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YCT 444: MA Dissertation

Heidi Bentley: s912440 Acknowledgements

I would like to thank a number of people, without whom this research project could not have been attempted and subsequently this dissertation never written. Thank you all for your unending encouragement and support, wisdom and spiritual guidance: Gary and Geraldine Bentley, especially you Mum, for your tireless proof-reading talents; The Congo Tree Board of Trustees – Olly Thorp, Jane Searle, Mike Royal; The Congo Tree team in DRC; Tearfund colleagues in the UK and DRC, especially Anna Chilvers; Colleagues and friends at Sutton Coldfield YMCA, especially Clive Yates and Stephanie Winter; My fellow CYM students – I could not have asked for a better bunch to study with; Michaela Brookes, Sarah Carruthers, Helen Pflaumer, Rich Price, Sion Lewis and Emily Lord; Elodie Merat for your wonderful translation skills and for attempting to teach me French; Tanya Srokozs for pointing me in the right direction; Simon Davies and many others at CYM, for all your patience and help. Amy Cummings: Who would have thought that evacuation together in Rwanda could have led to such a journey! There is no way I could have done this without you and no one else I would do it with. Thank you. Hebdavi Kyeya: Thank you for listening and taking a chance on a crazy white girl’s idea, for trusting me and for everything you have done to make it happen. I am privileged to count you as my friend and look forward to many more adventures... The Congo Tree Leader Mentors and Young Leaders: To all of you who graciously allowed me to observe, film and quiz you to provide raw data to consider. The potential in each of you is greater than you could ever imagine, and I hope that taking part in this research has helped you to believe this for yourselves. I am so excited for what comes next... ____________________________________________ This dissertation is dedicated to my Granddad: James Arnold Geoffrey Bentley You have always pushed me to keep going with my studies and I know that you are proud of me regardless of achievements, but I hope that this final piece brings you some peace: I finally finished. Perhaps one day we can celebrate together. ____________________________________________

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YCT 444: MA Dissertation

Heidi Bentley: s912440 Abstract

After seven years as a youth and community worker in the UK, I moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo to undertake an internship in Disaster Management with a humanitarian charity called Tearfund. Whilst there, I spent time with some Congolese young people and noticed a hope and eagerness for change, despite their abject poverty and the severity of their situations. I began to wonder if some of the sessions, techniques and lessons learnt developing youth work in the UK could help preserve this hope and equip the young people of the Congo to see real positive change in their lives and communities. I identified a lack of transferable skills in the Congolese workforce and the young people I met so I devised a training programme using tools and techniques from youth work in the UK which aimed to equip Congolese young people with these skills and positive leadership qualities. Using various research tools, this project uses the action-research model to assess whether and to what extent the training programme can support this development. The project uses research data collected from the pilot training programme, from April to December 2013. The findings and conclusions reflect the challenges of doing research with young people in a different context, of working in an insecure environment, and of collecting information when a researcher is not constantly present in the research environment. However, the results also show the initial positive effects of a training programme that, with continued monitoring and review, could be considered valuable to the development of young people in the Congo.

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YCT 444: MA Dissertation

Heidi Bentley: s912440 Contents

Title Page

1

Statement of Originality

2

Acknowledgements

3

Abstract

4

Contents

5

Chapter One: Introduction

6

Terms

8

Chapter Two: Identifying the Problem

9

Young People in the Democratic Republic of Congo Chapter Three: Imagining the Solution

18

Developing Transferable Skills in Young People and Designing the Training Programme Chapter Four: Designing the Action-Research Project

25

Context, Methodology and Research Tools Chapter Five: Implementing the Solution

44

Review and Analysis of Research Data Chapter Six: Modifying Practice

62

Conclusions and Recommendations Appendices Appendix I – The Congo Tree

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Appendix II – Leadership Development Programme: Course Outline

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Appendix III – Pre-training evaluation form

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Appendix IV – Training evaluation form

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Appendix V – Questions for the Diary Room

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Appendix VI – Assets questionnaire

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Appendix VII - Participant Profiles

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Appendix VIII – Arsène and Daniel

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Appendix IX – Hebdavi’s story

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Appendix X – Data Collection Schedule

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Bibliography

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YCT 444: MA Dissertation

Heidi Bentley: s912440 Chapter 1: Introduction

This report will look at an action-research project carried out in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Central Africa. Whilst working with a UK based humanitarian NGO called Tearfund, I spent six months living in guarded compounds in Eastern DRC and also spent time in field locations in both North and South Kivu provinces. These provinces have been the worst affected in DRC by the consistent violence since 1998 and remains the residence of around twenty-five active rebel groups. Despite being resource-rich and agriculturally fertile, the problems in Eastern DRC are numerous: severe poverty, conflict and violence, lack of healthcare, difficulty accessing and remaining in education, little to no infrastructure including roads or transport, no working justice system, economic crisis, corruption, and a general lack of positive leadership across the whole country. The effects of tribalism, colonialism and the subsequent conflict in the country since gaining independence in 1960 has left the Congolese weary and dependant on international aid. Generally, leadership in political or government spheres is desired for the influence, authority and money that it brings, rather than for the betterment of communities and the nation. Leaders who do set off with good motives or speak out for positive change are few: they often fear for their lives or get swallowed up in corruption and violence. The impact of these factors on young people in Eastern DRC is massive, although few studies have been completed to give us an accurate picture of just what this looks like. What we do know is that any young person who grows up in insecurity, conflict or poverty faces serious challenges physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, wherever this may be. The young people I met in DRC were enthusiastic and hopeful but it became clear that the situations that they faced as they moved towards adulthood threatened to crush these positive attributes. Researching DRC’s education system revealed an under-resourced, learn-by-rote system with outdated curricula, leaving young people underprepared for any workplace in technical and transferable skills. Working with educated Congolese colleagues provided an insight into impacts of the insecurity in Eastern Congo on the Congolese spirit, and how this was outworked within employment tasks and relationships: whilst my colleagues were clearly intelligent, skilled and willing, there was a general lack of effective team work,

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problem-solving skills were utilised for quick fixes, long-term strategy was confusing, decisions were always deferred either to an expatriate or to highest paid person in the room even if they were not the expert, and opportunistic actions led to some colleagues being questioned about their integrity within their role. Within the UK, I had worked with a number of young people growing up in insecurity, conflict and/or poverty. Whilst the situation and environment was clearly different to DRC, I recognised similarities in the issues faced. A visit to a youth project in DRC with a Tearfund colleague prompted a conversation about youth development and hope for positive change in the Congo. Consulting with our Congolese friends grew an idea of a youth development programme incorporating techniques, tools and resources from Western youth work experience. After researching the situation in DRC and looking at youth work techniques that had been implemented or recommended by others for the Sub-Saharan African context, I concluded that I had access to some resources and experience that could support the development of transferable skills in young people in DRC; experience of leadership development courses gave me insight into equipping leaders within our context; and, as a Christian, I also felt a strong call to support Congolese young people in developing what the Bible suggested were good personal and leadership qualities. The subject of this research project is the training programme that was designed out of this research. The Congo Tree charity was formed to enable the running of this Leadership Development Programme within DRC and to support ongoing work with Congolese young people (see Appendix I). This research project has value because there are substantial gaps in the information available on young people in DRC: Large organisations provide statistical information and recommendations on young people in education or health reports but always from a high-level view. Youth training programmes are evidenced and evaluated in other Sub-Saharan African countries, but conflict and sheer lack of youth development organisations operating in the Congo has hindered similar research in this context. Further research is potentially available from smaller organisations or in French publications but this is hard to locate. Overall, it seems that there is almost no research available on young people in DRC or the practical development of transferable skills in this context.

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Terms The Democratic Republic of Congo is also referred to as ‘DRC’ and ‘the Congo’ within this report. Participants: young people taking part in the research training programme. The Congo Tree: The charity through which this research project was undertaken. The DRC team: The Congo Tree team based in Goma who helped facilitate the training and research process. Leadership Development Programme: the programme designed through the actionresearch process, run by The Congo Tree and also referred to as ‘the programme’, ‘the training programme’ or ‘the training’ within this report. Leader Mentor: aged 18-30 years old, these are the first group of participants. Young Leader: aged 15-18 years old, these are the second group of participants, trained by the DRC team and each mentored by a Leader Mentor.

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Chapter Two: Identifying the Problem The Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second largest country in Africa, around the size of Western Europe. DRC is rich in natural resources which, over the years has contributed to the demise of the country as world powers scrambled to gain control of them. Having gained independence from Belgian colonisers in 1960, the Congo entered a time of turbulence culminating in war in 1998. Mistakenly referred to as civil war, fighting in DRC involved nine African nations and twenty armed groups. Despite a peace agreement in 2003, fighting continues in the Eastern part of DRC to this day. Estimates of over five million deaths, the majority being civilian and most due to basic diseases or malnutrition that went unaddressed led to it being labelled the “world’s deadliest crisis since World War II” (Coghlan, 2007, p.3). The effect of the conflict on young people in a physical sense is that 1 in 5 children die before the age of 5, many families grow up without the presence of a father figure (due to working away, involvement in rebel groups or death) and up to four million orphans fend for themselves (UNICEF, 2013). An estimated three million Congolese, including many children, have been displaced from their homes to live in severe poverty and fear. “Forced migration produces long term psychological effects on the displaced; there is a feeling of uselessness, dependency on aid and an inferiority complex that is forced on people” says Hebdavi, one of our facilitators. He himself has been displaced and notes that, “as a young person in DRC, you therefore grow up feeling limited in what you can achieve and also feeling like a “lower” human being or less important person as compared to the rest of the world” (see Appendix IX).

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Access to clean drinking water, food and healthcare is difficult, and the vulnerability of young people leaves them as open targets to oppression: it is estimated that 40% of Congolese women and girls are victims of sexual abuse and there are an estimated 30,000 child soldiers recruited into various rebel groups in Eastern DRC. These physical impacts clearly have longer term mental and spiritual impacts: every young person I met in DRC had experienced some kind of loss or trauma due to the conflict.

Economics “The Congo is not poor in terms of resources, but in the skills to turn these resources into wealth” (Ogbu and Mihyo, 2000, p.5). With its wealth in natural resources, fertile land and ample workers, DRC should not be dealing with such severe poverty. Mismanagement of DRC’s natural resources lost the country an estimated US$450 million in 2008 alone, which is more than the country’s entire annual education budget (EFA report, 2012, p.20). Although there have been some reports of economic growth,1 conflict, a rundown transport system and lack of infrastructure has severe negative impact on everyone; from the 70% of the population that are dependant on agriculture, to the small minority involved in mining2. The banking sector remains small and, although there are now 5 million mobile phone subscribers, signal is restricted to urban areas and technological developments remain insignificant. Whilst development aid from China offers to help with these issues, the counter-issue of Congolese markets being flooded with cheap Chinese goods threatens the chances of Congolese entrepreneurs succeeding. Entrepreneurs are seen as a key way to kick-start economic growth and to put money into communities (Ogbu and Mihyo, 2000), yet it is extremely difficult for entrepreneurs to access capital to start businesses. Bank loans are hard to access3

1

6.2% real GDP growth in 2007 according to the 2008 OECD report (p.243) When looking at infrastructure development, the water and electricity production and distribution sector recorded a 0.8% drop in 2007 because of equipment, which has a hugely negative impact on many other sectors economically, as well as on households. The state has not honoured promises to improve roads and transport systems – I was in Goma in 2010 when a one-mile stretch of tarmac promised in 2006 was finally laid from the border to the centre of the city just one week before the elections, and then the workers disappeared as soon as votes had been cast. 3 Personal research in Goma in 2011 suggests that bank loans are generally only offered to those with salaries and/or collateral such as a house, and if a loan is offered, interest rates of 36-48% are normal, paid over short terms of 12-24 months. 2

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and the amount of money offered is often not even enough to cover the fees for registering as an official business, forcing many to operate illegally, unprotected by the state and vulnerable to corruption. Even larger businesses struggle with endless bureaucracy and institutional corruption. In fact, the 2007 Doing Business report ranked DRC as the world’s most difficult place to do business and the 2007 Transparency International report ranked DRC 168th out of 180 countries, based on the level of corruption (OECD, 2008, p.250). Economic growth is essential to provide stability and opportunities to young people in the Congo, and knowledge of economics is important to anyone wishing to step into a role of leadership. Diamond suggests that, “Economic growth requires not only economic policies and institutions that encourage savings, investments, and trade; it also needs a political “enabling environment” (2000). Currently DRC does not have this, partly due to years of reliance on international aid.

Aid DRC was the 12th largest recipient of official humanitarian assistance in 2011, which equated to 52% of the country’s gross national income that year (GHA, online).4 Historically, ill-considered apportioning of aid has often had a negative impact, even in well-meaning hands: for example, the provision of mosquito nets to help fight malaria is necessary but willing donors providing thousands of nets from external sources rather than purchasing them from DRC suppliers damages local businesses. Both Moyo (2009) and Trefon (2011) agree that dependency on aid for many African countries has weakened social capital. Bashir regards social capital as, “the concept of human capital related to the skills and abilities of the population, especially the labour force,” and suggests that social capital, “can augment individual productivity and private earnings... [and] raise economic growth. In both cases, the impacts depend on the economic environment as well as the social and governance contexts” (2009, p.13). To build social capital, you need to invest in education and communities, democracy and accountability. Moyo claims that aid engenders laziness on the part of African policymakers as, “In aid environments, governments are less interested in fostering entrepreneurs and the development of their middle class than in furthering their own financial interests”. A middle-class pay taxes in

4

Africa as a whole receives roughly $50 billion in aid annually from foreign governments and an estimated $13 billion from private philanthropic institutions (Theroux, 2013).

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return for government accountability, but receipt of aid makes governments more accountable to donors than to the people, whilst conditionalities placed on aid and the requirement to use national profits to repay debts prevents governments spending money as they see fit and stunts economic development (Moyo, 2009, p.57-66). From government to the ordinary Congolese farmer, aid dependency has bred a victim mentality that relies on international donors to dictate the direction of life and development within DRC. This is some of the “severe impact on a material, economic, social, medical and psychological level,” identified by Verhoeve (2004, p.110). This undoubtedly has serious impact on the aspirations of and opportunities for young people in the DRC. Youth unemployment is a huge issue for the two-thirds of Africans who are under 25, including those in DRC.5 Unemployed youth are certainly not inactive – collecting water, keeping home, taking care of siblings, farming or selfemployment (Garcia and Fares, 2008) – but official employment is essential for the growth and development of communities and the national economy. However, just creating jobs cannot solve the problem when workers do not have the skills required: where workers are available their training levels are low and fewer than 10% of firms report any training for staff (Bashir, 2009, p.39). Where skills are developed, DRC faces large exoduses of youth, particularly those who are educated; from rural to urban environments, but also to expatriate employment. DRC has a huge task ahead to keep hold of its human capital. Bashir suggests that, “to rapidly upgrade the human capital stock of the young labor force, it is necessary to provide alternative education/training for a significant proportion of the out-of-school children. It will also be necessary to provide post-primary education and training opportunities up to the age of 15 for the majority of young people” (Bashir, 2009, p.42).

Education in DRC “Education is not only about making sure all children can attend school, it is about setting young people up for life, by giving them opportunities to find decent work, earn a living, contribute to their communities and societies, and fulfil their

5

An additional 57 million jobs would need to be created by 2020 in the developing world just to stop unemployment levels rising (EFA report, 2012, p.25).

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potential. At the wider lever, it is about helping countries nurture the workforces they need to grow in the global economy” (UNESCO, 2012, p.3) There is no doubt that education is of utmost importance to the Congolese, especially young people. Education is seen as the gateway for a better future, to becoming, “someone who has education has the right to speak in the community” (Clark-Kazak, 2011, p.152), and yet years of inadequate education opportunities means that the first priority is helping the Congolese alter their view of their own capabilities: as the Tanzanian President once said, “not accepting the present condition as just the ‘will of God’ but becoming aware, rejecting that which is bad and unacceptable and recognising that they have the ability to bring about better...” (cited by Callaway, 1973, p.55). This might be difficult amongst the adult population but could be easier with young people who still have passion and hope to “be enabled to make a difference in our society and our generation” (Focus Group, 23-03-2013). School-based education in DRC has been severely affected by the country’s infrastructure issues, consistent conflict and aid dependency. In 2009, the World Bank reported that only 30% of Congolese children were in school (Bashir, p.15) and completion rate of the full 6 years of primary education is around 29% (IRS, 2011).6 However, the real impact of conflict on education can be seen in the World Bank’s 2009 statistics for 15-19 years olds: these are the young people that should have started primary school during the worst years of conflict (1997-2002). In 2009, 80% or 5.2 million 15-19 year olds were out of school with many of the remaining 20% still in primary school, years after they should have completed. Of those out of school, only 8% had completed their 6 years of primary schooling (Bashir, p.15) and 90% of these young people were functionally illiterate. The DRC government’s meagre allocation of funds to education means schools are consistently under-resourced7 and teachers under-qualified.8 Good teachers often

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Whilst officially DRC must provide free primary education for all, this is not happening and many families cannot afford school fees, and conflict or helping with family duties has impact on regular attendance. Primary school enrolment is around 68% but there is a drop-out rate of 20% in the first year across the country: the situation is significantly worse in Eastern DRC with estimates of 31% (IRC, 2011) to 42% (UNESCO, 2011) of children never having been in a classroom. 7 Education was allocated a reported 2% of total budget spending in 2004 (OECD, 2008, p.252) with a slight increase to an earmarked 9% in 2011 and 33% of government teachers are unpaid (EFA, 2012). 20% of this insufficient education budget is reliant on donor aid (EFA, 2012, p.19).

