine details of any of the grand topics.


different types of materials could be produced depending on the scale of distribution. Items might include Workshop Materials (before, during and after), One-pagers, Newsletters, Journals, Guidelines, Common Exams, Schemes of Work, Lesson Plans and Tips etc

Top of this one-pager   Top of this webpage


An Adviser’s Portfolio - collecting and packaging ideas

Source: DFID's Secondary Education Support Project (SESP) in Lesotho (1997)

An Adviser’s main function is to help others do their jobs effectively. But, when those jobs involve organising affairs such that effective teaching and learning can take place in a fast changing socio-cultural environment, there is an enormous challenge to creativity. To meet this challenge the Adviser has to collect and systematically package ideas ie she has to build a Portfolio.

Collecting ideas - the never ending quest.

bulletThe Adviser moves between schools. She is thus able to observe and talk to different people tackling their jobs in different ways. This is a source of ideas upon which the Adviser can draw - ie individual reflection on local experience.
bulletThe Adviser organises groups and encourages them to reflect. Careful listening in these situations is another source of ideas ie group reflection on local experience.
bulletThe Adviser has close contact with resource materials which she herself has selected. She has the time to review these and filter them for local relevance. This is another source of ideas - non-local experience.

Packaging ideas - the portfolio concept

The Adviser has to help those with problems to overcome them ie to give up on those ideas which are causing the problem and to develop and act upon new ideas. Pure creativity would allow people to develop new ideas out of thin air but this is an uncommon ability - it helps to have pre-existing, alternative ideas to challenge and adapt. It will also help if these ideas are packaged in a way that makes them easily available (a) to the Adviser herself, and (b) to the various clients.

Most Principals and teachers are too busy to engage in exhaustive research (either direct or via literature review). Thus the concept of filtered source materials. The Adviser can engage in the research (field and book),  filter the findings for local relevance, and then make them available in an easy to digest form (one-pagers, workshop handouts, audio or video tape, newsletter or journal articles etc). (Many materials come prepackaged for workshop use these days)

During the process of research and filtering the Adviser adds to the collection of ideas in her own head - these can be communicated personally. Also, by writing the ideas down, or capturing them on audio or video formats, the ideas can be available for clients to mull over at their own convenience.

Thus we have the concept of An Adviser’s Portfolio. As time goes by the Adviser will build up and revise a collection of materials related to all the topics/ideas with which she commonly has to deal. Note that this is information which has to be easily retrieved by the Adviser and/or the client. The material has to be well indexed and sensibly filed - the clerical assistant will have a key role to play in this.

Top of this one-pager   Top of this webpage




retro jordans louis vuitton outlet cheap louis vuitton louis vuitton outlet lebron 12 jordan retros louis vuitton outlet Jordan 3Lab5s jordan retro 11 legend blue history of jordan 6s Michael Kors Outlet kate spade outlet kate spade outlet jordan 3 sport blue Kate Spade Diaper Bag louis vuitton outlet jordan 6 sport blue louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet jordans for sale sport blue 14s lebron 12 history of jordan 6s cheap air jordans lebron 12 cheap jordans Kate Spade Diaper Bag foamposites for sale louis vuitton outlet new jordans sport blue 6s jordan 6 sport blue Louis Vuitton Outlet jordan 3lab5s jordan 3lab5 coach factory kate spade outlet louis vuitton outlet