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Advice for a First Time #YALILearns Facilitator: Follow the Curriculum
September 13, 2016

A YALI Network member facilitates their #YALILearns sessions. (State Dept.)
A YALI Network member facilitates their #YALILearns sessions. (State Dept.)

From his experience facilitating two #YALILearns sessions on climate change, Rodney Kimbangu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo learned that the easiest way to present one of the YALI Network Online Courses to an audience is to just follow the curriculum. Of course, you can design a program that caters specifically to your community. But if you are just looking for a way to get started, Kimbangu, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, has some advice.

“The knowledge that people share on a #YALILearns course is empowering. Really empowering. It’s the kind of knowledge that people spend maybe a year or four years in class learning,” he said.

His first experience facilitating a session did not go as planned. He combined his efforts with another Network member who introduced a controversial topic that was not part of the curriculum of the climate change course.

“It was a bit messy. We didn’t really follow the YALI Network course plan as we should have,” he said.

So Kimbangu tried again. Because he volunteers at a local American Corners space, he was allowed to plan his event there, and he reached out to many of the same people who had attended his previous event.

This time, “I was alone and I followed exactly the YALI Network plan and it worked well. And they told me ‘Rodney where were you? It was so amazing. We learned a lot!’ he said.

“I was just there to facilitate things. I just was there with guidelines and they had the content. And so the activities that I had to discuss in groups and to share were very powerful.”

Kimbangu’s conclusion? “When they give us the guidelines it’s for a good reason,” he said. “So don’t be scared! Follow the guidelines and do it. Nothing is impossible.”

He also wanted to remind fellow Network members that as a facilitator, you are not expected to be an expert on the subject you have chosen to share.

“There is a line on the

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guidelines that says ‘you are not a climate expert. You are there to give them access to the content,’” he said.

But as a facilitator “you have a certain power,” he continued. “They don’t have access to the information. You are the key to giving them information and you don’t have to be afraid of that.”

Interested in learning more about #YALILearns? Learn how you can facilitate your own session on our #YALILearns page.