Tuesday 24 January 2017

Since October 2016, British Council intensified capacity building activities to support the development and delivery of an unprecedented Social Enterprise Leadership Programme in Ethiopia and Kenya. In the initial stages of the programme rollout, significant progress and outputs were achieved in providing capacity building opportunities to enhance the availability and accessibility of adequate and quality training services for the target beneficiary group of community and social enterprise leaders. As a result, adequate institutional partnership and capacity were put in place. Four civil society institutions working with 40 collaborating partners were selected in Ethiopia and Kenya. They were awarded grants to support the development and delivery of the programme for1200 community and social enterprise leaders in both countries.

In addition, British Council organized a National Training of Master Trainers workshop aimed at equipping these institutions with the necessary skills and knowledge to cascade the programme. A total of 79 master trainers selected from the partner institutions were trained. "Overall I believe that the event successfully achieved its objectives. Whilst this was only the start, I feel confident that the workshop has contributed to laying the foundations for the development of a stronger social enterprise ecosystem in Ethiopia", says Daniel Smith, the international trainer. Indeed his views were shared by other trainers and the trainees in both countries.

The training incorporated a range of relevant modules and activities that provided valuable learning opportunities. The participants gained sound understandings of social enterprise and the programme which they were expected to roll out at community level. In addition, they ascertained the new technical skills they acquired were so adequate that they would effectively facilitate networks and dialogues and confidently cascade the programme. "I have got new knowledge, which is very helpful to our country", responded one participant when asked about the gains. Another participant plans "to cascade the training and internalize more of the approaches and add values to my organisation." The training also helped to develop new entrepreneurial spirits and aspirations. One participant claims, "The training helped me even to think about myself, why not try to be a social entrepreneur?"

The master trainers also confirmed that they gained adequate facilitation skills to develop networks and contacts. To provide them with practical exposure and benefits, they were connected with British Council’s Active Citizens global network website and its social networking sites on Facebook and Twitter. The Ethiopia group also created a community group on Google social media platform.

With such arrangements and capacity in place, the partner institutions were in the process of developing and implementing strategies to cascade the training. In doing so, they would also facilitate networking by promoting British Council’s digital communication platforms. The multiplier effects of such cascading mechanisms and knowledge dissemination channels are expected to have significant impacts in ensuring wide spreading and sustained transfer of skills and knowledge to a huge potential target audience group. Therefore, the initial progress and promising results achieved evidently demonstrated that the programme initiative and associated efforts made in partnership and collaboration with several other stakeholder institutions were already bearing fruits. The initial capacity building activities such as the grant scheme and the national training were indeed vital in providing strong foundations for a phenomenal and exponential social enterprise leadership development.