The project FACTOR (Facilitation Actor) is an Erasmus + project, a training course for those who already have some experience in facilitating a project or who would like to learn how to be a trainer, have some personal development in the area of public speaking, self-reflection and for example project management. This course has been held in Romania, Carei between 21st of July and 29th of July and organized by the Association Beyond with 3 experts: Laris Guerri from Italy, Antonio Gomes Toninho from Portugal and Lerio Cunha from Mozambique. The participants have come from several countries: Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Turkey. Our magazine had the opportunity to make an interview with the trainers of this project. In the following you can read an interview with Laris and Toninho while the next article will be a conversation about Lerio.
MK: How did you prepare for this project?
A. G.: This project has been started to prepare six months ago. The project has 8 partners – they have got involved into the whole process to prepare the participants before arrive on a training course.
We had some online meetings to prepare and to devide the tasks, the sessions between us. Each trainer has a specific session to do related to our background and skills. We always arrive two or four days before the project starts. We have arrived two days before to Carei to see the space and to prepare the documents and the material – we always need time for these. Of course we have an image in our mind about what kind of activities can we do at a certain place, since if you do not know the local characteristiscs it is more difficult to get ready for the project. When we arrive here we can find different spots where we can do different activities at different parts of the environment, of the venue.
We have different trainers as well – for different sessions and methods for the content. The coordinator is also very important because of the support since everything needed to be ready (eg. the food, the accomodation and every other things which are connected, the people who works here…). We work like a team: not only the trainers, but the coordinator, the cooker, the one who cleans the place… This is always important, when you start to work we have to trust each other. When something missing the others can support you thus the participants will feel very safe.
MK: How did the idea of FACTOR Project come?
A.G.: Facilitation is always important for youth workers. We work with people with different knowledge and it is very important in Erasmus + to get involved people to European level and identity. With Laris we have met on a project about facilitation and later on we have made some youth exchanges and training courses together. Five years ago we decided to connect in this way to this facilitation project. Fours years ago in Italy we have made this training course with Delia and she said we need to make this project in Romania as well. So we started to develop this project since all people need to know those skills which are important for facilitation.
MK: You have also mentioned that there are different sessions for each trainer. Could you please talk about yours?
A. G.: 20 years ago I have done my EVS project and this has changed my life. I have studied architecture and after this program in Padova I have connected to international and mobility projects. I started to work in this field. When I went back to Portugal I have started to work for a non-profit organization and I have started to develop activities in the area of non-formal education methods. In Portugal I am a president and project coordinator of a non-formal association, Check-In. My session here is connected to project management on intercultural area – and also at the first day I had some team-building activities. My collegues are experts in different fields – thus their sessions have different topics.
MK: How do you connect to your topics at this training course and what kind of methodologies do you use?
L. G.: Each of us has different experiences – for example my topic is transactional analysis; I take care about the most psychological part of the program. My content, session here was about communication for relationships, active listening and emphaty and conflict management, problem solving. The methods what we use here are non-formal education methods. It means that the learning is not the traditional one, passing through activities in which people are taking part in developing, learning. The learning is done by the group – not just by the trainers. The learning process comes up by the effort of everybody. The learning is cooperative and experimental which means it comes from what we experience not only by logic – also feeling, touching, by our more spritiual part, the emotions especially.
MK: This methodology deals with deeper feelings and emotions and sometimes the participants has different kind of reactions to this. How do you handle these situations?
L.G.: We are provocating emotions – it means that we need a double attention to the dinamics which can come up. So we usually work like this: one takes the stage while the other two are ’just there’ to take care about the participants needs and to observe. This kind of environment, the non-formal education can make deeper emotions come up. There is always one of us who takes care about these.
MK: You have mentioned that you are working in cooperation. How did the 3 of you become a team in facilitations?
A.G.: First of all I started to volunteer – there is no special course where you can become an international trainer. If someone likes the non-formal education methods, than they would like to go deeper. Laris and me have met at one project – on a training course. I think I am lucky because I can choose who I would like to work with. With Laris and Lerio we have a common atmoshpere and we can trust each other. This is the best part. Sometimes I have to work with different trainers – the trust is not just the best, however also the most difficult part.
I started step-by-step. First I was a participant, than a leader than I met a trainer and I asked whether I can be a junior trainer with someone else who already have experience.
L.G.: I have started with training courses with an association called Youth in Action in 2003. Once I have been invited to an Erasmus + project to Austria. I didn’t know anything about European projects however they have been looking for a participants. I was working as a youth worker in a youth centre and I have been sent to this project actually. It has changed my life. I started to see how Erasmus + working and when I came home I started to read about it by myself. In 2007 we have made our own youth exchange with my own organization and after that we worked almost totally about European projects – this is my life.
MK: After the (mid-term) evaluation how do you see the project and the participants?
L.G.: It is really amazing. The succes of the project is not only the content what you share but alosso epends on the participants, the trainers, the place, the environment. Here there is a natural flow of the course. We have many succsessful projects done however this flow is really rare – we usually have to put some extra effort to let the things work. It seems like here is a common aim. Maybe after this pandemic there is a need to do something together and have something common.
A.G.: We already had some expectations with the project. After 1.5 years on Zoom finally meeting with people in person there are different impacts from the participants and from the team. Until now people like the training and we respect each other thus the flow is amazing.
Anna Viola Hornyik