VIPP encourages thinking outside-the-box

6 02 2013

Here is a guest post from a very enthusiastic Anne-Sophie who attended the VIPP training in October 2012. Please note this is a personal opinion and does not in any way reflect that of the organization she works with, OCHA. 


Anne-Sophie (far left) with other participants in discussion with Maruja (2nd from right), one of the VIPP trainers

As far as I am concerned, the most relevant aspect of the training was the use of different learning methodologies to empower participants and increase their participation in a learning activity. We looked at training and learning from a very different perspective (i.e. training at grass root level) than the one I am used to, which took me outside of my “comfort zone”. This allowed me to think outside-the-box and learn new, creative ways to increase the learning of others. Sharing experience with a diverse group of training practitioners under the soft guidance of an experienced facilitation team was clearly the highlight of the course for me.

I have been using visualization in designing and delivering training events in the past but this course allowed me to better understand the philosophy guiding VIPP. During the course, I was happy to experiment with new methods and better understand concepts around visualization. I feel I am now better equipped and more confident to design creative learning activities adapted to multiple intelligences thus increasing the impact of the learning experience.

My participation in this course gave me a boost and I am already sharing the knowledge and skills gained with colleagues while recommending their actual participation in the course next year. The content of the course was extremely relevant and the way it was facilitated and delivered made it highly successful. The sense of belonging to the VIPP community was nurtured throughout the course. I did particularly enjoyed the meals shared all together as a “family”. Clearly, the training venue in St Ulrich offers an excellent environment conducive to learning.

I would like to thank Maruja, Timmi and Neill and the participants of the course for a fantastic learning experience in St Ulrich.


VIPP experience from Myanmar grassroots trainer

4 12 2012

It was Aye Aye Nyein’s first foray into facilitation training. Having been involved on the ground in Myanmar, working with farmers on technology transfer and community planning, this one-week session on VIPP would be just what she needed. She was one of four participants who arrived for the Training of Facilitators in October 2012 from NGOs and grassroots organizations in Myanmar.

When asked what she felt were the highlights of the Training of Facilitators held at the Black Forest in Germany, she said that methods like Pro-Contra, Mind Mapping and Expert Interview were interesting. Aye Aye Nyein

I learnt new useful concepts, methods and tools in this VIPP training. I will apply it in my organization with facilitation training and community action planning using participatory learning.” -Aye Aye Nyein


Aye Aye added that the trainers were excellent with tremendous experience. The St. Ulrich monastery was a well-equipped facility for participants, and the training room was spacious. She felt that the training content was effective in empowering each participant in their area of work but pointed out the need for refresher courses in between.  

-Meena Arivananthan (VIPPer since 2003)

Experiences from the Field (Madagascar, Ethiopia…)

24 02 2007

VIPP (Visualization In Participatory Programs) is a people centered approach to planning, training and groups events.
In Madagascar, from 1997 (when the first TOT was carried out in French) until now, VIPP has became a key tool for the GAIN – Groupe d’Actions Intersectoriel pour la Nutrition and similar forums. Many workshops involving more than 50 partners were carried out using VIPP, the most important being: Revitalization of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative; Development of the Behavior Change Communication Nutrition Strategy; Harmonization of Nutrition and Child Survival messages; Adoption of the Micro-nutrients National Protocols; Development and adoption of the National Nutrition Policy. VIPP was also widely used for staff retreats and project planning workshops. VIPP was used at national and district levels.

In Ethiopia, VIPP was used first to identify the nutrition partners as well as their activities, the existing gaps, and what need to be done to move nutrition forward. VIPP became a critical tool for annual work planning in nutrition and child survival, particularly in each of the 3 largest regions of Ethiopia where more than 70 participants gather to elaborate strategies and annual planning. VIPP was also a key tool to develop a draft of the National Nutrition Strategy and the National Guideline for HIV/AIDS and nutrition.

In Ghana, VIPP was used to identify lessons learnt after program implementation with eighty stakeholders.

In Tanzania, VIPP was used during the “Regional Forum on Taking Child Survival to Scale in Eastern, central & Southern Africa”. Members from 12 countries participated to develop the regional strategy and planning.

Lessons learned:
– VIPP workshops are fun, and at the same time participants work very hard, therefore the ideal number of days is less than 3 and half days. Participants leave the workshop with the feeling of having contributed and have a common memory of the events and outcomes.
– VIPP can be used with a large number of participants, up to eighty. First each participant fills up cards individually, then groups of 3 or 4 persons are formed, then groups of 6 or 8. Each time, groups discussed cards and selected a limited numbers of cards. For presentation, large cards are used.

To avoid:
– Plenary card collection with a large group; participants get bored.
– Problem identification without working on solutions; participants are frustrated.
– Flexibility in the process of the workshop; one session might define the content and process of the next session.

Trusting the process and the participants is critical
for the success of a VIPP event

Agnes Guyon