Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Leadership Training in Haiti

Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers Jennifer Kushner and Larry Jones recently traveled to Haiti to work
Senior Program Officer Andi Thomas, F2F volunteer Jennifer Kushner,
F2F Field Officer Stessy Auguste, F2F volunteer Larry Jones
with F2F field staff on strategy, and meet with F2F hosts in northern Haiti. While in country, Ms. Kushner and Mr. Jones also conducted a training on Leadership and Monitoring & Evaluation for a group of association and cooperative leaders. This was the first time that leaders from groups receiving F2F assistance in Haiti had gathered together across sectors. The key lesson of the training was that effective leaders are always learning. Ms. Kushner and Mr. Jones shared that leaders have vision; leaders act; and leaders step back and reflect. One workshop participant asked if stepping back was part of evaluation and this led to a dynamic conversation about the importance of reflection in monitoring and evaluation efforts.

Ms. Kushner leading a training
The F2F volunteers shared that three important habits around learning are 1) every opportunity is an opportunity to learn; 2) always get different perspectives on a challenge; and 3) sharing with others what you learned. Training participants had the chance to meet in pairs and discuss their leadership experiences, including successes, challenges, and lessons learned. A small group of university students was also present and they had the opportunity to share some experiences around learning. During an informal interview, Jean-Jacques Lucas, the coordinator for the Association des Traveilleurs de Dondon - a coffee cooperative based in the North - shared that "If you don't know where you are, you can't know where you're going." Making time to learn and reflect is an essential component of leadership.

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