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leave for higher-paying NGO jobs and older teachers retain their positions indefinitely, teaching out-of-date curricula which, “...neglect[s] practical training in favour of theoretical, rote learning that ignores technological developments” (OECD, 2008, p.253). Rote learning has developed a group of intelligent specialists who “lack…dynamic and relevant skills and the information needed to put the available skills to optimum productive use” (Ogbu and Mihyo, 2000, p.5). This is corroborated by The Congo Tree trainees, who themselves reported that their education consisted of “irrelevant subjects and outdated theories” and “too much theory with little if any practical application” producing “specialists not experts” (Focus Group, 23-03-2013). A reported 80% of students who complete primary school, move into secondary education. Overall, “secondary education is largely the preserve of the richest families” (Bashir, 2009, p.19) and this class to education link is engrained (ClarkKazak, 2011, p.52), as is clear gender disparity (EFA, 2011). The common consensus is that neither the academic 6 year route nor the 1-4 year technical and vocational route of secondary education adequately prepares young people for life and work. Of course, education does not just take place in school: “Children grow up in families and in communities; they learn from parents and other adults, from their contemporaries, from individuals and from group experience” (Callaway, 1973, p.20). Callaway emphasises the importance of vocational learning as part of indigenous learning, which he defines as learning on the job by observing, listening and imitating, and refers as much to skills as to culture and ‘life skills’. However, he points out that people cannot pass on what they do not themselves possess or know (1973, p.13-15). Lack of economic development within DRC is intrinsically linked with lack of technical skill or theoretical knowledge amongst the existing and therefore also the emerging labour market (OECD, 2008, p.252). Amongst the many suggestions for future improvements to education in DRC, there is a clear line advocating the development of ‘transferable skills’ (Bashir, 2009: EFA, 2011), and the importance of the learning that takes place within communities. The few students who attend University rarely gain transferable skills, but they do gain respect: “The graduate is credentialised as having escaped the structural

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An MLA survey reported that only 51% of math and 38% of science teachers had completed an upper secondary school qualification themselves (Bashir, 2009, p.23)

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constraints of poverty upon his or her capacity to understand and interrogate the world. In the backwaters of southern DRC, this has the psychological impact of a huge achievement” (Chan, 2013). These few graduates raise aspirations of young people all over the Congo.

Leadership “Since colonization, the country now known as the DRC has experienced a series of leadership crises as those with political power have sought to exploit the country’s vast natural resources for personal gain. Indeed, two of Congo’s longest-ruling leaders have gained international notoriety for the extent of their pillaging.” (Clark-Kazak, 2011, p.78) In DRC, leadership is about power, prestige and money. Historically, leaders have lived in comfort and luxury while ensuring that the Congolese never got far enough out of poverty to challenge this. There is still a pervading sense of inherited leadership from years of tribal governance (Clark-Kazak, 2011, p.81)9 and threats to established leadership are not taken kindly, as one of our facilitators attests: “When there is someone who wants to challenge the government, it puts his life and the life of his family in danger”. In 1999, Hebdavi’s father, a church leader in North Kivu province, challenged the government on matters of injustice. He was forced to flee with his family and live in exile for 4 years. “Such factors leave in the mind of the youth the idea that all you can do is to try to fit into the system or else face dire consequences. As a result, generation after generation, there is no improvement in the system because very few are willing to pioneer change as the risks are too high” (see Appendix IX). Pressure from the international community helped democratic elections happen for the first time in DRC in 2006, in relative peace, and opened up the possibility of change. It also opened up hope that leadership would not be restricted to just those who inherited it or knew the right people. I personally saw the impact of this in the November 2011 elections when over 19,000 Congolese ran for 500 elected

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I can corroborate this: Muhindo, one of our facilitators, casually happened to mention at a team meeting once that technically he was a prince in North Kivu, but sadly his land was under rebel control. Even the current president, Joseph Kabila, inherited the presidency from his father.

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legislative seats across the country (Friends of the Congo, 2011): we cannot know the actual motive of each of them but the sheer volume of willing participants reveals hope: if this eagerness can be sustained and leaders can be equipped and supported to lead with integrity, positive change in DRC is possible.

Church in DRC Verhoeve considers the increase of new churches in North Kivu and states that, “the church arena has become by far the most important public space” (2004, p.115). She claims that these churches have brought about a radical restructuring of social networks – new hierarchies replacing “kinship & ethnic descent, while the significance of the private space decreases – the priests and the churches replace the family and the private home and church become the new social (and economic) authorities”. Hendriks (2006) suggests that all over Africa, the churches, “have by far the highest level of public trust and as such can contribute immensely towards Africa’s moral regeneration and towards the development of African leadership” (Kagema in Nommers, Sep/Dec 2012, p.229). However, whilst the church in Africa is growing in numbers, there are criticisms that it does not yet seem able to produce enough trusted leaders, nor is it growing spiritually or theologically. Kagema comments that the lack of growth in church leadership – in number, theology or spirituality – risks the contribution of church in hoped for regeneration (Kagema in Nommers, Sep/Dec 2012, p.230). Therefore the equipping of new leaders in a Biblical concept of leadership is important.

‘Youth’ in DRC “But with all this talk of legislation and divestment, we must remember to invest in the DRC’s greatest resource for the future — its youth” (Houghton, 2012) “Building the capacity of young people to play a meaningful role in their communities and effectively interact with government is crucial to strengthening democratic governance” (Fagan, 2010) In both the UK and DRC, the cultural understanding of ‘youth’ is broadening and the transition from childhood to adulthood is not as clear as it once was. Traditional

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marker points such as parenthood, marriage and home-ownership are not as useful as they once were and are distinctly different in the Congolese context: young males in Eastern DRC often leave their family homes at 16 to build their own, even if only a few feet away, but would not necessarily be considered an adult. Barnes suggests that youth in the West can be described as, “a group that have yet to adopt full adult responsibilities, in other words…a group that is undergoing some form of development” (2002, p.2) and this is also a helpful starting point in the Congo. Clark-Kazak identifies a transitional youth stage in DRC from puberty until marriage, or when a young person has legally more decision-making responsibilities (2011, p.10). The inherent tribal structure of the Congolese still impacts perceptions of age: generally children are seen as ignorant, young people as knowing some things, whilst adults as inherently wise and parenthood is valued in the extreme. It is clear that Congolese young people are seen as integral members of families, households, communities and networks, rather than analyzed in isolation (ibid, p.7) and often take on responsibilities at a younger age than those in the West. Furthermore, UK ‘legal’ age markers are not relevant in DRC: if there are legal ages for driving, marriage or purchase of alcohol, they are rarely upheld or referred to. It is therefore important to heed Clark-Kazak’s warning not to infantilise people who in their own culture are recognized as having passed into adulthood, or require young people at too young an age to live up to the expectations beyond their years (2011, p.8). The Congo Tree understands youth to include young people from secondary school entry age (12 years old) to those who are still either in education or in the “moment of questioning” that Young identifies (1999, cited in Barnes, 2002, p.4), which we believe can extend to 30 years old. However, this action-research project will only be considering research on training with those aged 15-30.

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Chapter Three: Imagining the Solution Developing Transferable Skills and Leadership Qualities in Young People As a youth worker in the UK, I have used a number of informal education techniques to teach transferable skills. This chapter will look at a few of those which I considered to be most appropriate to use in the Congolese context and how I developed a training programme around them.

Transferable Skills Transferable skills are learnt behaviours that are necessary within many social contexts, specifically the workplace. They are often the skills that allow theory to be put into practical action. The UNESCO Education For All report defines transferable skills as including, “the ability to solve problems, communicate ideas and information effectively, be creative, show leadership and conscientiousness, and demonstrate entrepreneurial capabilities� (2012, p.27-8), which can be further defined as: 

Problem-solving skills: Intellectual skills that enable you to identify and analyse problems and find creative, realistic solutions, such as research or risk analysis.



Communication skills: Also called interpersonal or people skills, these allow you to positively relate to, communicate with, influence and inspire others, and to express your ideas and opinions articulately to others.



Creative skills: Includes both practical hands-on or technical skills and creative, innovative thinking around options, solutions and opinions.



Leadership skills and conscientiousness: These concern character, for example, integrity, reliability, punctuality, diligence, decision-making ability, responsibility, and organisational skills, such as planning and organisation of projects or resources. Also refer to vision-casting and ability to lead others.



Entrepreneurial capabilities: Ability or skill to put creative or problem-solving ideas into practice, along with good time, task and resource management and ability to plan strategically, aspiration and resilience.

These skills go hand-in-hand with a person’s self-awareness and self-confidence, ability to build rapport with others, and personal values. Increase in and development of transferable skills generally leads to better social interactions and work capacities. They are therefore desirable for employment, as well as partially determining the successful social development of a person.

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Peer Learning In everyday life, we learn from each other: when stuck on a problem, it is usual to ask someone to help, and this is most likely to be someone we know. Whilst this is naturally an informal process, if we can formalise or have a little more intentionality in the process, we can improve the effectiveness of the information shared, the way it is communicated and increase the learning gained. ‘Formalised’ peer learning gives people, “Considerably more practice than traditional teaching and learning methods in taking responsibility for their own learning and, more generally, learning how to learn… the emphasis is on the learning process, including the emotional support that learners offer each other, as much as the learning task itself” (Boud, et al. 2001, p.4). This is confirmed by Cooper (cited in Barnes, 2002, 57) who suggests that young people learn best when: 

There is a problem to be solved.



The learning is shared.



They are involved in doing.



The learning is related to their life.



There is a challenge.



There is time to reflect.



They enjoy learning.

Having identified a lack of ‘practice’ in the Congolese education system, developing an informal education programme utilising peer learning techniques and Cooper’s observations seemed like a good option, as well as being culturally relevant to the Congo and being identified as a key way to develop ‘generic learning outcomes’ (Boud, 2001) or ‘transferable skills’ (Assiter, 1995): Bashir advocates that non-formal education options, “should be considered as realistic alternatives to formal schools” (2009, p.32) specifically in the context of developing these transferable skills. The Congo Tree programme was designed to address this specific aspect of education development (see Appendix III for a full course outline). Conversation and group discussion The development of communication skills can be seen in increasing awareness of verbal and non-verbal communications, building of rapport, articulate sharing of ideas or opinions and active listening (Barnes, 2002). As peer learning is about sharing and discussing the experience of learning, it works to build interpersonal and communication skills by necessity – an individual must learn how to share their

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opinions and to listen to others effectively to work within the group, and the group expects this of its individual members (Boud, et. al. 2001). It is these interactions that a formalised peer learning programme needs to cultivate, because, “We don’t change people, people change themselves in interaction with others” (Jeffs and Smith, 2005, p.1). Conversation allows us to express and foster values and ways of being with each other (Jeffs and Smith, 2005, p.44) and also helps develop social skills, which Kogo identifies as greatly important for African young people (in Ogbu and Mihyo, 2000, p.58). Constructive conversation and group discussion aimed to involve and challenge participants to communicate effectively; role plays, scenarios and storytelling activities aimed to highlight barriers to communication and develop ways to communicate more effectively; review sessions were used, “firstly to make sense of, and develop what has just happened in an activity and secondly, to carry the lessons learnt forward into the next activity, everyday life, the workplace or life development” (Barnes, 2002). Problem-Solving Activities Problem-solving group activities and challenging discussion topics were used throughout the timetable to stimulate learning according to Cooper’s suggestions (see p.21): presenting problems to be solved which required groups to get involved, challenge each other and reflect together. Activities were intended to be enjoyable whilst practically testing theory and skills, giving a facilitator a method to “lead a group of young people through a problem solving process” (Barnes, 2002, p.7). Group Work Peer Learning “is effective where there is willingness to focus on learning as a social as well as an individual activity, a desire for the development of skills in cooperating and working with each other and a valuing of the importance of students challenging each other” (Boud et al. 2001, p26), so group work was an important factor in the programme. Group activities require participants to develop transferable skills such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving and self-awareness through exploration and criticism of ideas. Creativity is another common theme running throughout the training programme. Rippin proposes that, “Whilst teamwork cannot necessarily produce creativity, group problem solving and creativity techniques have repeatedly resulted in new ideas and process improvements” (2002, p.4).

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When done well, working as a group or team has the additional benefit of creating a sense of belonging. Kehily states that, “A sense of belonging is vital to our wellbeing” (2007, p.173) because it increases self-confidence and sense of worth. In turn, increased self-confidence leads to better teamwork, as focus shifts from the inward concerns of an individual to the added value of that individual and their role within a team. In this sense, teams become “nurturing places where people reach their highest potential…where they felt valued, accepted and respected” (Rippin, 2002, p.50): they become communities. As our spirituality is related to our purpose, and purpose is related to us making a contribution, it thus relates to team work: “One person cannot make much of a difference, but when a team starts to perform, amazing things can happen” (Rippin, 2002, p.49) seems to be a Western way of explaining what Africans refer to as “Ubuntu” or ‘I am because we are’. In my experience, creating a positive group to belong to can support vulnerable or ‘at-risk’ young people in making better life decisions as the “groups and organizations we belong to exercise a strong influence over our behaviour and even our values” (Nash, Pimlott and Nash, 2008, p.2). ‘Communities’, which in this case are peer learning groups, are interdependent rather than independent and therefore developing them always comes with an element of risk, especially with a group of young people who do not already know each other. The group will have to work through the stages identified by Tuckman (1965) in a short time, and group tensions can be problematic. This risk is further heightened in the Congo for a number of reasons: this learning technique is different to any formal education methods experienced by Congolese young people; the programme will bring together young men and women who may not be used to working together as equals; there will be trainees from different ethnic groups which have historical tensions. To mitigate against these risk factors, it will be important to familiarise the young people with peer learning activities and processes (Boud et al. 2001, p.56) and to explain the value of cooperation, of trust, and for a number of sessions to be covered before group work begins – one of the most important of these will be the ‘group contract’, where the trainees will establish their hopes and ground rules about working together. Creating a sense of belonging or community is also essential for sustainability in any context. Van der Post (1956) encourages awareness of the importance of community in African society and, even in the West, the idea of ‘a healthy village’ is referred to as an ideal (Copsey, 2005, p.100). Andrews states that “the experience of community

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that we need to develop is the experience of being part of a ‘readily available, mutually supportive network of relationships’ (1996, p.75) and The Congo Tree programme needs to set an organisational ethos that encourages positive community and continuous learning, which, within a context racked with conflict, corruption and oppression, and that has constant sight of Western individualism and materialism was not necessarily going to be easy.10 As well as being suitable for the African context, peer learning is also identified as a particularly good way to equip women (Boud, et al. 2001, p.6 and 26) who are more inclined to or practiced in sharing situations with others around them. Whilst generalisations are not always helpful, it is my experience that women often benefit greatly from working in groups when learning about life skills and, as building up the capacities of young women in the Congo is of great importance due to gender disparities in the education system, peer learning techniques work well. Peer learning has a good biblical foundation. When we look at Jesus and his disciples, we can see a clear model of peers sharing experiences and learning from others. The Bible often gives wisdom about learning being a joint endeavour: we are called to build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11); to value our different strengths, weaknesses, gifts and talents and take on different roles in the ‘body’ (1 Corinthians 12); and we are also told that “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). It is clear that the interdependence discussed by Boud is one of God’s clear strategies for His people, and therefore is intrinsic to any course with biblical foundations. Youth Organising Youth organising is a fairly new term referring to bringing young people together into a group for a specific purpose or project, generally one that focuses on aspects of social change or giving young people a political voice, whilst supporting leadership and entrepreneurial skills. It therefore might be accurate to see youth organising as peer learning with an action plan. Organising young people in groups with a focus on action and education is already happening in Africa. Ogbu and Mihyo confirm that established youth-to-youth and youth-to-community education programmes, “have had successful impacts and have contributed to the quality of life in Africa, indicating

10 The DRC has an increasing influx of Western culture through media, film and music or simply the presence of Western expatriates. Western culture is generally seen as superior in many ways.

