We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.
Building capacity in the individual lies at the heart of meaningful change of any organisation. Capacity building is more than offering the occasional course or lecture, however inspiring they may be. Capacity building means to develop the ability to master a well-defined task or activity within the context of one’s work environment. It not only includes the acquisition of knowledge about a particular subject and the learning of new skills, but also the development of certain qualities and attitudes.
For example, in order to develop our capacity to cooperate effectively with others, we need to learn more about the concepts of unity, collaboration and competition. We need to understand why it makes sense to /we should seek to cooperate instead of compete with others. . We can study how groups can make decisions together and what makes a great team player. Besides knowing and understanding concepts, we also would need to develop a practical set of (new) skills. We can practice our ability to listen attentively to another person without making judgments. Or we can learn to express ourselves in a more effective and loving manner. Lastly, we need to become aware of our own attitudes and actively work on developing qualities such as kindness, truthfulness, or patience.
All our classrooms, workshops, and programs therefore are designed around these three elements:
Another principle we apply is learning by doing. This means that we follow a cyclical approach in which we Act, Reflect and Consult. We do not focus on failure or success or pointing fingers (alternative: assigning blame) when things go wrong. We believe that we learn from creating new knowledge, that becomes truly elevating only when it is put into practice and then reflected upon.
When we speak about education, we do not refer to the conventional model with the clearly defined roles of the teacher and student. The purpose of education is not to fill up minds with information. It is not about absorbing information and writing exams.
Our perspective on (alternative: conception of) education is participatory in nature. All participants are the protagonists of their own learning process and advance at their own pace. Our “classrooms” are groups of 4 to 20 people who study together with a facilitator who stimulates discussion, asks questions, and ensures that each group member is advancing in understanding.
The materials include practical exercises that help develop capacity in the participants. The facilitator accompanies the participants in putting into practice what they have learned.
Our educational system is self-propagating in nature. This means that as people advance in their training, they themselves become ever more capable of accompanying others in the study of the materials. Gradually, an educational programme is established within the organisation that develops and mobilises human resources.