Intercultural setting in training – Dominican Republic 2009

10 02 2009

An advanced VIPP facilitation training with 20 participants from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia gathered a diversity of institutional working styles related to social mobilization and development in Latin America.
During four days in Jarabocoa, at the Salesiano centre located two hours away from Santo Domingo, the mountainous area provided a perfect setting to get involved in a continuous process of action – reflection – action to exchange and learn ways of facilitating intercultural dialogue, common understanding among different actors, creative and stimulant team work to achieve paradigm shift in development programs.
The training program gave everyone the opportunity to unfold skills and capacities in an interactive form due to the cultural differences, age, learning styles, artistic expression, philosophical points of view and warmly receptiveness of the Caribbean mentality.
From the beginning of the training process, the intercultural combination of the participants gave a special accent to group dynamics. One could think, Spanish speaking participants have more in common than differences but the diversity of work approaches revealed a wealth of practices that take into consideration the peculiar and complex forms to address own cultural identity as well as of the groups they work with such as:
– Facilitation in the Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Bolivian Andes takes into consideration the intimate relationship between the communities and the meaning attached to mountains, water, climate which is beyond this human world;
– building capacity of indigenous people in Costa Rica, stresses the role of young leaders with a strong commitment to the local understanding of communities;
– education with Caribbean rural groups pays a strong attention to the wisdom of the elders;
– establishing university programs based on the principle of regional autonomy has to rethink together with all involved how to design beyond conventional academic curriculum and incorporate oral culture,
– intercultural programs for the youth has the challenge to facilitate learning of other cultures without diminishing the value of the own background.

At the end of the training the magic of this rich exchange could not find an abrupt departure, an Andean ritual sealed the interconnectivity beyond time and space and the strengthening and mutual support of the participants has created a community of practice.
The training was organised by Ara Gena Martinez and Ana Pizano and led by Maruja Salas and Timmi Tillmann from Jan. 12 to 16