Developing capacity in Tanzania through coaching, mentorship, and participatory facilitation approaches

January 20, 2022
ACHIEVE conducts a two-day workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Coaching, Mentorship, and Advanced Participatory Methods. Credit: ACHIEVE

Pact’s experience with capacity development has taught us that the best way to support partners is to focus on the individuals within those organizations. We know that doing training workshops alone is not enough to help adults learn and apply their new skills. Rather, experiential approaches, with coaching and mentorship beyond basic training, is what adults need to internalize what they are learning and help them practice those skills in real world contexts. 

ACHIEVE Tanzania supports 13 local community-based partner organizations with capacity development for HIV-focused OVC and DREAMS service delivery, enabling these partners to institutionalize service delivery modalities so that they can be sustained over the long term. This includes support to also strengthen organizational systems for functions like financial management, resource mobilization, human resources, and procurement, to ensure that operational systems provide a sound foundation for community-based services.  

To launch the capacity development support for partners in Tanzania, ACHIEVE conducted a two-day workshop with 54 individuals (34 men, 20 women) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Coaching, Mentorship, and Advanced Participatory Methods.  In this workshop, the ACHIEVE Tanzania staff were able to discuss their experiences with coaching and mentorship, to design an approach that could be used with the project’s 13 local partners.  ACHIEVE staff highlighted the importance of coaches and mentors enabling them to unleash individual potential, learning by doing, and trust and open feedback processes as part of the relationship.  They also highlighted that coaching and mentoring created an opportunity for mutual partnership in the learning process, so that learning is more inclusive of what our partners need in terms of skills development and behavior change.  

ACHIEVE staff highlighted the importance of coaches and mentors enabling them to unleash individual potential, learning by doing, and trust and open feedback processes as part of the relationship.

In the workshop, team members were able to practice coaching skills with each other through role play activities. The role play helped the staff learn how to provide feedback as a coach, but also to use questions to help their “mock” coachees come up with their own solutions to challenges that they face. One participant commented, “the Coaching and Mentorship training has empowered me to a great extent through the role plays to be able to analyze my growth areas and improve the way I do things from doing for them to doing together”.  Lilian Mrina, a Coastal Cluster Accountant for the ACHIEVE Tanzania Project, commented “During the training I discerned that when participants are actively involved in the learning process, they grasp very well knowledge and skills transferred.”

The workshop was led using an Advanced Participatory Methods (APM) approach, where all activities were done through group discussons and activities.  One participant commented that what they learned from the approach was that “Old is gold,” referring to the way that training can be done by engaging participants using an experiential approach focused on discussion, group activities, and active learning, rather than through powerpoint presentations, which is often how content had been delivered in the past.  Participants were able to experience the approach in the workshop design to develop content and learn more about how to design and faciliate participatory workshop activities with large and small groups. Participants were also introuced to the Pact Guide on how to Facilitate Participatory, Contextualized, and Impactful Events. A key outcome of the workshop was that the ACHIEVE Tanzania teams were able to develop facilitation guidance for upcoming workshops with their local partners that use the APM approach. For example, the teams integrated participatory facilitation approaches into financial management and MERL training. “I prepared guiding questions to facilitate group brainstorming activities during financial management training in Morogoro and allowed the group to present before others. My session was on financial policies. The results were astonishing. Participants came up with brilliant ideas to improve their organization financial policies.” Participants also used the brainstorming approaches and tools such as SCAMPER to encourage creative thinking and brainstorming among participants.

ACHIEVE Tanzania staff share their experiences with coaching and mentorship through group discussions and hands-on activities. Credit: ACHIEVE

“Attending coaching, mentorship, and advanced facilitation skills in Dar Es Salaam, was an eye opener to me and influenced to a great extent the way I prepared myself and facilitated financial management training in Morogoro,” said Deogratius Luhanga, a Senior Finance Officer for USAID Kizazi Kipya Project. The “financial management training in Morogoro was quite different from all other training I organized previously. I used different methodologies and approaches to enhance participants participation and active involvement in the learning process. More group work, brainstorming exercises with less power point slides.”

The Pact Tanzania Country Director, Marianna Balampama commented, “Through participatory coaching and mentoring approach, Pact has once again demonstrated thought leadership for capacity development of local organizations.”

ACHIEVE – Adolescents and Children HIV Incidence Reduction, Empowerment and Virus Elimination – is a five-year global effort to reach and sustain HIV epidemic control among pregnant and breastfeeding women, adolescents, infants and children. The project is implemented by a Pact-led consortium of top global HIV/AIDS partners, including Jhpiego, Palladium, No Means No Worldwide and WI-HER.