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that youth can be useful agents of change” (2000, p.xi). The Congo Tree programme therefore aims to take the learning from youth organising in the West and encourage the development of youth-to-youth or youth-to-community social action and enterprise projects. Facilitation Facilitation is an important part of peer learning as it naturally puts the responsibility on the learner rather than the ‘teacher’. Leaders operating as facilitators are participatory and active, with an emphasis on people and experience rather than task, allowing people to learn from themselves (Barnes, 2002, p.57). Co-facilitation can develop this further as, “When done well, co-facilitation can create a vibrant dynamic within the group as well as modeling collaborative approaches, different ways of working and perhaps different views and opinions” (Nash, Pimlott and Nash, 2008, p.42). All facilitators need to use their power appropriately and effectively to empower others (ibid., 2008, p.34) using their role to guide learners to explore what is going on by asking questions and engaging in conversations that challenge the ‘accepted’” (Jeffs and Smith, 2005, p.15). Co-facilitation in this context also supported capacity building within the DRC team and encouraged the group to see all facilitators as equal.

Reviewing is essential to peer learning as an encouragement to continued learning. Within the programme reviewing was done in different ways - sometimes (and mostly at the start) we reviewed together as a whole group, and then individually either in pairs, or to the ‘diary room’ camera. As the training went on, the aim was that reviewing in groups became effective enough without the need to feedback to the whole group, and that the facilitator could “make himself superfluous, to be replaced by indigenous leaders from the group.” (1948 cited in Smith, 2001, online). Formalized peer learning obviously has desired learning outcomes: Peer learning was chosen primarily because the development of learners and group-workers was an outcome in itself. Many of the other learning outcomes may be lost as generic outcomes, but it must be recognised that I am expecting peer learning techniques to help improve transferable skills, especially interpersonal and communication skills, self-awareness, teamwork and presentation skills, and very importantly, the ability to give constructive feedback. According to Boud et al., students who value peer learning practices usually describe them as “challenging, creative, exciting and supportive. They are often surprised how much they learn about themselves, their -

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beliefs and attitudes, as well as the subject content” (2001, p.22), so I will be looking for these sentiments in the research data. Positive Learning Environment I was keen to make sure that in formalising the process of peer learning, we did not lose the informal nature of the learning environment – learning works best when young people are at ease in their environment. Learning should be fun where possible, especially when learning life-skills: it is the skills that we develop in these sessions that ensure we have the best possible reaction to positive and negative life situations. In a conflict context, where life can be extreme in difficulties, fun in learning is even more important. If we can create a positive learning environment, we create a place of safety and trust where ‘acquisition learning’ can happen. I wanted to create learning environments that promoted group discussion, equality and shared learning. Indoors, I knew that room set-up could affect power relations and group dynamics. Any indoor learning environment was to look distinctly different from a school classroom with no barriers between the facilitator and the group, or the group with each other. I decided on a circle of chairs: a circle is conducive to group discussion as everyone is equally positioned to be seen and heard, with a literal space in the middle to represent space for everyone’s opinions and, although a facilitator might be present, no one person is ‘leading’. Changes to a learning environment can be used to stimulate surprise and exploration (Jeffs and Smith, 2005, p.15: Nash, Pimlott and Nash, 2008, p.37), and I have used these changes to develop adaptability and expectancy in young people: young people who can deal with change positively in a secure environment are generally also better at dealing with it in an unknown situation. One example of this was in the communication skills session: through using one environment firstly as an obstacle course activity and then as a visual aid to explain theory, discussion was stimulated. I identify with Barnes’ view that using the outdoors has the benefit of being fun, active and generally more physical, whilst emotions are heightened, communication is necessarily enhanced, and memories are made (2002, p.91). The climate and environment in DRC posed new challenges to utilising outdoor space but it was important to allow the young people to see how outdoor space could be utilised for learning whilst also providing much-needed variety in an intensive learning environment.

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Chapter Four: Designing the Action-Research Project Context, Methodology and Research Tools This chapter will consider the development of the research project. I will look at the specific context, the research focus and questions, and then the methodology and research tools employed to be able to gather findings. I will also give an account of myself as a researcher.

Research Focus and Questions The research project had a broad aim of analysing the impact of a training programme and mentoring scheme on a group of young people in DRC, to see if and to what extent peer learning and informal educational style activity and discussionbased sessions, could improve or develop transferable skills. This provided a research focus which would later become specific research questions to evaluate against. The research process was focused on social context and behavioural change and therefore leant itself to a particular type of research process and tools.

The Starting Point The knowledge we have about our human social and behavioural aspects of life is rarely a one-size-fits-all concept. Natural science can give us rules and generalisations around human actions and interactions but it cannot fully explain all of these. Humans develop knowledge in diverse ways with variety in result and consequence, at different rates, with different behavioural interpretations. As a researcher, I would therefore tend to fall into the ‘interpretivist’ group (Weber), who see the social world as intrinsically different to natural sciences and therefore requiring of different research procedure, “one that reflects the distinctiveness of humans as against the natural order” (Bryman, 2008, p.15). I would also agree with a constructionist viewpoint that social phenomena such as organisations or groups may have general understandings and patterns of action but these are constantly revised by members – they are growing and developing just like the individuals associated with them. It is my hope in this research project to be able to make statements of truth about the specific group I am working with, in their specific context, and then proposed which may have wider application. In line with

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phenomenology, I will be trying to, “interpret their actions and their social world from their point of view” (ibid, 2008, p.16) acknowledging that they may view things differently to me. I am therefore prepared for surprise answers or unexpected results – whilst I believe the techniques used in the programme to be effective in my experience in a UK context, this research project is about seeing if it can be as effective in another context. As a researcher aiming to gain insight into how people develop knowledge, I believe I must be involved in the process, for my own knowledge-development. In this research project, trying to stay neutral or value-free to offer objective conclusions seems impossible – no human can be free from their cultural, experiential and educational background – and undesirable. I recognise value in accepting these biases: I accept my own conscious partiality. Outside of my role as a researcher I am committed to the cause, placing value on both the participants and the programme, which colours the findings and conclusions I make, especially as a participantobserver. Therefore, ensuring willing ownership of the process by the participants, and utilising reflection and peer review with co-facilitators are essential to ensure the validity of any conclusions reached.

Research Process and Methodology In line with viewing myself in the interpretivist, constructionalist set within research, and in order to test out my hypothesis and generate theory in line with “a view of social reality as a constantly shifting emergent property of individual’s creation” (Bryman, 2008, p.22), my research project clearly leant itself to more of a qualitative process. Quantitative research can only go so far to show moral and value development – it might confirm numbers of people who profess to have learnt something but will not sufficiently show the learning process or outcome. Quantitative data is a good start and check point, but measurement is not a preoccupation in this study: qualitative data is necessary to explain what has changed, how and why. When trying to gauge world views, value development and subsequent behavioural change, qualitative data is essential.

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The Action-Research Approach Action-research is normally undertaken by those wishing to improve an aspect of professional practice (Denscombe 2010). This research project is distinct in that I was not operating as a youth worker within the context to be researched. Whilst there are certain aspects of the research project that allow me to reflect on my own practice, the action-research approach was primarily chosen for its other intrinsic components.

The ActionResearch Spiral

5. Modify practice

1. Identify the issue

4. Gather evidence and evaluate

2. Imagine the solution

3. Implement the solution

Action-research is practical and tries to solve real-world problems by integrating action with research (NcNiff, Lomax and Whitehead, 1996). This is my preferred model of research and is ideal for this cultural context. The Congolese are used to white-Westerners parachuting in to do research, recording their plight and then leaving as quickly as they came. Having seen this whilst in DRC, I was mindful of not offering a ‘quick-fix’ solution or for research to become purely a paperwork exercise. The need for sustainability and continued development of the project was another reason for the action-research approach: the cyclical process used by actionresearch allows for periodic reflection, development and implementation that can continue beyond the realms of this report. Furthermore, action-research concerns something localised and small scale, which I believe is essential in piloting a new way of learning and thinking within a relatively unknown cultural context. The combination of cyclical review in a localised context means that “the application of

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findings and an evaluation of their input on practice became part of the cycle of research,” (Denscombe, 2010, p.126). This is essential as the programme evolves to ensure cultural relevance, continued sustainability and effectiveness. Longitudinal Design In order to measure real change in knowledge and behaviour, research data needed to be collected over time. I aimed to collect research data over 12 months. Whilst most longitudinal studies involve the researcher being present in the context for the timeframe of the research, I could not remain in DRC. I therefore had to design suitable research tools that could be easily utilised in a sustainable way by local facilitators, without knowing which tools would work in the context. However, the benefit of not being present for the duration of the research project prevented any over-involvement as a participant-observer and ensured that participants were not continually affected by my presence as a researcher. I hoped this would encourage increased ownership of the process. Action research is “vulnerable to the criticism that the findings relate to one instance and should not be generalised beyond this specific ‘case’” (Denscombe, 2010, p.133). The results of this research project will have most impact on programme content, direction and facilitation, and therefore are case-specific. Yet, if results suggest that the training programme is effective and can be regarded as good practice, they may have wider impact on partner organisations and programmes within DRC and potentially other contexts.

The Specific Context The city of Goma in Eastern DRC lies across the border from the Rwandan town of Gisenyi and is home to an estimated 1 million people, not including those currently residing in IDP camps around the city. It has endured consistent conflict since 1998; the most recent being in November 2012, when a rebel group took control of the city. It is not just conflict that threatens Goma – lava-flows from volcanic eruptions nearby have repeatedly destroyed parts the city and high levels of methane gas underneath Lake Kivu have the explosive potential to obliterate it entirely. All these factors have awarded Goma the label of, “the most dangerous city in the world” (National Geographic, 2011). Weak government response to conflict and the most recent

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volcanic eruption in 2002 has resulted in the population of Goma becoming completely dependent on international help (Verhoeve, 2004, p.110). Goma is the government headquarters for the North Kivu province which, with its proximity to the border, has made it an ideal base for Mining Corporations, many NGOs and charities, as well as home to the 20,000 UN troops that make up the largest UN peace-keeping deployment in the world. Consequentially, Goma has regular (although inconsistent and unreliable) supplies of running water and electricity. It has a communications network, an emergent banking industry and a bustling market area. The city is growing, although much of the development work within the city is on housing and services for expatriates – such is the expectation for the NGOs and humanitarian organisations to remain in the area. There are large churches, a mosque, and two hospitals. The majority of children in the city have access to a school (subject to school fees) and the University of Goma, opened in 1993, had a record 4500 students enrol in 2008. There are some youth groups and organisations operating in the city. The majority are church-based, one project is using music as a way to encourage peace, and a number of NGOs and charities run youth education programmes alongside their primary work – generally focused on sharing health information such as good hygiene, HIV and malaria. The Focus Group (see p.44) identified one accessible leadership course for young people and I was also aware of two others beginning in the city: one run by a missionary couple, focused on church leadership, and one run by a secular US-based organisation called Congo Leadership Initiative, who had been running a leadership programme in secondary schools in Kinshasa for a year. I had been in regular contact with the latter programme, sharing experiences and supporting them with curriculum development. Each of these programmes was primarily front-led, very similar to the Congolese school system, although with slightly more participation. I therefore felt there was still a gap in the training offered for young people, specifically in the area of transferable skills and of putting theory into practice. So, with the aim of working alongside these other organisations, I began creating the Leadership Development Programme and preparing for the pilot training. Context Impact on the Programme and Research Process I had to plan the research process around a number of situational and environmental factors. The original idea was to send training materials via email to existing groups in Goma. However, contacts in Goma expressed concern that they were not trained

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or equipped to facilitate these sessions adequately and it became clear that coordinating the collection of results would be difficult with such wide-spread participation. So the idea evolved from individual training sessions to a short training programme that could be facilitated when I returned to Goma, combined with training a local team to facilitate the training themselves, and familiarising them with the research process and tools. Personal experience prompted me to consider sustainability, long-term support, and what precedent I was setting, specifically as a Westerner coming over with a new ‘scheme’. Research had provided multiple examples of well-meaning short-term projects that actually caused more harm than good (Moyo, 2009; Glennie, 2008). A short training programme alone was not enough to be effective: participants would need to meet up regularly to maintain peer learning groups, and opportunities needed to be created for continuing leadership development, even if the programme could only be funded for 12 months. A mentoring aspect to the programme was created, which let participants aged 18-30 (called Leader Mentors) gain experience of leadership as a role model to younger participants (Young Leaders), who in turn could practice their leadership skills through social action projects they designed and organised, whilst supported and supervised by their mentors. I had finances that would cover a two-week trip to Goma, where I would need to facilitate the first of the training programmes and conduct all my initial research. The security situation within the city for me as a white, Western female meant that I would be restricted in curfew, location and therefore access to young people, who, if there was any violence in or near the city, would also be under city-wide curfew from 6pm6am. As within any conflict context, a change in the security situation could happen rapidly and therefore I put together a security plan and evacuation option for myself and protocol for the participants. In considering the security situation in Goma and the commitments of participants to their families and schools, it became clear that holding the training programme as a ‘retreat’ over weekends was the best option. A secure, suitable guesthouse in the city was found to host the retreat. It also had the additional benefit of creating a positive learning environment, free from worries or responsibilities from home, allowing participants to immerse themselves in the programme and into forging relationships.

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Participation Participation is an important aspect of action-research and mirrors the ethos and aim of the project to equip young Congolese to effect change themselves. Through “involving those affected by the research in the design and implementation of the research – to encourage them to participate as collaborators in the research rather than be subjects of it,” (ibid. 2010, p.126) the research process itself becomes a form of capacity-building, leading to ownership of the process and continual development. The participants for the pilot training programme all live in the city of Goma. Our Leader Mentors (aged 18-30) have all completed at least their secondary school education and a number of them are at university, and our Young Leaders (15-18 years old) are all in secondary school.11 The educational level of these young people puts them in the minority in DRC but in considering the respect assigned to university students in their communities, the idea of utilising them to equip and inspire others, before losing them to employment or further studies abroad, was an interesting concept to me, which influenced the selection of this group. All the participants were found through existing networks of the DRC team. As a researcher and a person of ‘inclusive’ nature, I questioned not opening up the application process wider, but a number of reasons led me to opt for selection rather than sampling. Firstly, these participants were accessible as they were in existing networks, which therefore negated a lengthy and potentially difficult advertising process. The security situation in the city was volatile and choosing young people who were already connected into the city was beneficial. Secondly, young people with higher-education qualifications have a level of respect in their communities and are potentially those who are more likely to become leaders within these communities in the future. Whilst the programme had the specific aim of being available to a range of young people in the future, I decided to begin by training young people who would potentially be the best at constructive feedback, who would hopefully see the potential in the education style and be those equipped to take it forward and adjust it to be more culturally relevant. There was also an expectation on my part that they would be more accepting and understanding of a white, Englishspeaking facilitator. Finally, whilst the participants were linked to the DRC team in some way, there was still an application process to ensure fair selection.

11

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See Appendix I for The Congo Tree’s organisation structure and Appendix iv for participant profiles

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I set criteria for each group: 12 young people were to be selected, in line with Katzenbach and Smith’s recommendations (cited in Rippin, 2002, p.52), who were the correct age, of mixed gender, ethnicity, background and educational speciality (i.e. not studying the same course). Leader Mentors would hopefully have some experience working with or supporting young people. It was preferable that participants did not know each other, for transparency on the effectiveness of the team-building sessions. The DRC team selected the most diverse group they could, including those they thought would benefit most from participating. On selection, the participants were to be made aware that research was happening alongside the programme and that they were requested to take part in some way. I offered three options for involvement: to be involved fully with freedom to use their name and comments, to be involved in research anonymously, or to opt out of individual research tools but participate in the group research. The participants signed a declaration, stating their preference.

The inclusion of participants in the research process was also an attempt to challenge what is referred to as the ‘Mzungu’12 effect of a tendency to defer to foreigners, specifically those who are white and Western, and therefore perceived to be more educated, wealthy and/or in a position of relative power (Clark-Kazak, 2011, p.38). The ‘Mzungu’ effect can also refer to a negative attitude towards white Westerners, who are related to colonial oppressors and therefore not to be trusted. In a country where the remnants of colonialism are still so intrinsically wired into mindset, coming in as a white, Western, educated ‘expert’ in a training situation had the potential to emphasise rather than destroy these colonial barriers. I anticipated this having an adverse effect on the training and the research, for example, heightened expectations of and towards myself as trainer. Having designed a programme of training that was distinctly different to the curriculum and educational style of other institutions in the Congo, I was required to facilitate the training. This prompted some reflection on the benefits and drawbacks of facilitation, and therefore of research as participant-observer.

