What EASUN achieved in 2014
|Trained Board members are offering their knowledge and skills to support programme and change management|
|Supported organizations made policy and process changes to promote equitable participation of women
and men in governance.
40 trained Leaders changed practices from top down to facilitative interactions in organizational and community situations
Four (4) Trained leaders introduced organizational learning practices in their organizations, which includes the use of powerful learning tools in activity evaluations;
One (1) trained leader helped his organization to reframe its understanding of leadership by using images of transformational leadership in coaching managers;
One (1) trained leader introduced a process for strengthening organizational learning and changed the culture by which staff are appraised and promoted in the organization;
One (1) trained leader was invited to train teachers of a Girls’ school in Uganda in transformational leadership skills;
One (1) trained woman leader in Tanzania transformed the culture of family meetings from confrontation to dialogue, which changed the practice of the annual meeting in the family;
Forty (40) leaders trained in the context of partnership with local CBOs implemented changed their leadership practices, mostly from top-down to facilitative interactions in organizational and community situations.
The story of board training for RUHEPAI, in Uganda and ZIFF - Zanzibar (see page 5) illustrates how effective board training enables CSO board members to identify their ethical leadership questions based on enhanced emotional intelligence. In addition the two NGO boards trained unearthed important questions with regard to strengthening their leadership roles toward improving shared sense of purpose in their organizations. Key leadership issues noted relate to boards’ ability to facilitate CSO identity construction as well as the transitions that characterize growth and needed changes in organizational culture and practices. Specific insights expressed in relation to transition and identity construction included the realization, in ZIFF, that board members need to facilitate more integration through enhanced mutual respect and shared leadership practices.
Board members of both organizations recognized that lack of conscious and proactive management of organizational identity was causing erosion of public awareness about the purposes of their organization. This was causing loss of trust and local support.
The two boards trained identified partnership building and internally galvanizing shared sense of purpose to be key roles and responsibilities of the board. They expressed a new awareness that strengthening the purposing and strategic thinking roles of the board will touch their passion and lead them to align their personal sense of purpose with that of the organization.
One emerging insight expressed by board members in the RUHEPAI board training was: “Everybody has power but not everyone is a leader.” In terms of practical change planning, a similar new learning was most pronounced in the ZIFF board training in Zanzibar. A particular self-awareness exercise enabled each board member to identify new orientations that they will work to develop in order to adopt more facilitative power-use in their leadership functions.
Participating board members in ZIFF characterized ongoing efforts in organizational transformation as breaking into the “integrated phase” of development. They debated the perceived risks of losing control—but also gained the insight that supervision in the integrated phase can still be done in an advocacy manner, which includes coaching for performance enhancement and team based processes of managing accountability and shared learning. It was noted that a key aspect of the board’s own accountability would be to embrace and facilitate ZIFF’s growth as an integrated phase organization, rather than sticking to the clutches of the founder member syndrome or resorting to the rigidities of bureaucratic management.
A rural CBO in Uganda and an internationally flavored Pan Africanist CSO in Zanzibar discover similar institutional development questions in separate board training interventions.
NGO boards have tended to style their leadership in terms of hierarchical supervision only, rarely providing leadership to create orgarnizational entities that work through common sense of purpose.
In 2016, EASUN trained boards of two CSOs that are quite different in their profiles and outreach activities. Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) received board training in February, and in July of the same year conducted a 3-day board training for RUHEPAI (Rural Health Promotion and Poverty Alleviation Initiative). The latter does its work in Isingiro District in Western Uganda. The training in both ZIFF and RUHEPAI boards enabled participants to experience the need for creating integration and sustainable collaboration in organizational situations.
In the training process for both ZIFF and RUHEPAI, particular interventions were used that increased consciousness of board members about working with the contribution of others in shared tasks and responsibilities within work place spaces. Elaborating on how they had experienced a walking exercise, for instance, participants in the RUHEPAI training noted that walking in pairs was asking more of them in terms of the need to be aware of the presence of others, compared to when they walked alone. Some phrases used in the reflection included: “be mindful of other’s presence”, “examine patterns and steps”, “regulate oneself” and “walk together”. One board member noted: “Something shifted in me because I opened-up and paid attention as I walked.” In practical terms for organizational contexts, shifts resulting from increased mindfulness were characterized as “making necessary adjustments in behavior in order to increase one’s ability to contribute effectively or provide facilitative leadership in team situations.”
In ZIFF, as well as in RUHEPAI, self-awareness of leaders generated from the walking exercise was strengthened by other learning processes that enhanced emotional intelligence skills, such as listening at three levels, strategic questioning techniques, strengths-based language and power-use effectiveness.