Facilitation and strategy development
Supporting groups in harnessing their collective knowledge, Cultivate! designs and facilitates strategy development, workshops, conferences and learning processes. We have worked with networks including Groundswell International, the AgroEcology Fund, the Global Alliance on the Future of Food and WWF International in participatory processes to develop multiyear agroecology strategies.
In our design, we use and re-interpret interactive tools and methodologies, drawing from approaches such as storytelling, open space, appreciative inquiry, world café, interview techniques, circle and sociocracy. The group´s goals, and their context, composition and resources guide the process. We design activities that stimulate creativity, connection and having fun. We believe that is the best way to explore both common ground and new ways of thinking and doing.
What others say about our facilitation:
“A playful and stimulating process”
“Our gathering was designed as a playful and stimulating participatory process. Janneke Bruil and Jessica Milgroom both created lots of space for participants to define discussion topics, reflect in small groups and plenary sessions, participate, debate, and learn from each other. Interactive sessions such as poster making enabled participants to communicate their story diagrammatically, and a theatrical session made for a hilarious and bonding exchange of ‘Theories of Change’. We all felt that the exchange added strength and solidarity to a growing agroecology movement.”
“It was like a living thing”
“Over the course of our days together one discussion and activity built upon the previous and fed into the next. People were invited to give suggestions derived from their experiences as well as offer creative inspirations from the moment. The schedule was like a living thing that derived not from hierarchical, but rather lateral inputs from the diverse voices in the space. While people were still focused on structure, the structure was in service of connecting different representatives to common causes, while respecting fundamental differences.”
“Rewarding and enriching”
“The gathering was very rewarding and enriching. It was important to learn about the work of other groups, and to share what has worked for us and the lessons we have learned. The site visit allowed us to learn about the culture of African communities. This experience reaffirmed what small farmers can achieve with their own knowledge, and by adding new techniques. We also recognised the importance of linkages that strengthen our work, and that provide both positive and critical feedback to our collection of experiences.”
A few examples of our facilitation work:
> Strategic Planning Process
Over a process of 10 months throughout 2022, Cultivate! will support Groundswell International and its partner organisations around the world to develop their new strategic framework for 2023 – 2027. We are doing this using creative methodologies and tools exploring viewpoints and emerging patterns in online and offline meetings, in interviews with partners, staff, allies and funders, as well as analysis of relevant documentation and successes to date. The new strategy will be finalised in November 2022.
> International gathering on Agroecology and Food Sovereignty (May 2019)
We designed and facilitated a gathering with key people in food sovereignty and agroecology research and movements from around the world. In a 3-day meeting roughly grounded in Open Space methodology, we strengthened relationships, did a joint context analysis, explored deeper collaborative work around urgent issues, and carved out time to prioritise creativity, walks in nature and experimentation.
> Facilitation of Groundswell Global Conference on Agroecology, Senegal (November 2017)
For: Groundswell International
Bringing together NGO staff from Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nepal and the US, Cultivate! facilitated the 5-day annual Global Conference of the network of Groundswell International in November 2017. In Thiès, Senegal, the group worked in dynamic constellations, often breaking up in regional, language or thematic groups to draw out insights from the past two years and make strategic plans for the next two. We created safe spaces for participants to explore sometimes difficult questions, as well as the complexity and diversity of the context in which they work. Using heads, hands and heart, discussion alternated with playful situated experience, helping to harvest essential insights and commitment.
> Facilitation of international Agroecology Learning Exchange, Uganda (2016)
In May 2016, members of Cultivate! facilitated a four-day Learning Exchange, organised by the Agroecology Fund (AEF) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA). Over 70 people from six continents met for four days on an agroecological training centre near Masaka, in central Uganda. The Learning Exchange aimed to share lessons on what people are doing to promote agroecology in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, and to identify better ways of amplifying agroecology across the world. It also aimed to facilitate networking and collaboration. Janneke and Jessica co-designed the Learning Exchange together with the AgroEcology Fund in a way that stimulated participation and interaction. We used creative methodologies such as open space sessions, poster presentations, small group reflections and theatre skits, and used indoor and outdoor spaces. There was ample space for participants to make process suggestions. The event generated a range of insights on how to amplify agroecology. We also documented the outcomes in a report (also available in Spanish).