12

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Bantu / Swahili word commonly used to refer to someone with white skin or of European descent.

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Facilitation and Research as Participant-Observer I intended to adopt the role of facilitator rather than trainer or ‘expert’ as this allowed me to introduce the programme in a way that portrayed me as someone with tools and ideas to offer rather than knowledge, allowing participants to choose what they accepted, and have ownership of their learning and the projects that developed because of it. Taking into account my research, I was aware that there were undeniable benefits to co-facilitationn. I wanted to ensure that I consistently had a Congolese co-facilitator to share the teaching with, an approach in line with ‘emancipatory’ action research – “action research is emancipating when it aims not only at

technical and practical improvement

and the participant’s

better

understanding, along with transformation and change within the existing boundaries and conditions, but also at changing the system itself of those conditions which impede desired improvement in the system/organization,” (Zuber-Skerritt, 1996, cited in Denscombe, 2010, p.131). By ensuring that we shared facilitation, we modelled the co-operation and ethos of mutual respect and honour that we were hoping to see in the group itself, breaking down the need to have a specified authority figure to learn from. The team in DRC were assembled from the group we had consulted with in the initial development stages. They were all university educated and Englishspeaking and had existing leadership roles with youth. In being part of the group, experience allowed me to guide the learning in ways that others could not yet, and on reflection, self-reflexivity was actually an essential part of the research process and development of the programme – I needed to be involved in the sessions to ensure that the group fully benefitted and be free to react to the situation steering the conversations or activities to be more effective. The research therefore is practitioner-driven, but attempts to engage all participants as equal partners in the process (ibid. 2010, p.130). Denscombe suggests that “‘the stranger’ might be better placed to see the kind of thing which, to the insider, is too mundane, too obvious, to register as an important factor” (2010, p.132-3). Co-facilitation allowed me to commence most sessions then let the DRC team facilitate the group discussions and review/feedback times, enabling me to observe and reflect. This had the additional benefit of increasing confidence and ownership of the programme amongst the DRC team, and also meant that all review was conducted in the participant’s own languages (French and Swahili) whilst I listened and only interjected when I considered it appropriate, or was

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directly asked. Obviously the presence of a researcher in a room can potentially influence responses given, but by fostering an open learning environment, I hoped that this influence would be minimal. Yet ultimately I was undertaking research as a participant-observer. Research as a participant-observer can be seen as a research tool within itself as a researcher aims to observe from within an environment, but the participating aspect is important to recognise – a participant-observer is part of the group, the learning, the development, for “in practice, participant observers do more than simply observe” (Bryman, 2008, p.402). Participant-observation has the benefit of access and deeper insight into the effects of the process on individuals and the group. It involves the developing of trust between participants and researcher, which hopefully allows for richer observations and relational evaluations. In this case, due to being a facilitator, I was a total participant (Gans, 1968), meaning that I was completely involved in the situation and would subsequently need to write notes later. In order to mitigate against suspicion of me as a researcher, Bryman suggests ways to gain the trust of participants, which I intended to employ: I should play to my credentials, have a role, be non-judgemental and trustworthy and be prepared for any change in circumstance (ibid, 2008, p.402). The risk of suspicion towards me within a group-work context was greatly reduced by my active participation in the training, allowing them to get to know me as I also got to know them. I knew that writing notes of observations would be difficult while facilitating, so I aimed to make brief notes during sessions that I would write up in more detail later. Language It was essential that the programme and research tools be in French, with the option of Swahili, so that all participants were comfortable expressing themselves. I am not fluent in either language so the need for translation was unavoidable and the consequences of translation on the validity of the research would be taken into consideration. Firstly, translation increases the length of any sections of direct teaching from the front, and therefore shortened the time allocated for discussion and questions in some sessions. Secondly, as a researcher, there is a risk in loss of impact of comments due to translation and the researcher’s different cultural background, and therefore also the validity of conclusions. Finally, translation was going to significantly lengthen time to process results and feedback. I hoped that by participating in the research process, rather than just reviewing the material

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gathered, I would be able to balance this. I also had the benefit of having worked with my translators before. Ethical Considerations As willing and knowing participation in the research project was part of the programme itself to increase ownership of learning amongst the participants, I did not face any particular ethical issues in terms of hiding myself as a researcher – my own participation was overt and therefore accepted. Participants could choose how they wished to contribute to research, meaning that they had a choice over what information remained confidential and what they offered freely. The focus group was instrumental in allowing a facilitator to explain exactly what was involved and expected of participants, and I ensured that all consent forms were available in French and Swahili, so participants could freely give informed consent, as advocated by the SRA Ethical Guidelines and BSA Statement (Bryman, 2008, p.121). Aside from the importance placed on participants owning the process of development, I felt that the research process was an essential way to model integrity, which is core to the ethos of the programme itself. In making participants fully aware of the research process, there was clearly a risk on the quality of the research as it set expectations on the young people, and it increased the chance of participants offering socially desirable answers in the hope of earning favour. However, integrity and openness was of far greater importance to the long-term impact of the programme, and so I hoped to be able to mitigate these risks through the choice of no direct interviews, amongst other things. In DRC, the impact of dependency on aid was that the Congolese would do anything to become a beneficiary of an NGO programme or project, as they recognised that this often meant access to certain benefits and finance (or gifts in kind). Essential to the success of The Congo Tree was a clear line on participant ownership of the project and future sustainability, and an explanation that this was not just another funnel for international finance. When considering ethical issues such as potential harm to participants, the largest question seemed to be around politics. As political choices in DRC are literally a matter of life and death, it was essential that we stay impartial and politically neutral as an organisation in everything we did for the safety and longevity of the project. Child Protection and Health and Safety policies do not exist in the DRC except within International Organisations and NGOs, and policies do need to be adapted to the

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context, yet I saw it as essential good practice to have a Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Risk Assessment procedure for The Congo Tree. We were working with young people under the age of 18, and therefore ‘children’ within an international definition (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, Article 1) and were training others to do the same, so these subjects were covered in two training sessions for facilitators and Leader Mentors, so that we did our best to protect young people involved in the programme.

Mixed-methods research tools I used a variety of research tools in my action-research project, partly because I was unsure which would be most effective in gathering data from the participants in this particular context. All of the tools selected have benefits and drawbacks – by using a variety, I hoped to offset some of the limitations or ‘imperfections’ of each tool through using an alternative source of data. This was particularly important in this context, where language and restrictions on time could impact on the validity of any of the research tools. It was essential that I was able to triangulate my findings, checking them against each other as mutually reinforcing or to identify issues or anomalies. It also enabled my conclusions to be more complete, as any gaps left by one method could potentially be covered by another. Diversity of participants’ learning styles is reflected in diversity of preferred reviewing styles. As the aim of the programme was to encourage self-awareness and ownership, I wanted to ensure that participants could pick their preferred way to feed back. I also tried to benefit from both group and individual responses, taking into account the “different types of discourse that may be expressed in the ‘private’ and ‘public’ arena, or with peers versus with an interviewer (Kitzinger, 1994, p.117).

Focus Group My limited experience in the context of Goma meant that it was particularly important to understand more about life, education and opportunities there from young people themselves, rather than from books or my own presuppositions. Whilst I could have got this from individual interviews, focus groups are made up of individuals discussing subjects or questions as a group and therefore have a number of benefits for the information offered.

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Group consensus on an issue or as a response may hold more weight, as it will have passed from an individual opinion into a conversation, where additional information is contributed and challenges are raised until an overall view is agreed on. An individual opinion that the group neglects to pick up is probably just a personal issue: whilst these opinions are valuable, the consensus view of a group is much more reliable when considering an overall picture or shared experience in one context. Group consensus can therefore be recognised to have more validity. In addition to the information a focus group can offer, it allows insight into the cultural context of group/social processes in articulating knowledge or views (Kitzinger, 1994, p.116). Focus groups provide a view into group dynamics amongst young people of different gender, ethnicity and background, and also personality, confidence and leadership style that could not be seen in individual interviews or even observed in training sessions. When facilitated well, focus groups can allow the sharing of views in a safe and free way for participants. Good facilitation of a focus group is really important – group discussion needs to be as free-flowing as possible, allowing the group to generate answers and responses themselves. A facilitator needs to offer the main discussion point and then keep interjections to a minimum. In this context, it was also essential that the facilitator of focus groups was a native Congolese, to be able to fully understand language used, to pick up on social cues and responses that are specific to the cultural context, and to know how something was said as well as understand what was said. As a nonnative speaker, I was not going to facilitate any focus groups. This would potentially have an impact on the validity of the results, as I would be interpreting another person’s interpretations of the participants’ interpretations, but there seemed to be no other way, and I hoped the power of group consensus would outweigh the difficulties. Of course, focus groups have other drawbacks. Whilst group consensus is hoped for, sometimes it is not reached and group discussion becomes argument. It must also be recognised that group consensus is immediately related to the opinions of the small group gathered, and therefore the validity of this opinion beyond that group is hard to gauge. Consensus is also often weighted more to recent ‘fresh’ experiences in a group’s mind, and therefore needs to be evaluated in light of other contextual knowledge.

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Finally, focus groups work for some people and not others: they tend to attract a more vocal and articulate group of people and are difficult for those who struggle to interact with or challenge their peers. There could be issues around the cultural ability for particular groups to speak up, for example women, a particular tribe, or the youngest. Therefore, this would need to be taken into account by the researcher and the facilitator when looking at how to facilitate group discussion and group dynamics on the day – this will require reflexivity. Video ‘Diaries’ I chose not to do direct interviews with participants because I felt that my obvious difference from the interviewee may hinder the freedom and honesty of the information they shared – I anticipated a particularly strong ‘interviewer effect’ that could either present in participants offering more socially desirable answers, or to be untrusting of the interviewer due to historical and cultural factors and therefore not truly open to being interviewed (Denscombe, 2010, p.178). I would also have needed a translator and perceived that this could significantly stunt conversation flow. Yet I needed a method to collect participants’ feedback without having to write and where flow of conversation could be captured – this was especially important in contexts with low literacy levels and where resources such as paper were in shorter supply. I set up a ‘diary room’ each day of the training course, where individual participants could speak freely to a video camera. In the format of a semi-structured interview, a few open questions were available each day as a prompt, but participants were reassured that they could divert from these questions as much as they wished (see Appendix V). I was seeking personal responses to the themes in the training, and I hoped that the comments given on camera would be more honest. I also knew that Congolese young people were fascinated by technology and hoped to gain from their desire to use the video camera. The aim of the video ‘diaries’ was to show visually and audibly a change in confidence, to gain information and opinions from participants, and to hear any testimony concerning the learning that they could identify in themselves. Using open questions was essential for this purpose, as “respondents can answer in their own terms” (Bryman, 2008, p.232) but also on their own terms, choosing which questions they felt they could offer answers to, either positive or negative. Open questions also allowed for unusual responses and do not suggest answers, so real levels of knowledge and understanding could hopefully be seen. Allowing daily access to

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record a ‘diary entry’ also helped with focus, as memories were still fresh and the intensity of the retreat environment automatically encourages reflection. On the other hand, responses could be heightened in excitement or confusion without more reflection time and this could restrict the data’s credibility for long-term conclusions, but nevertheless could provide useful insight into responses to the programme. There were weaknesses to this method of data collection; the first being the sheer volume of data that could be produced, and subsequent amount of time it would take to transcribe and translate this. To make this more manageable, I added a time restriction of maximum 10 minutes to each individual’s daily recording. This could potentially mean less depth to the data collected, but also more focus to the responses. Another disadvantage of video ‘diaries’ was that there could be no prompting or confirming the responses given: this too had the potential to limit the depth and validity of the data, but was unavoidable in order to allow the necessary freedom of speech and to ensure that no hierarchy of ‘interviewer’ was imposed. Evaluation/Feedback Forms Questionnaires are a key way of gathering written qualitative and quantitative data, enabling a participant time to consider their response to a number of questions. I had some questions to pose to every participant, to be able to compare and contrast their responses: I needed a method of collecting responses prior to the training programme, during the training, and on completion so that I could consider the development of individuals. Questionnaires fitted this need and the selected group of participants were literate and used to written work, so I was aware that this may even be their preferred option for feedback. The questionnaires also gave the participants a solid feedback mechanism that indicated the value of reflecting on learning and giving constructive feedback – this would hopefully support participants to put theory into practice and therefore increase learning development over the programme. I knew that this amount of questionnaires would be a lot to analyse, but I also thought that translating short answers would be easier and quicker than the video ‘diaries’, so I needed this as an option. Again, open questions were used as I hoped to gather both fact and opinion from the answers rather than quantitative data. The questions on all three questionnaires were similar, allowing the answers to show development in learning, confidence and clarity of opinion. The answers would not likely have much depth but short responses were useful to assess immediate training impact rather than to gauge understanding of knowledge development.

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Assets tool In order to have a research tool that could show long-term benefit and learning development, I wanted to design a questionnaire that 1) could be completed by someone with very low literacy levels, or 2) could be completed in a way that negated the need for a paper copy for every participant, as I knew that resources could be scarce in some contexts. I had in mind some questions that gauged development on a scale of 1 to 10, using pictures, symbols and common words rather than sentences (presuming a facilitator could support the completion of this). These questionnaires were to be a key part of monitoring the mentoring scheme and were to be the only tool that carried on beyond the allocated research period. A friend introduced me to asset-based development, which is focused around an idea of 40 ‘assets’ that young people need to progress in life, such as supportive family, desire to learn or confidence in personal ability. Positive first-person statements are given to which respondents are asked to rate how strongly they agree with the statement on a scale of 1 to 10. The higher the value placed on each asset, the better. Self-measurement was also a really important part of developing selfawareness and the ability to view ourselves in a considered way. Assets scores were judged by participants, allowing themselves ownership over their own development. Continual access to a positive learning environment often sees the values assigned to each statement going up, reflecting learning development, growth in confidence and contentment and therefore an increase in the ‘assets’ of each individual. When used within the mentoring scheme, it allows a mentor to see which areas were scoring highest or lowest, to be able to support specific targets and development within those areas. A colleague and I adjusted the statements to the Congolese context and decided to trial this method, as it was a particularly thorough tool and could clearly be analysed to show development in a number of our key indicators through measuring the ‘value added’ on each of the scales. The first asset questionnaire would be completed during training. The same questionnaire would then be completed during mentoring meetings at 3, 6, and 9 months, to show any developments following the training. The asset questionnaires therefore gave primarily quantitative data, yet the nature of the questions and the themed subjects could help triangulate against other research data. There were clearly going to be weaknesses to this approach, most significantly in the lack of personal experience utilising and therefore evaluating the tool, but it seemed to be a

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good way to keep an account of improvements for both research purposes, and for the participants themselves. Team Challenge – Observed Session The Team Challenge was designed as a way to practice group-work, self-motivated learning and strategic planning skills, and ending with a presentation to practice public speaking skills. The group of 12 participants were to be split into 2 groups, each with the task of developing a business idea which they would present to the other group and a panel of 3 judges (all independent of the programme) on the final day. I would be observing the group-work throughout the allocated sessions and in their final presentation. Although I was in a role of participant-observer, this was a peer-learning task that did not require facilitation and therefore the one chance I had to be able to take a small step back and observe.

Measurement and Evaluation Measuring the true impact of a training programme can be difficult. I am considering data under thematic areas based on the research focus, analysing the impact of the training programme to see if and to what extent it could improve or develop transferable skills. I will use the UNESCO Education For All definition of transferable skills as the themes for this (see p.19): 

Problem-solving skills



Communication of ideas and information effectively



Creativity



Leadership and conscientiousness



The demonstration of entrepreneurial capabilities

Within each theme, I will loosely base my evaluation around Kirkpatrick’s taxonomy, as it is an industry-standard model and it is learner-focused, but I have adapted the levels to take into account the difference of this training context. Unlike many other training courses which use this evaluation tool, success cannot be defined simply in the outworking within one environment, such as a workplace. Nor can I use this model to consider other factors that could be supporting or aiding development, such as a participant’s background, parenting, education, involvement with other organisations.

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Kirkpatricks Taxonomy 1. Reaction

a) How the participants reacted during the training b) How the participants felt about the training or learning experience afterwards

2. Learning

a) Increase of knowledge and specific skills as identified by individuals themselves b) Increase in knowledge and specific skills as identified or witnessed within the group

3. Behaviour

a) Applied learning seen within the training context b) Extent of applied learning after the training – implementation of learning.

4. Results

a) The effect on the community and cultural context by the participant.

Data Collection The table Appendix X details the intended and actual schedule of the research project and data collection.

