YPARD Team’s Online Hangout series: more interaction for more capacity

09 Jan 2017 by Marina Cherbonnier

Hangout of YPARD Team of representativesHave you ever thought of the wealth of knowledge that exists in the structure or organization you work with? At YPARD, we genuinely know that our community has a massive number of significant skills and experiences to share.

Thus, in 2016, we designed a series of online hangouts for our country representatives all around the world to interact better among themselves as well as with the YPARD coordination units and the steering committee. The purpose of the hangouts was to learn from each and to find solutions to our challenges, particularly on a national level, thanks to the internal knowledge.

We addressed the top 5 challenges that country representatives had expressed as ones that were hampering their ability to boost their YPARD activities:

#1 - How to mobilize and get YPARD members active in my country? [Team building]

#2 - Mentoring program: assessing the pilot phase and the way forward [Mentoring program design]

#3 - Negotiating partners' support for our YPARD country initiative [Negotiation skills]

#4 - How to make creative "presentations"/interventions in schools to promote agriculture [Communications – a priority on YPARD's Business Plan]

#5 - Fundraising for projects [Fundraising]

The series happened online in October-November 2016. Each session was of one hour. They included two short presentations by national representatives, meant to generate “food for thought” and to kick start the discussions time. The latter was given particular attention: we wanted the whole the team to feel comfortable to contribute and to be able to express their own comments, questions, challenges and experiences.

For each hangout, a small guideline was created by two volunteers, based on the inputs provided during the exchange.  These guidelines, together with the recording of the webinar and the presentations will be available for the national teams, whenever they want to learn or freshen their knowledge, to enhance their action with YPARD.

The feedback we received from the participants was very encouraging: the webinars met their expectations, the contributors were very well prepared and knowledgeable and the structure was suitable, with significant efforts to provide space for discussions.

Yet, while we had deliberately decided to have short sessions for our volunteers to be able to dedicate that time over their busy schedule, this hampered the capacity to have more in-depth discussions and ones that would enable everyone to take part. The participants expressed that they gained tips and tricks they would be able to apply but that these induction sessions would require follow-up for stronger capacity development. They would particularly have loved going deeper on examples of how their peers overcame their challenges. One option could be to have 1.30hours sessions spread over the year.

The 2016 YPARD Team’s online hangout series was a yummy experience that got the team to grow closer and stronger. They were able to hear more about others’ experience, to share their own insights and to learn from each other while bonding as friends. We hope to keep finding better times and plans to get more of our peers all around the world on board for these very special and enriching breakfast/lunch/tea/diner/bedtime (- depending on the time zone -) YPARD breaks.