The organizational development training for Kenya Peace Network (KPN) member organizations was held at the Kolping Vocational Center in Kilimambogo from 8th to 11th July 2014. The training covered topics in Most Significant Change (MSC), Media and Governance. The training had three objectives. The first being improve tools and techniques involved in collecting, selecting and sharing of change stories. Secondly, the training sought to improve strategies employed by KPN members to mainstream media into their organization. Lastly, it sought to assist members to assess the practice of governance with respect to KPN and their organizations. Three KPN organizations facilitated the training comprising Institute of Social Ministry in Mission (ISMM) from Tangaza University College, Koinonia Advisory Research and Development Service (KARDS) and Chemichemi ya Ukweli (CYU).
Kenya Peace Network (KPN) comprises seventeen organizations that fellowship together under the funding Umbrella of Mensen Met een Missie, a development partner based in Netherlands. Since its formation in 2008 KPN has generated various types of impacts through its individual members who undertake programmatic interventions in diverse sectors. Through its members, KPN empowers communities to become effective and objective participants of the democratization process. The training was necessitated by the recommendations of a KPN Capacity Needs Assessment carried out in 2013.
Dr. Elias Mokua, the director of the Jesuits Hakimani Centre (JHC) facilitated the session on media. He assisted participants to improve media engagement within their programs. Participants discussed on how to build rapport with the media during both good and bad times. Extending the discussions to a normal society, participants unveiled divisive and integrative elements exemplified by social class, ethnicity and inter-generational gap among others. Hence they concluded that media could be used to amplify the divisive aspects that exist within these and other elements and hence worsen relationships and heighten tensions leading to worsening life conditions. Media could on the other hand be used to amplify integration within these elements and in the long run contribute to strengthening relationships and improving the conditions of life.
The participants were also guided to understand on how to approach the media. First it is imperative to equate media houses to business entities. In seeking to advance their agenda therefore, organizations must have a business orientation. In choosing the form of media through which an organization seeks to present their agenda, organizations are advised to consider their target audience and how using such media will improve the image of their organization.
Social media is also coming up as a preferred tool for publicity due to characteristics such as being free and speed. Social media requires consistency which is essential for maintaining contact with audience. Organizations are however cautioned against inappropriate use of social media as it could dent their professionalism and image. There are other different tools that organizations may adopt for exposure. These tools include; personalized newsletters, publications and media packages. These tools should be captivating, flexible in time of release and should avoid jargon. Other media approaches include media events such as dramas and artistic exposes. The whole essence of this engagements is usually for amplification of organizations activities, knowledge sharing, increasing visibility and also to avoid wastage of energy.
The MSC session was facilitated by Fr. Giuseppe Caramaza, Mr. Joel Trudel, Ms. Pascalia Mbutu and Mr. Dominic Syuma. They guided participants on how to collect, select and share stories in line with the most significant change stories methodology. Participants analyzed stories they had collected from their programmes/ project activities and rated them. From the discussion, it emerged that the most significant change stories were those that had minimal interviewer influence and bias. Strong MSCs are characterized by changes experienced both at personal and community level. The stories should also bear the perspective of the beneficiary/ interviewee.
MSC stories are strong tools that organizations may use to measure the impact of their activities. Lessons learnt from MSC stories could become the basis for future activities.
Dr. Richard Muko, a senior consultant with KARDS and Mr. Eric Odongo of CYU facilitated the organization development (OD) session. OD entails managerial efforts that are entrenched into the organizational design to bring about positive variance. These efforts are mainly geared towards increasing the effectiveness of the organizations. The positive variance is usually achieved through a set of interventions and organizations processes. OD takes into account different elements including systems, people, tools and processes. Some of its processes include conflict resolution, performance management, workforce planning and continuous quality improvement. Mr. Odongo led the participants to explore succession and hand over strategies for organizations. It emerged that succession and hand over plans are important tools for establishing continuity of organizations. Hand over plans ensure that in coming members do not start reinventing the wheel but rather continue from such a point that the outgoing member had reached. Succession planning is therefore very important not only to individual organizations but also to KPN in general.
By the end of the training, participants expressed satisfaction with the presentations. They were advised that there was a great need for them to share the knowledge gained in this training with their colleagues back in their organizations. Accordingly participants expressed the fact that they would use the lessons learnt from the training to create an inventory of competencies built from the different KPN capacity building activities, to suggest organizational review, inculcate qualitative aspects in M&E, improve the process of decision making and advice on organizational handover.