Problems and Barriers to Data Collection When working in a conflict zone there is a constant risk of insecurity interfering with plans. The first training programme was organised for November 2012. Two days before travelling, a rebel group captured the city of Goma by force. This situation meant that it was not safe to run the training – all residents of Goma were under strict curfew. The rearranged dates in February 2013 were also postponed when violence increased around the city. Training eventually ran at the end of April 2013, reducing my research time by a valuable 6 months. The next training for Young Leaders, to be facilitated by the DRC team and a number of the Leader Mentors as part of their continuing programme, was also delayed from May to August 2013, again due to insecurity around the city. As a consequence, any results for the mentoring scheme and longer-term learning impacts were further reduced to 4 months of data. I chose research tools that I believed would be easily used and managed by the DRC team, and requested that the information be sent at regular intervals via email (see table in Appendix X). I needed scans of application forms, training feedback forms,

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mentoring reports and asset questionnaires, and the video diary files. After the first few months, it became apparent that the team were struggling to send the information: the internet connection was often unstable so large files such as videos were hard to upload and send, and the DRC team’s personal work commitments meant they were out of Goma for long periods of time. This latter issue also meant that monthly meetings were only organised during October and November 2013, further reducing the amount of research data, and this irregularity had further implications for the effectiveness of the mentoring scheme. Translation proved to be a barrier: whilst this was anticipated to some degree, the delay in receiving research data meant that I needed some help to be able to interpret everything quickly, so a friend transcribed then translated the video diaries. This added another layer of interpretation to this data, as I would be interpreting something already interpreted by another. Furthermore, the anonymity of some of the feedback forms meant that I could not accurately make any comparisons between males and females, or those of different educational or ethnic background. The findings in the following chapter are discussed based on the small amount of research data that I was able to access and analyse: participant application forms, training feedback forms, some video diaries from the Leader Mentors training, and my own field observation notes. From this data, I will be able to come to some conclusions about the relevant, acceptance and usefulness of the training course for young Congolese, referring to techniques, specific sessions and overall learning within the training environment. I will also be able to consider some of the successes and some of the longer-term learning from the wider 6-month programme. However, all of these conclusions will have severe limitations and the conclusions made will need to be read in the context of lack of evidence. These hurdles are also part of my conclusions, and I will evaluate my own learning for the continuation of the programme in light of this.

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Chapter Five: Implementing the Solution Review and Analysis of Research Data This chapter will look at findings from the action-research process. I will consider research data gathered before, during and after the training, and then analyse the outcomes, evaluating them against the measurement criteria set out previously.

Focus Group, 23rd March 2013 Participants referred to P1 to P10: All data recorded anonymously. The aims of the focus group were to: 

Introduce The Congo Tree and the training programme



Discover what other youth projects were operating in Goma and young people’s opinions of them



Gain views on the DRC education system and what additional needs young people have



Observe peer group discussion



Ascertain their future hopes

All 10 participants in the focus group had applied to become Leader Mentors (18-30 year olds) and were at least educated to secondary school level. Though not a representative group of Congolese youth they were considered an ideal group to pilot the programme: due to their education, they were expected to have a keener understanding of their cultural context and a larger sphere of influence within their communities due to the respect that education brings. An identified limitation was that there would be a missing voice from amongst Congolese young people who had not been able to complete their schooling. However, as one aim of the focus group was to understand more about the education system in the Congo from the perspective of the young people, it seemed beneficial to hear from those who had been through it in its entirety, and therefore could comment from an overall perspective. This retrospection was useful to gauge whether a programme such as the one we were designing was 1) needed, 2) possible and 3) desired.

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Findings Group consensus agreed that, “the Congolese education system is very good but lacks practice: there is too much theory with little if any practical application” (P1). One member of the group felt the system created specialists rather than experts (P3) whilst others felt there the amount of information given needed you “to be a generalist, trying to memorise a bit of everything” (P1, P5, P9). Although these two seem at odds, the group seemed to conclude that both statements were true. The participants were clear that “theory is good but practice makes it stick in the head” (P4). They also concurred that it would be beneficial to offer non-academic students opportunities to develop technical skills from an earlier age. The group recognised that home was an important place for learning life skills: “The common language [i.e. group consensus] was that home teaches you important stuff for your social life like good manners,” whilst, “school gives a lot more knowledge and develops the brain’s thinking capacity” (P3). They differed slightly in their views of the proportions of learning in each place. When discussing a question about feedback from teachers, the group stated that officially there was meant to be constant feedback from teachers to parents but in reality, only 3 out of 10 participants experienced this in a positive way: 7 out of 10 participants said parents were only notified “if you did something bad”. The participants were aware of only one other leadership training programme available to them, based at a church in the city, and that it was of formal education style with guest speakers holding lessons/lectures: there was nothing similar to what we were proposing. Four of the participants (P1, P2, P5, P8) were involved in local youth organisations outside of their individual churches. They were all eager to engage in any leadership training and capacity building, and the explanation on how The Congo Tree was planning to train them further increased their interest. One participant said that they were “hoping to be enabled to make a difference in our society and our generation” (P7), whilst another said that they “hope that this course will enable us to be better leaders in the different responsibilities we already have” (P9). One participant also said that they, “hoped to be remembered and not just living a normal life where you are born, go to school, get a job, get married and die...we would like to be legends” (P3).

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In terms of group dynamics, the participants were all engaged in the discussion and willing to offer their opinions. 3 participants were slightly more dominant (P1, P3, P5). Analysis As a group, participants were able to critically evaluate the Congolese education system on a basic level – identifying key weaknesses and offering a solutions tp overcome these. The group therefore articulated a lack of transferable skills and a need and desire for training that combined theory with practice. This response is valuable as these participants are in a minority of students who have excelled academically, and therefore are those who can understand and work with theory: if they are suggesting more practical training for themselves, it is possible to assume that other students who are not as literate or successful would want this also. The discussion around specialists, experts and generalists revealed that participants regarded education as provision of information more than knowledge development. This reflects the style of learn-by-rote education and confirms that transferable skills are not likely covered in any formalised way. Comments about learning at home provided the only reference to transferable skills. Although not pushed, the group did not seem to know how they learnt things or consider other learning opportunities beyond home and school. This may be due to the focus of previous questions, but also suggests a lack of understanding of learning theory and self-development. This can be further seen in the lack of concern about the absence of positive or constructive feedback from teachers. They simply reflected a fear that contact to home from school would be concerning negative behaviour. The group showed a clear desire towards self-improvement. My perception was that many Congolese people have big dreams but are not equipped to reach them and the recorded comments concerning hopes for the future reflected this. Their answers could be typical responses of passionate, educated youth wishing to make their mark on society; or it could be that participants want to give the ‘correct’ answer to ensure a place on the programme, regarding the Focus Group as an interview. Perhaps elements of all of these are present in the comments but the willingness of participants to “be enabled” is important when considering training impact later.

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Heidi Bentley: s912440 The Training Programme

The pilot 4-day training programme for Leader Mentors was run over 2 weekends and began with briefing the facilitators and setting up the learning space before 14 participants arrived13. The course outline is detailed in Appendix II. Participants are named where permission was given. Participants’ comments (recorded anonymously in observations): Referenced by P1 to P14 – these do not correspond to Focus Group references. Field Notes: Researcher observations are referenced with the day, e.g. (FN:D1). Video Diary: Referenced by participants’ initial/s and recording number e.g. (VD:A4). Evaluation forms (Anonymous): References are numbered 1-14, e.g. (EF:11). Training Reports: Referenced according to month and year, e.g. (TR:Oct13)

Problem-Solving Skills Reaction There was some hesitation around the first problem-solving activity but the keen enthusiasm of a few participants (Grace, Fidele and Alain) resulted in full participation – peer influence amongst the group was strong and there was competitive spirit within the group which was used positively to motivate each other. All participants showed enthusiasm and excitement during the activity, and every participant engaged completely in all further sessions and activities – there was no noticeable unwilling participation or resistance to any part of the training course. The participants reacted positively to working as a group. The practical teaching style and problem-solving activities were mentioned as one of the most appreciated aspects of the training on 10 out of 14 feedback forms. One participant wanted to talk more about conflict resolution as a team (EF:4), which could mean that they had experienced conflict or that they anticipated it.

13

14 applicants were chosen by the DRC team, and we agreed that we should start training with all 14, anticipating some drop-out. In fact, this didn’t happen and all 14 completed the training and signed up as Leader Mentors in the programme for 12 months.

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Learning Very few participants directly commented on either the benefits or drawbacks of working regularly in a group rather than individually but, Arsène commented that he had been, “initiated to team work” (VD:A1) and later that, “through the different activities where we need to think and resolve problems together, I discovered that it’s possible to gain some time and reach good results” (VD:A4). Alain comments that, “We need peace, self-sufficiency. To do so, we must find ideas that we put into practice...we have to join together” (VD:AT2). I noted an increase in competition during practical activities, with verbal expressions of confidence and desire to complete the challenges, quicker settling for task briefing and commencement of activities and more considerate and effective communication whilst in the challenge. This went hand-in-hand with an increase in solutions offered by participants to their groups, and more democratic processing of which solution should be used (FN:D2). I observed evidence of learning specifically in the Team Challenge, the Making Difficult Decisions and the ‘Sinking Ship’ sessions: In each of these, ideas and potential solutions were carefully considered, challenged and tested in groups. There was growing depth of discussion, variety of ideas and consideration of the consequences of choices within these sessions (FN:D2 and D3). Behaviour During the group review of a problem-solving activity on Day 2, a participant (P5) commented that their team had used problem-solving theory and tips on effective group work, and had completed the challenge much quicker than any of the previous challenges, without a single argument – they had assigned a leader, took turns to share opinions and one was selected, and they all fully supported it through to completion. The participant said that seeing this improvement had been even more encouraging than winning the task. The group agreed, attributing their success in tasks to improved teamwork. One participant (P9) said that the learning had made them feel more valued in their respective teams, and more confident that they could face further challenges effectively (FN:D2). A participant said that by Day 3, the group, “worked in unison more than ever” (EF:5).

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At the end of the first weekend the participants left the retreat venue as a group, discussing routes and plans to share taxi journeys for everyone to get home – this was practical problem-solving in action beyond the training context (FN:D2). Results No data. Analysis I am looking for improvement in a participant’s ability to identify and analyse problems and find creative, realistic solutions (see p.20) and the ability to do this as a group (see p.22). From these findings, I can evidence positive participation in learning activities intended to develop problem-solving skills. An observed growth in participants’ confidence indicates that participants felt comfortable to take on challenges as a group: this is evidence that, to some extent, a supportive peer learning environment had been created. A noted increase in competition was a sign that participants felt a shared desire or confidence to succeed. Observational evidence showed growing depth of discussion and variety of ideas generated within sessions thus suggesting improvement in analysis of problems, identifying potential consequences and finding solutions within the training context. Arsène’s comments in particular show a change in attitude towards problem-solving as a team, due to the benefits he identifies, further evidenced by Alan’s use of ‘we’ when he considers how to solve problems. There is no available data to consider whether this change in attitude led to behavioural change in individuals and critical consideration reminds me that “students’ sense of confidence alone does not mean that they have achieved competence” (Shah, 2011, p16) but the example of departing from training as a group shows that team-work activities in the session may have impacted positively on participants’ abilities to address real-life situations: evidence suggests that the training encouraged and provided a framework for this problem-solving activity to take place, and that a sense of belonging to the group was developing.

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Communication of Ideas and Information Effectively Reaction Discussion-based sessions led to noticeable opening up of communication within the group, in both French and Swahili, and increased readiness to engage in group discussion with opinions and challenges (FN:D1). A sense of ease was growing towards facilitators and fellow participants when asking questions and sharing views in review times (FN:D2). The creation of a contract around group interaction and engagement simultaneously revealed potential fears of participants and provided security. At least one suggestion was offered by each participant (FN:D1). Whilst there were small disagreements and tensions at times amongst teams, it was evident that there were no arguments or divides in the group (FN:D4). When considering the development of communication skills, it was interesting to observe group dynamics at the beginning of the training. In a context where gender inequality is a consideration, it was encouraging that the two females were happy to give their opinions (though the presence of many males caused some attentionseeking behaviour) and they held their own in discussions with good communication skills. One in particular (P5) consistently responded with diplomacy and a smile, the level of skill you would expect from someone already in a leadership role. Of the males in the group, it was interesting to see who led in discussions and activities. I was impressed by the considered responses from two of the males in the group (P8, P11): these males were clearly of an analytical character and the wisdom of their opinions equated to group respect for these individuals – the room quietened when they spoke. A number of the males were eager to assert and prove themselves (P5, P7, P12, P13), giving their opinions loudly and over each other which caused some friction. The other half of the participants were not confident in discussion, the two youngest participants (P3, P6, one male and one female) being noticeably less vocal (FN:D1). One participant was unhappy that some sessions moved on with unanswered questions (EF:6). Learning Participants thoroughly engaged in the communication theory session, and storytelling proved popular. By the time it came to the ‘active listening’ activity on Day 2, participants were already more attentive and articulate. There was an overall sense

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of increased confidence within individuals, evidenced in the Public Speaking session: two of the quietest individuals in the group (P3, P6) volunteered to share their prepared speeches: they felt comfortable about standing up and speaking to their peers, something that in many contexts would be feared. Later they told me that wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this before the training (FN:D2). Reviewing learning as a group became more productive as the training continued, and I noted that discussions moved from 3 or 4 dominant speakers and a few questions to almost full group participation in giving constructive feedback, praise and asking questions. This was particularly recognisable at the end of the mentoring training session (FN:D4). The discussions were often still heated and a group consensus was not always reached, but the group were more willing to listen and consider each other’s opinions, and I had no concerns about overt tension at the end of any session (FN:D3). The group dynamics identified above had shifted quite importantly by the end of the week. There were still a number in the group who were more dominant in discussion and group work (P1, P7, P12) but they had made significant improvement in listening to and considering others’ opinions. Those who had been quieter at the beginning(P3, P6, P10) were definitely more vocal by the end (FN:D4). Behaviour Improving communication skills were noted in remaining training sessions, particularly throughout the Team Challenge. Every member of Group A had a chance to speak, and each of them did this more confidently and articulately than at the beginning of the training, including their use of eye contact, awareness of body language and general demeanour. Some individuals were obviously nervous, and there were further improvements to be made but there was noted progress (FN:D4). The jury recorded that Group A in particular gave an articulate and engaging presentation (Jury notes). One participant acknowledged his own growth when he commented that, “Practicing what we had learned, taking our ideas and putting them into practice to develop a project and being able to communicate it publicly and trying to convince a jury was fantastic. It will remain a great and best experience for me” (P8, italics added by the researcher). It was interesting to regard group dynamics during ‘The Sinking Ship’ activity and to see how effective this learning was in practice in an informal setting. Exploring

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prejudices through role-play allowed freedom of opinion and challenges whilst in character – this meant that real issues could be addressed in a somewhat safer context, with less risk of personal offense, and this appeared to work for the group. However, these prejudices, combined with the nature of the activity itself seemed to cause many participants to forget their developing communication skills and the ability to consider other peoples’ opinions. Whilst a few ‘peacemakers’ in the group tried to guide diplomatic discussion (P4, P6, P14) a number of dominant members within the group effectively made the choice on behalf of the group. In the group review after, participants identified this as a problem, and therefore peer learning was able to provide a challenge to those group members (FN:D3). Result Nine Leader Mentors supported the facilitation of the Young Leaders training, utilising their increased confidence and learning in public speaking and communication (TR:Aug13). Grace got a new job in radio whilst Arsène has shown increased skills in blogging and public speaking (Facebook communication, Dec 2013). Analysis I am looking for signs that participants can positively relate to, communicate with, influence and inspire others, and to express their ideas and opinions articulately to others (see p.22). Whilst the use of French and Swahili in group discussions made it more difficult for myself as a researcher to observe and engage in conversations, using Swahili rather than French in a learning setting was a significant sign that the participants were at ease in the environment, with the informal education techniques, and each other. This was further evidenced by the engagement in group discussion, review and question times: if participants felt uncomfortable, they would not risk offering opinions or suggesting that they did not understand something in front of their peers, choosing to keep quiet or allowing themselves to be distracted. This was a sign that the participants could positively relate to each other and express their ideas. Whilst character traits were still evident, there was an obvious move towards equality in the group and appreciation of other participants’ opinions – the active listening training appeared to have made some impact. Group activities had developed participants’ abilities to relate to each other and communicate concisely. Increased ability to disagree diplomatically showed that conversation was starting to be a place

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where values could be expressed, and therefore potentially also fostered. The group was beginning to have influence over each other, and recognise the value of working together, which in turn evidence a sense of ownership. Not running over in question times was partly intended by us as facilitators, as a way to encourage peer discussion in the breaks. The constructive feedback comment may mean that we need to consider how this could be facilitated better, or find a creative way to engage with unanswered questions outside of the timetable.

