Laurel and Associates, Ltd.

Deb in Amman 8

Deb in Amman 8

On March 22, 2012, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , With Comments Off on Deb in Amman 8


There was a man in the elevator this morning who was laden down with three rucksacks. I asked him if he was camping and he replied that he had been touring- to the Dead Sea, Aqaba and Petra. He was taking back souvenirs. His souvenir from the Dead Sea was salt. On another floor, my touring partner got into the elevator with his rucksacks.

It wasn’t until they got out and I saw the back of their sacks- US ARMY.

When I got to the office, Maha D informed me that there will be 30 participants in each round of train the trainer classes.

We met with the acting Chief of Party, Kareem. I was incredibly nervous in front of this man who exudes authority while looking like a Dutch choirboy. He turned out to be a true micromanager. For example, we discussed training design templates that I suggested be available in word and he suggested should be in Arabic. Converting a table from English to Arabic involves reversing the table because they read from right to left. He told her to reverse the table, told her what that meant exactly (!), directed her to highlight the areas the participants should fill in (using a light gray)… I’m sure you get the picture.

He was very gracious to me, but clearly had no comprehension of participatory training. He questioned Maha why it took a day to design the one-day Situational Analysis training.

He wants to provide some training to the staff and asked me to condense the 5-day program. I thought he wanted a three-day program. Nope. Just one day.

At that point, I told him that I would give him the agendas and learning objectives for the first four days of the training (since the fifth day is almost totally devoted to facilitation practice. I suggested he circle the content he believed would be important for the staff.

Then I ran into difficulties with printing again. They called in the technical guy, who finally fixed it so I could print on the Kyosera (which I had been using) as well as a color Xerox. When I tried to print on the Xerox, something happened and the printer began spitting out page after page of code. I kid you not, it had printed almost 100 pages before we got it to stop!

Anyway, when I gave the information to Kareem, he said he would share it with Mona and the two of them would make the content decision. Later, Maha D informed me that he wants them to learn lesson design and the content of Day 4, which includes presentation, motivation, and overcoming participant resistance.

I pride myself on being a miracle worker, but even I can’t jam pack all of that content into one day. I’m going to talk with Maha on Saturday when we are setting up for the train the trainer. I’d like two days with the staff. Let’s see if we can get Mona to agree. She is second in command and the only manager on site since Kareem had to go back to Lebanon.

Cassie treated the entire staff to a very late 2:30 pm lunch with falafel, humus, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, fruit salad, bread (piles of round bread bigger than a pizza, from which we all pulled off chunks to dip in the humus), and a cheesecake for dessert. Their humus is incredibly tasty! I even ate 4 small falafel, which tells you how hungry I must have been since that is typically not my favorite thing.

While we ate, we watched a video made of the staff trip to the two areas where the springs are running dry. GrayScale, a production company, made it and it was spectacular, with music, interviews, and photos of the springs. It was very impressive. PAP Jordan will use it any number of ways, including putting it on their website.

Then Maha D drove me in her car to meet with the three trainers who will be assisting with the video taping on the fifth day of the train the trainer. Rama, Eman and Eman all work for the Civil Society Program-Jordan (CSP). They were all bright, articulate and knowledgeable about participatory training.

This is also a USAID funded project that focuses on institutional capacity building for NGOs (non government organizations), advocacy to create social change, and the creation of an environment that supports economic and social reform.

They discussed the problem of trainers who have no training and no knowledge of the topic- who think that they can train on anything. So CSP has been working on getting the trainers to specialize on one topic on which they are knowledgeable and establishing criteria for trainer accreditation. To this end, they review the lesson plans, the training content and learning activities, among other things.

They provide train the trainer programs with Global Learning Partners (a consulting firm) that end with videotaped practice. However, they limit the participants to 10 or 11 and each person has an opportunity to facilitate a 30-minute activity (rather than the 10 minutes I can allow). They sympathized with the difficulties I’ll face with 30 in the class.

It was a real pleasure to meet and chat with them. They gave me a CD in English and Arabic titled “Training Management Manual for Civil Society Organizations.” It is very thorough and well written, spanning anything and everything related to training management, design, facilitation, evaluation, marketing, creating a training office- with lots of examples and suggested activities. I’m definitely going to treasure it and refer to it.

They asked me to let them know which day or days might be best for them to stop in and watch the training. I wrote back to them after I got to the office.

When we got back to the office at 5:30 (long past the time Maha usually picks up her two little girls from daycare, so her husband had to cover for her), Lina had everything packed and ready to go to set up for the training that starts on Sunday.

The word came that we can get into the hotel (where the training will be) at 2 p.m. on Saturday. This is great news, since the other possibility, if there was going to be a wedding at the hotel that day, would be to get to the training room very early on Sunday to set up.

It sounds like I’ll have at least two and maybe three people to help set up, which is great.

Random information:

I’ve been having a devil of a time getting out of cars here. It’s like climbing out of a low sports car, even though they are sedans.

The curbs are very high, so high that the cars have to park away from them if people want to be able to open their door.

There is a very tall fellow in complete Bedouin regalia who comes in late afternoon and sits on ornate pillows in the hotel entryway, serving coffee in tiny cups (must be Turkish coffee). We’re usually not in the hotel at that time, but I have caught a glimpse of him once or twice. Before that, Cassie and I had wondered why there was a hot plate and tiny cups there!

My rose is still in bud form. It is off white with a green tinge along the petals. It is so beautiful.

This will be a relatively brief message, since I’ve written reams about my trip to the Dead Sea on March 23. You’ll be getting both at the same time.



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