Heather Clark-The Road to Facilitation by Heather Clark

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A large part of our philosophy and ideology at Un Mundo revolves around the principal of facilitation. Our methods exist within the framework of capacity building, facilitating access to healthcare, liveable wages, and education through empowerment.  This is what inspired me to come to Honduras and be a part of this movement.  However, as I settle into one of my roles, coordinating the women’s group, I have struggled with how to stay true to the intentions of Un Mundo and to be a vehicle for growth within this group of wonderful and strong women. I have questioned what it really means to facilitate. What is my role? Is it my place to organize these women when I don’t understand the intricacies of their lives and probably never will, having grown up in the United States? Will my western upbringing bleed through, however how much I try to be an unbiased third party?
These questions nagged at me during my first couple of months working with the women. Within the group we have had a few set-backs, the largest of which was the death of Sulma’s one year old daughter. A heartbreaking tragedy which left all of us drained and questioning, leaving a negative energy hanging over our group. During this time, all nine of the women came together to support Sulma in a way that was so beautiful and inspiring to see and after about a month the negativity that had seeped into the group changed.  Leaving the them much more united.  Recently, they did a final vote on their positions and roles. Since the vote took place, the women have been much more involved, and my role as a facilitator has been much clearer. The members of the group, particularly Olga and Mayra, the President and Vice-President have begun facilitating meetings. This leaves me to play the role of supporter, coordinating the group from behind the scenes. After this transition to the group members facilitating their meetings, I have perceived even more of a growth in spirit, unity, and empowerment from all those involved in the project. While I don’t have all the answers as to what my role as a facilitator should be, I am growing and learning right along with the women; finding a niche in my new found home. The greatest lesson learned being that there are no right answers, the people who have lived their lives in this community know what it is that they need. I am just here to offer friendship, support, and an outlet to explore so that they are able to cultivate the creativity and strength within themselves, building the business that they are so eager to have come to fruition.

A large part of our philosophy and ideology at Un Mundo revolves around the principal of facilitation. Our methods exist within the framework of capacity building, facilitating access to healthcare, liveable wages, and education through empowerment.  This is what inspired me to come to Honduras and be a part of this movement.  However, as I settle into one of my roles, coordinating the women’s group, I have struggled with how to stay true to the intentions of Un Mundo and to be a vehicle for growth within this group of wonderful and strong women. I have questioned what it really means to facilitate. What is my role? Is it my place to organize these women when I don’t understand the intricacies of their lives and probably never will, having grown up in the United States? Will my western upbringing bleed through, however how much I try to be an unbiased third party?
These questions nagged at me during my first couple of months working with the women. Within the group we have had a few set-backs, the largest of which was the death of Sulma’s one year old daughter. A heartbreaking tragedy which left all of us drained and questioning, leaving a negative energy hanging over our group. During this time, all nine of the women came together to support Sulma in a way that was so beautiful and inspiring to see and after about a month the negativity that had seeped into the group changed.  Leaving the them much more united.  Recently, they did a final vote on their positions and roles. Since the vote took place, the women have been much more involved, and my role as a facilitator has been much clearer. The members of the group, particularly Olga and Mayra, the President and Vice-President have begun facilitating meetings. This leaves me to play the role of supporter, coordinating the group from behind the scenes. After this transition to the group members facilitating their meetings, I have perceived even more of a growth in spirit, unity, and empowerment from all those involved in the project. While I don’t have all the answers as to what my role as a facilitator should be, I am growing and learning right along with the women; finding a niche in my new found home. The greatest lesson learned being that there are no right answers, the people who have lived their lives in this community know what it is that they need. I am just here to offer friendship, support, and an outlet to explore so that they are able to cultivate the creativity and strength within themselves, building the business that they are so eager to have come to fruition.

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