Creativity Reaction The ‘Straw Towers’ activity proved to be particularly difficult and only one of four teams achieved a free-standing structure. Many teams came up with only one solution which they immediately started to use and when this did not work, they simply got frustrated (FN:D1). Overall, the activities were all completed successfully, but there was not a lot of development in the creative thinking aspect of facing the challenges set (FN:D3). Fidele commented on the “surprise and novelty” of the training as something that impressed him (VD:FM1). Storytelling and role-play were used to foster creative thought and stimulate discussion: only two participants seemed reserved about the activities and they still took part (P4, P12). There was a noticeable difference between the creativity of individuals and groups, observed in how much participants struggled to stay in their individual characters within ‘The Sinking Ship’ activity yet proved much better at a challenge to tell a story line-by-line in a group of four (FN:D2, D3). Learning The Team Challenge was the primary way for groups to reflect their creativity. I noted that the group were “much more interested in the project planning and presentation that I could have expected!” (FN:D1). My surprise at this reaction came from experience of trying to encourage UK youth in similar projects, often finding a real apathy towards a group work task. The enthusiasm for showcasing a business idea opened up more creativity within the group than I had seen in other tasks, and in a -

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number of ways: artistically and technically, in planning as well as in the chosen business concept. The panel of judges commented that they were very impressed by the ideas that were presented to them, although each of them was far too large to undertake in reality (Jury notes, FN:D4). In feedback forms, the Team Challenge came out as the top activity appreciated by participants, as well as being recognised as a vehicle for learning that they expected to use in the future. Behaviour No data. Result No data. Analysis I am looking for improvements in practical hands-on or technical skills and creative, innovative thinking around options, solutions and opinions (p.22). It was interesting to observe how many participants struggled with the creative thinking aspect of problem-solving at first and it is hard to evaluate whether the improvement through the training was purely better communication and team work skills or real development in creative thought. Role play and storytelling gives us some insight in the benefit of groups to stimulate creative thought, but shows some further development needed to increase individual creativity, or perhaps confidence to use it. The findings prompted me to reflect: the Congolese are very creative, they have big ideas and they want to develop them, but they seem to lack the ability to put these into practical, workable solutions: the training had not adequately developed this yet.

Leadership and conscientiousness Reaction Leadership training begins with developing self-awareness. Participants were markedly attentive to this topic, suggested that the self-awareness training was new and interesting. All of the video diaries revealed positive reactions to this aspect of

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the training: Fidele said that he “really enjoyed learning how to know myself” and that “I believe from now on that I understand who I am and maybe why I exist” (VD:FM1). The training content around leadership qualities and styles was also well received: 7 feedback forms mentioned the leadership teaching as a most appreciated aspect of the training, with 6 of those referring to biblical leadership styles specifically in their comment. P7 wrote that “I greatly appreciated the Biblical leadership style that was broken into 3 components: Shepherd, Servant and Steward”. There were also a number of positive comments towards the mentoring training and proposed scheme, prompting a reflection that “only one hour of mentoring per month may be insufficient” (P5). Learning A number of participants commented in more detail on their learning, and were able to reflect and consider the impact of this: “Today’s training has taught me or gave me to have a self-confidence that I didn’t really have, which I didn’t express very much. But I believe from now on that I understand who I am and maybe why I exist” (VD:JF1). “I have to admit I had a lot of shortcomings (weaknesses) and in the morning when we had been asked to write our weaknesses, one of my great weaknesses was that I give up easily. I am not very determined. I don’t do things right to the end. I believe I need an effort in this direction...do something more, I am going to surpass myself.” (VD:FM2). “I have learnt how to assess/test myself, recognize my weaknesses in order to reach change” (VD:A1). It was particularly interesting to watch and hear Fidele describe his journey from no confidence to one of certainty: Half-way through his video diary, he comments on his lack of self-confidence and how he does not want to remain “inactive”. From here, he describes how he discovered and started to come to terms with his weaknesses, and how he wants to manage this in the future. Finally, he states that “I am confident about the fact that things are going to change” (VD:FM2). There were many comments about the development of overall leadership gifting from participants. Arsène recognises personal development in that he “gained an

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additional capacity in leadership”. He later says that the training, “allows us to discover ourselves as leaders” (VD:A1). Quite a few participants recognised that leadership was partly about the influence we have on others. The learning outcome was to go from this basic knowledge to understanding the different outcomes of influence, and then learning how to have a positive influence on others, and why integrity is important. A number of participants identified learning from the leadership sessions: “Shepherd and servant leadership styles as a way of life will be very constructive and will enable me to transform the lives around me” (P6) “I can influence people that surround me so that they get hope and strength to fight and in turn they can influence people around them” (VD:JF2)

Further comments talked about specific learning, for example that the session on stewardship, “was really edifying to me because I hope to be a business manager one day” (P8). Many comments were recorded in feedback forms about the perceived benefits of the Child Protection and Risk Assessment as practical ‘technical skills’ training, and the intention of participants to take this learning into their own contexts (P2, P4, P6). Furthermore, training about how to engage with young people and support them in a professional capacity was well-received, and the discussion time after this session was the longest – the participants were eager to know how they could share their learning and support younger people. One said that, “We learnt how to act with the young leaders as a mentor so that we may reach our objectives. Now I know how to have a professional relationship with them and how to plan individual meetings and group meetings with a mentee” (P10). Behaviour Growing self-awareness generally leads to more confidence in the roles we consider tobe our strengths, and a willingness to step back in tasks we consider to be weaknesses. This could be seen practically in the Team Challenge, where participants allocated roles and delegated work based on their understandings of themselves and each other: it was noted that the more expressive participants

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worked on developing the presentation, whilst the more reserved, analytical participants took on the roles of finance, research and business planning (FN:D2). In the lunch break after the biblical leadership sessions, I observed Julien moving around tables, serving everyone with tea after their meals. Julien was a more analytical member of the group and it seemed to be a genuine choice to put learning into practice, to see what happened. The response from the group was joy and encouragement, which are key inputs to increase confidence in behaviour change (FN:D3). All 14 participants signed up to continue with the full 12 months of the programme, including training and mentoring Young Leaders. Result Following the pilot training programme, nine participants (Leader Mentors) supported the DRC team in facilitating training for a group aged 15-18. The DRC team commented on the servant-hearted nature of these nine and their improving ability to support the facilitators in training sessions. In particular, Grace stood out and was able to step into a facilitation role in the middle of the training retreat, including observing development in the Young Leaders and reviewing sessions with the DRC team. The facilitation of training for Young Leaders is evidence of learning being put into practice by the original participants, and that participants had begun to have ownership over learning (see p.33). Prior to training, the Leader Mentors faced their first problem: parental concerns were preventing Young Leaders from being allowed to attend the training retreat. The Leader Mentors met with the parents and were able to communicate effectively with them the benefits of the training, the security considerations they had made and the long-term hopes for The Congo Tree. This shows clear use of problem-solving, communication and leadership skills: the Leader Mentors’ abilities to express their own learning is a very important step in the learning process, and they clearly did well as all parents agreed to let their children participate (TR:Jun13). A number of case studies (for example, Appendix VIII) illustrate how participants are engaging in social action projects within their communities. Four participants were already involved in other organisations and projects (P1, P4, P6, P13), but I received

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information that at least four others had become active in these projects since the training (Facebook communication, Dec 2013). Analysis The first comments allow us to see something of information becoming knowledge, of where theory becomes practical: these participants learnt something about themselves and how to reflect on this to help them in the future. Arsène’s use of the word ‘capacity’ suggests that he notices increased understanding of and ability in leadership whilst the word ‘discover’ suggests a journey: it does not refer to being told something or simply the taking-in of information, but of a self-involvement and a process of realisation. It is clear for Arsène that he has actively learnt. The development of self-awareness contributes to this process, but leadership is also about awareness of this impact of this on others. A number of comments clearly reflect the excitement and surprise that Boud et. al. predicts (2001, p.22). With the observations of role delegation in the Team Challenge, it can be said that participants may have naturally ended up with certain roles regardless of training, but the key difference is awareness – the participants were able to explain why they thought they would fulfil those roles well and how that related to the team, and therefore felt more secure and confident of performing their assigned role well. The involvement of participants as volunteers in social action projects may simply be evidence of networking during training but the programme allowed this to occur, encouraged participation and, in the case of Arsène and Daniel, provided a way for this to be done in a supported capacity through their mentor-mentee relationship (see Appendix XIII). The results show that, for some of the participants who made statements about their learning and the impact of that, real action followed intention.

Demonstration of Entrepreneurial Capabilities Rippin suggests that, “Very few creative people can single-handedly implement their ideas: they need a team to make them work” (2002, p.46). The Team Challenge was the primary way of assessing participants’ entrepreneurial capabilities, looking for increased ability or skill to put creative problem-solving ideas into practice, good time, task and resource management and ability to plan strategically.

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Reaction The positive reaction of all participants to the Team Challenge can be recorded as an overwhelmingly positive reaction to training in entrepreneurship. Learning The Team Challenge allowed theory to be put into practice in project development skills. Both groups fulfilled the Team Challenge requirements, including budgets, business plans and research data, and presented their ideas to the Jury (FN:D4). One participant stated that, “I got business proposal skills and how to bring a dream into reality” (P8) Behaviour In the months after the pilot training, two monthly group meetings were fully attended, and the group also met together a number of times outside of organised meetings, even throwing a surprise birthday party for Julien (TR:Jun13; TR:Oct13). The Team Challenge had developed into a business named ‘New Generation House’ and further research was being done in the city to find viable ways to start implementing the business plan. This involved some very practical problem-solving and strategy consideration. The team had also begun working on an alternative idea, should their original prove unworkable, evidence of a clear move towards entrepreneurial capabilities and a confidence in the team (TR:Oct13). Results One participant (P8) has sent further developed business ideas via email. Analysis Not much can currently be said concerning the development of entrepreneurial capacity, but it is evident that participants are still keenly engaged in enterprise development, both as individuals and groups.

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Other Findings Learning Style and Environment Participants’ responses about the training style were entirely positive. Fidele shared that he had been, “...very impressed by the training about leadership. There was a lot of surprise and novelty; I didn’t expect what we had these days at all...The methodology is really particular. It’s not like a lecture, the participation is truly real” (VD:FM1) which was corroborated by Julien, who expressed that, “I really have a favourable impression concerning this programme” (VD:JF2) and Arsene, who said that, “the programme is really well done” (VD:A1) On Day 1, a number of participants commented to each other about the chair arrangement in the learning space, whilst one participant seemed bemused when a Congolese facilitator told him there were no course notes provided as note-taking was optional (P13). Such simple differences in learning environment stimulated initial conversation between participants, allowing peer review to challenge expectations. No written feedback was recorded on the learning space, either positive or negative, but my observations suggested that the freedom of the space and the equality of the circle allowed for quicker group development: during the training, it was interesting to note how the participants used the open space more creatively themselves in sessions, and seemed much less concerned about the lack of tables in front of them (FN:D2).

Overall Analysis The findings presented here have an overwhelmingly favourable view of the training programme. I am aware that any conclusions made from them are limited, just as the data is limited, and that my role as participant-observer in a context where I am not fluent in the language means my observations may be coloured by my own hopes and expectations or criticised as superficial. The co-facilitation of the programme went some way to aiding internal reliability of the conclusions reached, as my conversations with the other facilitators allowed us to confer and consider the impact on the participants, and inadvertently also became part of our own peer-learning exercise. Therefore, despite the limitations of the research, I feel confident to make some conclusions based on common threads and consensus as well as evidence of learning:

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Problem-solving ability and communication skills are both improved through practical activities which allow the application of theory to practice.



Teamwork can be developed quickly and effectively through activities and challenges that benefit all members of the group.



Young people are eager to learn about leadership and being agents of positive change in their communities, and are willing to step up into roles of responsibility when given an opportunity.



Creative thinking, strategic planning and entrepreneurial capacities require longer term engagement to see real development.

I am unable to comment as hoped on whether the style of learning was particularly beneficial for women, on groups of mixed ethnicity, or on any particular elements of youth organising (see p.22). These conclusions are made in reference to this group specifically, and yet they corroborate experience within other contexts: in the UK, the US (Shah, 2011) and youth development projects around Sub-Saharan Africa (Ogbu and Mihyo, 2000; Shames, 2009), there is evidence of training programmes such as this developing transferable skills and leadership qualities in young people, with long-term impact on behaviour and influence in community.

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Heidi Bentley: s912440 Chapter Six: Modifying Practice

Conclusions and Recommendations This chapter will bring together some conclusions in light of the research data collected during the process: these conclusions will primarily be about the programme itself, and then will consider which of these findings could be accepted as having wider impact and any recommendations for future work from this. I will also evaluate the research process, including myself as researcher, and consider the extent to which the proposed actions were implemented, problems that I faced, the intended and unintended effects of my actions and some explanations for why they occurred in order to make some recommendations for future research in this context. The Leadership Development Programme Participant comments show that they clearly enjoyed learning in a different educational environment with an informal education style. There was consensus that practical activities and discussion not only provided this enjoyment, but supported a sense of belonging, purpose and confidence and that learning took place. In each case, the group bonded through the experience, and peer learning supported a continuous cycle of learning through offering knowledge, giving a chance for this to be implemented or practiced, whilst learning further (Boud, et. al. 2001). This could be taken as a group-specific conclusion, i.e. to only work with more capable young people in an urban context, but theory, considered alongside the learning that took place matched with experience of this also working in other settings leads me to suggest that there could be useful application of an informal education style in other situations within DRC. Training as a retreat allowed additional capacity for learning: time, space and safety for reflection, allowing an element of independence and developing understanding of each individual’s responsibility for their own learning. In a cultural context where education is highly valued (see p.15), the participants were eager to learn and make the most of the opportunity to do that in this environment. Retreats may not be viable in certain locations within DRC and they certainly depend on access to funding, so future alternatives should be considered. However, where possible, there should be an element of immersion in such a new learning style so that participants can see the learning and the benefits together, before they are expected to sustain this.

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Specific learning can be seen through feedback and observed behavioural change within the learning environment. Notably, there is clear data to confirm that particular transferable skills within these young people were improved through practical activities which allow the application of theory to practice. Quick development of problem-solving, communication and team-work skills was evidenced through training. I am unable to say conclusively whether there has been knowledge or behaviour development outside of the training, and therefore cannot draw wider conclusions about future learning, but participants continued engagement within the programme and with each other as a group suggests that group bonding is solid, peer learning is taking place to some extent and that there is a sense of ownership of the programme and learning. Young Congolese still live very much in the ‘present’ and any equipping in creative and strategic planning needs to be developed over long-term engagement with young people. Particularly in a room full of educated young people who desire leadership, there were many grand ideas and huge visions which needed supportively grounding in a positive but realistic way to allow first steps to be taken: this will be a longer-term process. The Team Challenge allowed this process to start, and as social enterprise ideas develop, I will be able to consider the success of peer learning for this. Sadly, due to the problems with insecurity reducing the research time, I cannot make any conclusions on longer-term learning within this report. What can finally be said is that there are many Congolese young people who are eager to learn about leadership and become agents of positive change in their communities – this aspect has been clear throughout the programme, and was also noticed amongst young people in a wider sense from the initial research. Insecurity in DRC means that whilst skills are being developed into knowledge, pressure and fear can force a person to revert to previous behaviours or ways of coping. The opportunism and corruption that has been bred through insecurity will stand face-toface with the leadership as servant-heartedness, shepherding and good stewardship that this programme encourages. Engaging their willingness and enthusiasm with training can allow them to develop in this, but only with the right support network and continual learning from peers who are facing similar challenges. Many participants shared how they felt more confident, determined and equipped to be a positive influence on others, often directly linked to understanding more about themselves and their role and responsibilities as a leader. Again, we cannot say if the programme

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will be enough to sustain this in the long-term but the group network established seems to be supporting this currently and will need to be monitored further. There are signs in a number of case studies about the mentoring scheme that evidence positive learning within these relationships too. Mentoring relationships will continue to be monitored beyond this report, and the assets development aspect of this will be closely assessed in particular, to check whether this tool is going to work in the context. It is clear that there are organisational issues with the 12-month programme: there have not been consistent monthly meetings following the training, which has also had impact on continual learning and the mentoring scheme: the group have been required to organise themselves far earlier than we intended to give them this responsibility. It will be key for the future development of both The Congo Tree and this programme to ensure that there is adequate co-ordination of meetings and recording of information from those to fully evaluate the effectiveness of the longterm programme. However, it is encouraging that 9 months on, every participant is still engaged in the process and many have recently expressed willing to support us in future developments – in February 2014, my Co-Founder and I are returning to Goma to meet with participants and the DRC team, to engage in active problemsolving discussions around issues of sustainability and programme development: continuous peer learning in action.

