PCF5:Using Appreciative Inquiry as a planning tool for positive results

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Title of session

... Using Appreciative Inquiry as a planning tool for positive results ...

Session details

  • Challenges related to Livelihood Sub-theme Topic : ... Institutional Change
    Capacity building
    Program implementation...
  • Chair (Name & email): ... Dr. G. Afeti gafeti@yahoo.com...
  • Facilitator (Name & email): : ... Dr. Nancy George ngeorge144@gmail.com...

Session papers

  • The session was an experiential Appreciative Inquiry (AI) workshop, demonstrating the four phases of the AI process. Working in two groups, participants focused on providing suggestions on directions for the COL strategic Plan 2009-12.

Key Issues that arose in the session

  • 1. Outline of theoretical perspectives explored in the session that has the potential for achieving effective learning and improved livelihoods through ODL?

The Appreciative Inquiry (AI) approach in combination with Visualization in Participatory Planning (VIPP) encourages involvement, generates participant energy, and stimulates collective agreement on implementation of positive outcomes. By having them experience the stages of the AI/VIPP workshop process, the participants learned how this approach to planning could be used to develop directions for and implementation of an agreed course of action.

  • 2. Summary of evidences (data) that are offered in the session for achieving effective learning for achieving improved livelihoods through ODL?

The facilitator assisted the participants in accomplishing three of the four AI stages: Discovery, Dream, and Design. Because of the brevity of the workshop, the entire AI process could not be developed. However, the workshop design allowed participants to see the potential of AI for overcoming the negatives of activities like SWOT analyses (strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats) in the planning process.

  • 3. What are the unresolved issues and challenges for achieving effective learning for improved livelihoods through ODL?

Since the participants were concentrating on generating positive solutions (as opposed to examining shortcomings and problems) they did not dwell on unresolved issues and challenges. However, by examining the directions proposed for COL in its next Strategic Plan one could interpret the challenges they proposed overcoming. However, the participants did not focus on negatives.

  • 4. What are the potential solutions for these issues and challenges that can make ODL work better for improved livelihoods?

Following are the directions the AI workshop participants identified for COL’s focus a) Policy development – identify country needs; assist [target groups] to succeed in their development plans by providing alternatives based on best practices so that they can learn what others already do in like-minded institutions. Introduce more innovation and strengthen collaboration through its activities. b) Access to education for all – focus on pedagogy, modes of delivery and translation [if required] for learner support identified target groups. Identify learning materials and instructional strategies that are gender sensitive, culturally appropriate, inclusive, user friendly, of [high] quality. Support networking [among like-minded institutions], the development of relevant government policy, infrastructure, training of facilitators, public/private partnerships, funding [sources]
Suggest useful resources, people or institutions who could contribute to addressing these issues and challenges for achieving the sub theme topic and effective learning for livelihoods?

Participants mentioned networking among participating institutions and governments. However, they did not reach this latter stage in the AI process (Destiny); therefore, one must extrapolate from their recommendations for COL’s focus in the next strategic planning period (2009-12).
What role COL can play in strengthening the use of ICT and ODL and in adding value to achieving the sub theme topic towards effective learning for livelihoods?

Facilitate networking; support planning and orientation of target institutions; link like-minded institutions to pursue plans together; support selected institutions to develop their own plans using participatory methodologies.

Points for future action (Policy, recommendations, commitments etc.)

  • Since this was a workshop demonstrating a potentially useful planning strategy, there were no specific actions recommended. The workshop would have to have been scheduled for a longer period of time.