The Research Process Research within a conflict context was always going to be difficult. Violence and insecurity threaten plans, safety and can also affect the opportunities to put learning into practice. The adaptability of the researcher and participants went some way to negating the affects of this on aspects of the programme, but the delayed start, the work commitments of the DRC team within the humanitarian field and continuing impacts on infrastructure such as internet connection severely affected the ability of this researcher to gather the results and make the conclusions it had hoped to. Looking back, the research project itself may have been too big to be undertaken within the context when a researcher was not consistently present, especially within a context that is relatively new to the researcher and where research is longitudinal.

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Whilst complete immersion in the context was not necessary to judge the effectiveness of the programme, access to the research area and data during the process would certainly have benefitted the conclusions that could have been made in this report. In the future, it will be important for monitoring to be maintained on a regular basis, and this may require more regular trips to DRC. There has been learning within this process for myself as Co-Founder in a charity, and as a researcher about the difficulties of communication and working with colleagues from other cultures, especially those who have not run a programme or project of this nature. I was aware that the lack of my physical presence within the context would hinder the motivation and training I could offer the DRC team to fulfil their support agreements, but I had hoped that regular conversation could go some way to help this. Insecurity, expectations and time constraints all negatively affected the ability to ensure regular communication, and the lack of data to reach the UK is partly due to this. The DRC team may also have needed further equipping to understand what was being monitored and the process of evaluation, along with the value and benefits of monitoring and evaluation. In hindsight, I am not sure that I gave an adequate briefing and explanation to the DRC team on the research tools, observation reports so that they could understand the need for information to be gathered and analysed regularly, and this is something that will need to be considered in the future. There may also be benefit in opening up reporting to the participants themselves, offering them direct access to a reporting function which comes straight to the UK, until the DRC team have additional capacity to monitor this themselves. There is also a question around the amount and type of research tools used and whether more preparation and reviewing of these prior to the start of the training programme could have somehow helped ensure that data reached the UK, and that the data collected contained more effective measurements. There is learning here for myself as a researcher around preparation. For the immediate future, there may be a need to reduce or combine tools for ease of use and ease of transmitting data. The video diaries worked really well in engaging the participants, particularly those with lower literacy levels. However, the time it took to transcribe the information needs to be considered: if the DRC team can be equipped to listen and pick out ‘positive outcomes’ and ‘constructive feedback’ from these themselves, negating the need for a translator, there is a possibility for future use. Feedback forms and asset

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questionnaires will be re-evaluated following this research process to try and create a more succinct and useable format for written feedback. There is a possibility that we will try to use a method of digital data collection for this, as two laptops were recently donated to The Congo Tree. This may only be possible in urban areas due to internet access issues or cost but if we can find survey software that operates offline and send results when online, this could work further afield and has the potential to be utilised by young people of all literacy levels and backgrounds, as well as supporting development of their ICT Technical skills. Finally, observation forms have already been put together to support effective observation reporting, and we will be training the DRC team in their use in February 2014. Overall, I feel the research process itself has taught me a great deal about culture and context, about preparation and research requirements, and the difficulties of accurate and informative data collection. Beyond the unavoidable issues of insecurity and difference in culture, I am aware that there were weaknesses to my approach and mistakes made. For The Congo Tree to go forward, and for the continuation of the action-research process, it will be essential to improve our monitoring and evaluation methods to be able to offer solid good practice examples to other organisations and useful data to potential funders, partners and supporters. It is encouraging to hear Arsène comment that the programme, “is building a new generation of people who think they have the solution for the Congo to be rescued. We are learning to not focus on problems but focus on the possible solutions.” (VD:A4) The action-research project here details findings that suggest there is value in an informal education training programme using peer learning to improve transferable skills in young people in DRC. The continued programme will need to be monitored to gauge the application and impact of this in the long-term, whilst further research will need to be done to see how the programme works with, for example, young people not in education or who live in rural areas to see if these conclusions have wider impact. This may not be an easy process, but certainly a worthwhile one.

“If you want to go fast, go alone, If you want to go far, go together” An African Proverb

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Heidi Bentley: s912440 Appendix I: The Congo Tree

The Congo Tree is a youth development charity based in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the UK. At The Congo Tree, we believe that the current problems in the DRC can be significantly aided by good leadership and great teamwork at all levels – in households, local communities and government. We think that the best way to see significant and lasting positive change is by developing the skills of young people, our next generation of leaders. Everything we do is facilitated by local teams on the ground, who support young leaders in training and the projects they design.

Our Vision: To inspire young people to change society from the inside out, by using alternative and creative ways to work together, to strive for peace, to lead with integrity, to serve and support others, to value their roots, to be innovative in enterprise, and to be empowered to put this into practice. Our Values: 1) Inspiration – Everyone can be inspired and be inspirational, and every person is called to inspire within their own environment – this comes from a heart of integrity and is played out in the home, community and further. 2) Creativity – We are created by God to be creative. We will always try to think and do things creatively. 3) Christ-centred – We want to reflect God’s love in every activity and to every person we meet. 4) Youthful - Whatever age we are, we want to embrace the energy and vibrancy of youth, the passion and determination of youth, and to somehow capture the innocence of youth that will enable us to look at the world with fresh eyes in all that we do. 5) Together – We value individuals but know that life is about team work in many different contexts. We work inclusively with all people, without discrimination, and seek to bring together people of all backgrounds, experience, race, wealth, gender, faith or ethnicity. We love being together and strive for unity.

We registered as a charity in England and Wales in 2013 (registered charity number: 1152557) and hope to gain International NGO status in 2014.

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The Congo Tree Leadership Training Programme Every member of The Congo Tree has to complete the initial leadership training course, facilitated by our team in DRC. This training course is run intensively over a 3 or 4 day retreat. It is designed to be activity and discussion based, aiming to build skills in: 1) Practical life-based problem solving 2) Strategic planning 3) Integrity of person, servant leadership and teamwork Leader Mentors The first block of training equips a group of existing or potential youth leaders aged 18-30 years old. Over a 4-day intensive retreat, Leader Mentors are trained in various subjects such as mentoring, leadership and training others. Young Leaders The second block of training is for young people aged 15-18 years old. Over a 3-day retreat, partly facilitated by Leader Mentors, Young Leaders explore the qualities of a good leader and the benefits of teamwork, and then spend time planning activities to practice good leadership, such as social action projects or facilitating training in local schools. Mentoring A Leader Mentor will be paired with a Young Leader (of the same gender) in a mentoring relationship for one year, meeting at least once a month. These pairs will spend time planning targets for the Young Leader, discussing experiences and challenges, and developing creative ideas to develop the Young Leader’s skills. Team The whole group of 24 young people meet monthly for support and further training, with the ultimate aim of designing and organising creative social enterprise opportunities within their community, as opportunities to put into practice the skills they had developed and the leadership qualities they were nurturing.

(3) Creative enterprise projects

(3) Social action projects

(2) Mentoring Leader Mentors

Young Leaders

(1) Training

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A year with The Congo Tree During the first 12 months of the programme, the team of Leader Mentors and Young Leaders will undertake some tasks with the support from our team in DRC and in the UK. (1) Monthly meetings: The full group will meet monthly to support and encourage each other, meet with mentors, take part in further training, and to develop and plan creative social enterprise opportunities within their community. (2) Social Action: Social action is about serving others by volunteering on projects to improve a situation in their local area. This might be facilitating a training programme in a local school, running community events, or supporting or developing other local needs-based projects. (3) Creative Enterprise: The group will develop a campaign or social enterprise with our support. Social enterprises which have real potential and viability will then be looked at for longer term development.

Founding Members:

UK Board of Trustees:

Contact Details:

Heidi Bentley Amy Cummings Hebdavi Kyeya Muhindo Malunga

Mike Royal – Chair Jane Searle – Treasurer Olly Thorp – Secretary Amy Cummings Heidi Bentley

hello@thecongotree.org.uk

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Appendix II: Leadership Development Programme Course Outline OUTCOMES KEY Problem-solving skills

Communication of ideas and information effectively

Creativity

Leadership and conscientiousness

Demonstration of entrepreneurial capabilities

DAY 1 Session 1

Introduction to The Congo Tree

AIM To make participants feel at ease with The Congo Tree and the training programme

OBJECTIVES To know more about to The Congo Tree To know what is expected of participants To know fellow participants

METHODS Introduce The Congo Tree and the training programme Explain the research and research tools Ice-breaker activities

OUTCOMES Knowledge about The Congo Tree and training programme Completion of the pretraining evaluation form Name and say a little about the other participants OUTCOMES Awareness of personal strengths, weaknesses and how to manage them Participate/engage in group discussion

Session 2

Self-Awareness

AIM To increase participants self awareness

OBJECTIVES To know more about yourself

METHODS Introduce the concept of self-awareness

To be able to relate to and communicate with others To know more about others

Group discussion

Social styles quiz and review

Gain understanding of personal social style

OBJECTIVES To identify and analyse a problem

METHODS Problem-solving activity introduced

To offer creative and realistic solutions To critically review

Team work activity

OUTCOMES Creative ideas offered ‘Problem’ solved Communicate in a team

Group discussion and review

Describe how a problem was resolved

Problem-Solving Activity: ‘Lava’ AIM To develop problemsolving skills and team work

Session 3

Working with others

AIM To develop understanding about working with others

OBJECTIVES To increase self awareness To increase awareness of group dynamics and team work To learn about praisegiving and constructive feedback

METHODS Group contract Group discussion

Use the ‘praise sandwich’

Session 4

Learning Styles

AIM To develop understanding of personal learning styles

OBJECTIVES To learn about how people learn To identify personal preferred learning style

-

METHODS Learning-styles questionnaire Group discussion

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OUTCOMES Group contract created and agreed Can describe the benefits and difficulties of working as a team Understands and can demonstrate the ‘praise sandwich’ OUTCOMES Can describe the different ways people can learn Personal learning style identified


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To understand how learning style can be developed / managed

Group activity and review

Participate/engage in group discussion

Problem-Solving Activity: ‘Straw Towers’ AIM To develop problemsolving skills and team work

OBJECTIVES To identify and analyse a problem

METHODS Problem-solving activity introduced

To offer creative and realistic solutions To critically review

Team work activity

OUTCOMES Creative ideas offered ‘Problem’ solved Communicate in a team

Group discussion and review

Describe how a problem was resolved

Session 5

Leadership Styles

AIM To develop understanding of different leadership styles

OBJECTIVES To learn about different styles of leadership

METHODS Group discussion

To identify personal style of leadership To understand more about group dynamics

Personal reflection Group activity

Session 6

Trust

AIM To build trust within the group

OBJECTIVES To consider the benefits and issues around trust

METHODS Group discussion

To encourage trust amongst participants

Group activity – create a metaphor

OUTCOMES Can communicate what good and bad leadership looks like Gain understanding of personal leadership style Can offer three tips to others of how best to work with them OUTCOMES Can explain the importance of trust to integrity/leadership Metaphor created to describe trust

DAY 2 Problem-Solving Activity: ‘Toxic Waste’ AIM To develop problemsolving skills and team work

OBJECTIVES To identify and analyse a problem

METHODS Problem-solving activity introduced

To offer creative and realistic solutions To critically review

Team work activity

OUTCOMES Creative ideas offered ‘Problem’ solved Communicate in a team

Group discussion and review

Describe how a problem was resolved

Session 1

Problem-Solving Theory

AIM To explain problemsolving theory

OBJECTIVES To be able to identify and analyse a problem To practice creative thinking for solutions To know how to apply solution and review

METHODS Group review of problemsolving activity Introduce problem-solving theory Role-play / scenarios activity

OUTCOMES Can critically review problem-solving efforts Knows the stages of problem-solving theory Can relate theory to an example of problemsolving OUTCOMES Can identify barriers to and good practice for communication Show awareness of nonverbal communication

Session 2

Communication

AIM To develop understanding of communication skills

OBJECTIVES To identify potential barriers to communication

METHODS Obstacle course

To improve individual and group communication

Group discussion

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To learn about open and closed questions To understand about active listening

Session 3

Public Speaking

AIM To increase public speaking skills

OBJECTIVES To identify good and bad habits in public speaking To learn how to structure a speech To practice public speaking in front of peers To practice giving constructive feedback

Storytelling Role Play scenarios

METHODS Group discussion on noncontent aspects of public speaking Introduce ‘Tell Them’ tips for public speaking Individual and group activity Peer review

Can work as a team to tell a story Ability to ‘actively’ listening OUTCOMES Awareness of non-verbal communication, tone, volume, pace etc. Can list a three-point example speech structure Written and presented a 3 minute talk to peers Offered constructive feedback to peers

Problem-Solving Activity: ‘human knot’ AIM To develop problemsolving skills and team work

OBJECTIVES To identify and analyse a problem

METHODS Problem-solving activity introduced

To offer creative and realistic solutions To critically review

Team work activity

OUTCOMES Creative ideas offered ‘Problem’ solved Communicate in a team

Group discussion and review

Describe how a problem was resolved

Session 4

Conflict Resolution

AIM To equip participants in conflict resolution

OBJECTIVES To consider the causes of conflict To understand our personal reactions to conflict To learn some ways to communicate positively in conflict situations

METHODS Group discussion Introduce ‘Social styles under pressure’ theory Role play

OUTCOMES List common causes of conflict Explain how different individuals deal with conflict Able to explain and use the ‘I Message’

DAY 3 Session 1

Leadership 1: The Servant

AIM To learn about Biblical models of leadership: Servant-hearted leaders

OBJECTIVES To understand the benefits of serving others and leading by example To learn about self-care and self-management

METHODS Group discussion

OUTCOMES Understand the concept of leadership as serving

Individual reflection

To understand ‘the hedgehog principle’

Individual activity

Identify one dimension of wellbeing to improve and one action to support this Explain ‘the hedgehog principle’

Problem-Solving Activity: ‘Egg bomb’ AIM To develop problemsolving skills and team work

-

OBJECTIVES To identify and analyse a problem

METHODS Problem-solving activity introduced

To offer creative and realistic solutions To critically review

Team work activity

OUTCOMES Creative ideas offered ‘Problem’ solved Communicate in a team

Group discussion and review

Describe how a problem was resolved

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Session 2

Leadership 2: The Shepherd

AIM To learn about Biblical models of leadership: The Good Shepherd

OBJECTIVES To understand the concept of leadership as shepherding To learn about taking care of others and risk assessment To learn about Child Protection and Safeguarding

METHODS Role play

Practical Risk Assessment activity Group activity and discussion

Session 3

Leadership 3: The Steward

AIM To learn about Biblical models of leadership: Stewarding

OBJECTIVES To understand the concept of integrity and its relation to individual

METHODS Individual reflection

To know how to delegate

Scenario - group activity

To learn some principles of good time and resource management

Group discussion

OUTCOMES Describe the steps taken to resolve an issue involving a young person Identify and assess risks to young person’s wellbeing List types and indicators of child abuse Know their personal responsibilities for Child Protection and Safeguarding Name The Congo Tree designated CPO OUTCOMES Describe what integrity means and give examples of what it looks like Delegate roles in a scenario Discuss good and bad resource and time management

Problem-Solving Activity: ‘the loop’ AIM To develop problemsolving skills and team work

OBJECTIVES To identify and analyse a problem

METHODS Problem-solving activity introduced

To offer creative and realistic solutions To critically review

Team work activity

OUTCOMES Creative ideas offered ‘Problem’ solved Communicate in a team

Group discussion and review

Describe how a problem was resolved

Session 4

The Gender Question

AIM

OBJECTIVES

METHODS

OUTCOMES

To consider gender in relation to leadership

To understand cultural expectations on men and women

Daily life questionnaire and group discussion

To see that leadership is a gender-neutral gift/skill/responsibility To consider differences and similarities of how men and women respond to leadership issues.

Small group discussion

Explain how the expectations on or use of their time compares to others Explain the genderneutral nature of the attributes of leadership Consider how men and women react in leadership situations

Group activity / scenario and review

Session 5

Making Difficult Decisions

AIM To learn about making difficult decisions

OBJECTIVES To learn what affects decision-making / causes a decision to be difficult To be able to creatively problem-solve decisionmaking To assess consequences of decisions

-

METHODS Group activity and review

Group discussion

Scenarios

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OUTCOMES List some of the causes that affect decisionmaking Consider a number of options when presented with a decision to make Consider consequences


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Session 6

The Sinking Ship

AIM To develop problemsolving skills and team work

OBJECTIVES To identify and analyse a problem

METHODS Role play - scenario

To offer creative and realistic solutions To critically review

Team work activity

OUTCOMES Creative ideas offered ‘Problem’ solved Communicate in a team

Group discussion and review

Describe how a problem was resolved

DAY 4 Session 1

Mentoring

AIM To learn about mentoring and being a mentor

OBJECTIVES To understand what ‘assets’ are

METHODS Assets questionnaire

To know how to set targets To understand responsibilities and boundaries between mentors and mentees

SMART target-setting theory Role plays

OUTCOMES Recognise personal assets and three areas for development Name the SMART targets Know the responsibilities of and appropriate boundaries as a mentor

Problem-Solving Activity: ‘spiderweb scramble’ AIM To develop problemsolving skills and team work

OBJECTIVES To identify and analyse a problem

METHODS Problem-solving activity introduced

To offer creative and realistic solutions To critically review

Team work activity

OUTCOMES Creative ideas offered ‘Problem’ solved Communicate in a team

Group discussion and review

Describe how a problem was resolved

TEAM CHALLENGE AIM To develop entrepreneurial skills

OBJECTIVES To analyse a possible business idea and market To undertake research

METHODS Team challenge

To learn how to work in a group, including delegation and problemsolving To write a business plan, including 3 year strategy To budget for a business idea To present a business idea to a Jury of 3 members

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OUTCOMES Design a business idea Prove that the business idea is viable Work as a team to complete the task

Write a business plan Work with budgets Present an idea to a panel of judges


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Appendix III: Pre-training Evaluation Form

The Congo Tree Youth Leadership Development – Pilot Programme Name Age Email address Contact number Role (student/job) Training

Why do you want to take part in The Congo Tree training programme?

What skills/knowledge/behaviour do you hope to develop by attending these training sessions?

What immediate impact do you hope these skills/knowledge/behaviour will have in your life?

How do you imagine developing the above skills/knowledge/behaviour will help you further in the future?

What would you like those around you to see/hear/feel differently about you once you have attended these training sessions?

What do you feel you are currently not achieving due to the underdevelopment of the above skills/knowledge/behaviour?

From all of us on The Congo Tree team, welcome to The Congo Tree pilot training programme. We hope you enjoy yourself!

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Appendix IV: Training Evaluation Form

The Congo Tree Youth Leadership Development Training (Pilot Programme) Training Evaluation Form Training weekend:

Date:

1. What did you enjoy most about this weekend?

2. What did you learn during the sessions that you anticipate using in your life or work?

3. Was there anything you did not understand or like during the sessions? Please provide specific examples.

4. What is the most valuable thing you learned this weekend (knowledge or skills)?

5. Do you have any other comments, suggestions or questions?

Merci beaucoup!

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Appendix V: Questions for the Diary Room Day 1 Aim: To put participants at ease with simple questions to give insight to their context and to hear their motivations and hopes. What is your life like as a young person living in Eastern DRC? What have you learnt, if anything, about yourself today? What do you make of the training programme so far? What do you think of the style of training? What hope to get out of the training programme in the next few days? Day 2 Aim: to encourage reflection and allow some freedom for creative thought. Please tell us about your community‌ (How is it made up, what happens, what are the challenges, what are the good bits?) How do you feel about being a leader in your community, now or in the future? What is the one biggest issue facing your community, in your opinion? Do you think you can have an impact on this issue? How? Day 3 Aim: to prompt personal reflection in greater depth and begin the participant on the process of recognising when and where they could put learning into action. Please tell us about a challenging situation you have faced in your life so far and how you dealt with it, good or bad? Have you learnt anything in this programme that has helped you reflect on this challenging situation? Do you think you have learnt anything in the programme that can help you deal with challenges differently in the future? What has challenged you most in the programme so far?

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Day 4 Aim: group reflection and assessing the peer learning elements of the programme, as well as ending the training with a consistent theme of the value of ‘team’. What have you learned from the programme, if anything? What could we do better? What did you enjoy? How do you see this working with younger people? How do you see the future of the programme in DRC? How has your understanding of leadership changed over the past few days?

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Appendix VI: Assets Questionnaire

SUPPORT SCALE: 1

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

My family gives me lots of support and I definitely feel that I’m loved.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------2

Communication with my parent/s is really positive and I feel comfortable asking for advice or help.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------3

Other than my parents, I get support from 3 or more adults that I know really well.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------4

I love the community where I live, and my neighbours are really friendly.

5

I love/loved going to school and think it’s a great environment to be in.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------6

My parent/s are great at helping me to achieve. They always help me if I’m stuck with something and encourage me.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

EMPOWER 7

My community seems to value young people a lot, and my neighbours like having young people in the area.

8

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------My community is great at getting young people involved. We always help at events, and are included in every decision making process.

9

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I serve in my community for more than 1 hour per week doing some kind of volunteer work, fundraising, or helping others.

10

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I feel safe at home, in school, and in my community all of the time.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

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BOUNDARIES & EXPECTATIONS 11 My family have very clear boundaries on behaviour and things like where I can go, who with, and when. Internet use is monitored too.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

12 My school is/was quite strict and has clear boundaries on things like homework deadlines, punctuality and uniform dress codes.

13

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------My neighbours play a very active role in monitoring and celebrating young people’s behaviour in the community.

14

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I feel that the adults in my life are really positive role models that I would aspire to be like one day.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

15 My friendship group are great, and set a good example when it comes to behaviour and respect.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME 16 I spend a good amount of time per week with my friends

17

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I spend a good amount of time per week in lessons, or practice of art, music, drama or other creative activities.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

18 I spend a good amount of time per week in sports, clubs or other extra curricular activities at school or in my community.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

19 I spend more than 1 hour per week in activities as part of a religious community.

20

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I’m never out of the house with ‘nothing to do’, and so spend lots of time at home with my family.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

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COMMITMENT TO LEARNING 21 I’m very well motivated to achieve. I want to do my best and put a lot of effort into my personal learning and development.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

22 I am/was well engaged with my school, and really enjoy/ed being there.

23

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I have plenty of time to do my work to the best of my ability.

24

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I play an active part in my school/community.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

25 I spend a good amount of time per week reading for pleasure, and really enjoy it. ---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

POSITIVE VALUES 26 I think that it’s really important to care for people, and I try my best to be a caring person. ---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

27 I actively promote equality and social justice and I go on marches/protests for good causes.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

28 I always stand up for my own beliefs no matter what the situation is. I think it’s important to have a set of morals/values and stick to it.

29

30

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I always tell the truth, even in situations where it’s easier to tell a lie. I think that honesty is really important to good relationships.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I have lots of responsibility and handle it well. People seem to trust me with things.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

31 I know the consequences of drugs, alcohol and being sexually active, and feel I can make wise decisions based on my values and morals.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

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SOCIAL COMPETENCIES 32 I’m able to plan well for the small things and the big things in life, and I feel I can make decisions confidently and wisely.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

33 I think I have a lot of respect for people, and can be sensitive and friendly. I find it easy to imagine what other people are going through.

34

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I have good knowledge about other cultures and can understand different customs, traditions, values and beliefs.

35

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I am confident that I am able to stand up to peer pressure and make the right decision even in difficult situations.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

36 I can resolve conflicts peacefully and I feel I am good at negotiating, explaining and apologising.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

POSITIVE IDENTITY 37 I feel I am in control of all the things that happen to me. ---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

38 I feel very confident about myself, who I am, and I feel loved and secure. ---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

39 I feel that my life has a clearly defined purpose.

40

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|---------------I am very excited about my future, and fulfilling my dreams and ambitions.

---------------|----------------|----------------|-----------------|----------------

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Appendix VII: Participant Profiles Facilitators

Hebdavi Kyeya Age: 27 Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Tearfund, Goma

Muhindo Malunga Age: 29 HR Senior Officer at Tearfund, Goma

Leader Mentors ULPGL: L’Universite Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs, University in Goma

Gracia Francine Lobo Age: 22 Student in Finance at Kigali University and reporter/camerawoman

Grace Miradie Kabera Age: 19 Student at ULPGL, church worship leader, works at VBR (98.5FM)

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Fidele Muhanga Age: 26 Student at ULPGL and works for CRU (‘Campus for Christ’)

Moise Maroyi Age: 30 Student in Business at the ULPGL and entrepreneur

Medi Muyisa Baden Age: 19 Student at ULPGL

Alain Tumaini Age: 21 Student at ULPGL and volunteer at ‘Youth on a Mission’

Julien Fataki Age: 22 Studies Economics & Finance at ULPGL

Alain J Age: 23 Security Guard at Tearfund

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Arsene Tungali Age: 25 Student in Agronomy at ULPGL; Executive Director at Rudi International, Reporter for local news team in North Kivu

Michee Lwanzo Age: 23 Student at ULPGL

Belydia Kisendo Age: 24 Student at ULPGL, Goma

Fred Bauma Age: 24 Student at ULPGL

Elysee Baguma Age: 25 Student at ULPGL, and volunteer at Rudi International

Julien Mpate Age: 25 Student at ULPGL

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Young men: Nehemie Shangwe Age: 17

Katsongo Hwakandu Age: 15

Baby Kitambala Age: 18

Daniel Kyeya K Age: 16

Antoine Vwimana Misabiro Age: 18 Yves Kitete Maheshe Age: 18

Young ladies:

Visika Michel Age: 15

Gloria Bauma Age: 18

Kalonaji Mutambay Martin Age: 18

Kitholu Elizabeth Sikin Age: 17

Glodie Kabunangwa Age: 18

Suzette Lukombola Age: 17

Faustin Tshibangu Mboyi Age: 18

Kavira-Lydie Kioma Age: 16

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Appendix VIII: Arsène and Daniel A number of the Leader Mentors already had leadership roles within their communities before taking part in the Leadership Development Programme. Arsène is one example of this: as the Executive Director of Rudi International, an organisation that aimed to raise sponsorship to pay school fees for children in a particularly poor area outside Goma, Arsène came to the course an articulate, intelligent and capable young man. He was particularly interested in the idea of continuous peer learning and took in everything he could from the training, and it was interested to hear his Video Diary on Day 4, reflecting on the whole programme: “The Congo Tree is a great programme that helps us discover what we really are and what we need to do to use the potential we have. Through the pilot training I went through, it helped me to think about things I do have within me but that I am not yet using. The Congo Tree helped me to build my capacity of working as a team. Through the different activities where we need to think and resolve problems together, I discovered that it’s possible to gain some time and reach good results. Through Team Challenges, I discovered that the success we obtain together after working with others gives much joy because it is the result of shared advices and common understanding of the problem. I learnt that I need to listen to others and focus on the important thing in what they suggest to resolve a common challenge. Working as a team is very important. The Congo Tree is not about just training leaders but it is all about training trainers, who engage in bringing what they gained to others, making the last their disciples. When I was training the young leaders, I could notice that the Congo has a great potential, the young people are actually the change of this country. What they need is just to be empowered and be given the chance to speak. The Congo Tree is the place where they receive trainings and where they take decision to action. Sometimes we think there is no solution to something. But the Congo Tree program is building a new generation of people who think they have the solution for the Congo to be rescued. We are learning to not focus on problems but focus on the possible solutions.”

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It is interesting to note that the learning that Arsène identifies does not just refer to himself but also to others: he takes on his role as a leader and speaks for a wider group. Furthermore, in Arsène’s case, his learning is not just knowledge but relates to practical action. Arsène mentors a young person called Daniel, who he discovers is brilliant at art. Arsène has encouraged him to run an art workshop at their Christmas Project day this year, putting into practice some of the leadership skills Daniel learnt with The Congo Tree training programme. Daniel had never done anything like it before but thrived on the opportunity to use his skills to lead others, with the support and guidance of his mentor. This is one example of how the mentoring scheme intended to build young people’s confidence and practical ability in their skills and leadership – both in the Leader Mentor and in the Young Leader.

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Heidi Bentley: s912440 Appendix IX: Hebdavi’s Story Hi my name is Hebdavi and I am a Congolese national. Congo is my home and I love my country. Growing up in DRC hasn’t been easy though. The constant traumatisation due to repeated wars and experiencing all the evil around you leaves you with a crushed hope for the future.

While there are 2.6 million IDPs in the Congo, it’s estimated that 80% of the population in Eastern Congo has been displaced at least once in their lifetime. I don’t doubt this because I have been displaced myself and so have all my friends. Forced migration produces long term psychological effects on the displaced; there is a feeling of uselessness, dependency on aid and an inferiority complex that is forced on people. As a young person in DRC, you therefore grow up feeling limited in what you can achieve and also feeling like a “lower” human being or less important person as compared to the rest of the world. The formal education system which hasn’t been updated to reflect 21st century realities doesn’t help much either. School is turned into a place for memorizing multiple old theories that are not practical in real life. When there is someone who wants to challenge the government, it puts his life and the life of his family in danger. In 1999, my father as a church leader in North Kivu province wanted to challenge the government on the prevailing injustice but what he managed to get was that we were forced to flee the country fearing for dear life. My family had to live in exile for 4 years because someone wanted to speak for justice. Such factors leave in the mind of the youth the idea that all you can do is to try to fit into the system or else face dire consequences. As a result, generation after generation, there is no improvement in the system because very few are willing to pioneer change as the risks are too high. The Congo remains despite all that a country with great potential. It’s untapped mineral reserves are of strategic global importance and are estimated to be worth

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US$24 trillion making the country perhaps the richest in the world. In order to merge the social-economic situation of the country with the wealth written in books, leadership is required. Positive leadership will raise the country from the situation of extreme poverty and injustice to God’s intended purpose. This is why I joined The Congo Tree, it’s an opportunity to impact the youth and make sure they know they are much more worthy than what they have been made to believe. The Congo Tree is an opportunity to raise a new generation of leaders who can raise the nation and turn things around. It provides opportunity to bring the youth together and make us think together through topics that would never be found in the formal education system. There is also creation of networking and peer support among the youth who are likeminded and can help each other grow stronger and not give up on their dreams. My best part of it is the increased self-esteem. The young people come out of the training sessions with a determination for change and different thinking. They know poverty and injustice can be changed, it’s not our fate, we are not doomed to stay in the status quo. God created us for a much greater purpose and it’s time to live that purpose.

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Appendix X: Data Collection Schedule This table details the intended and actual schedule of the research project and data collection. Copies of all data collected should have been sent from DRC to the UK via the internet or through Tearfund’s internal postal system within 2 weeks after each training / meeting.

Research Activity / Tool

Intended dates

Actual dates

Project Planning

September 2012

September 2012 – March 2013

Focus Group - FG report

21st October

23rd March

Pilot Training (Leader Mentors) - Researcher observations - Video diaries - Evaluation forms - Assets questionnaires

17th, 18th , 19th , 20th November

Pilot Training (Young Leaders) - Training report - Video diaries - Evaluation forms - Asset questionnaires

7th, 8th, 9th December

Mentoring / monthly meetings - Training report - Mentoring reports

January to June 2013 2nd June (LMs only) 13th October 10th November

Data received 24th April 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th April Data collected by researcher

16th, 17th, 18th August Training report received 4th September Evaluation forms received 17th January 2014 -No other data received

June and October training reports received - No other data received 3-month review - Assets questionnaires

March

16th January 2014 - No data received

6-month review - Assets questionnaires

June

-

9-month review - Assets questionnaires

September

-

Research project report due:

September / October

28th January

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ADAMS, D. 2011. Embracing the Poor. Weybridge: RoperPenberthy Publishing Ltd. BAKER, H. 2008. Compelled by Love. Florida: Charisma House. BARNES, Peter. 2002. Leadership With Young People. Lyme Regis: Russell House Publishing. BASHIR, Sajitha. 2009. Changing the Trajectory: Education and Training for Youth in Democratic Republic of Congo. Washington: The World Bank. BAUMOHL, Anton. 1987. Grow Your Own Leaders. London: Scripture Union. BOUD, D., COHEN, R., SAMPSON, J. (eds.) 2001. Peer Learning in Higher Education. London: Kogan Page Limited. BUTCHER, T. 2008. Blood River. London: Vintage. CALLAWAY, Archibald. 1973. Educating Africa’s Youth for Rural Development. Mijdrecht: Bernard Leer Foundation. CLARK-KAZAK, C.R. 2011. Recounting Migration: Political Narratives of Congolese Young People in Uganda. Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press. COPSEY, K. 2005. From the Ground Up. Oxford: The Bible Reading Fellowship. DENSCOMBE, Martyn. 2010. The Good Research Guide (Fourth Edition). Berkshire: Open University Press. DONOVAN, V. J. 2001. Christianity Rediscovered. London: SCM Press. FLYNN, M. and BROTHERTON, D. C. (eds.). 2008. Globalizing the Streets: CrossCultural Perspectives on Youth, Social Control and Empowerment. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Heidi Bentley's Dissertation  

This is part of our series of MA Dissertations Showcase. This dissertation was written by CYM MA Graduate Heidi Bentley.

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