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Rediscovering My Inner Facilitator Stance to Support Communities Better

By Alfie Gordo

My experience joining the Io Feminist Activist School on Facilitation as Feminist Leadership has been exceptional both at the personal and professional levels. The training brought a lot of important elements in how facilitation can make up more inclusive, gender sensitive, participatory, creative communities and deepening conversations.

I’m very happy to be part of the first group of individuals to witness and experience the valuable concepts and practices from this learning space. I can say it had the most impact at the personal level, where I get to re-think and re-discover my values, my inner stance and biases, as well as my expectations when it comes to facilitation and learning.

And of course, the experience would have not been as magical without the great facilitators, Susanna George and Luz Martinez. Truly grateful to them for sharing their rich knowledge and for bringing together a well thought-through design for the training. As Susanna mentioned in one of the sessions, macroplanning an event greatly involves considering the social architecture because it takes into account the creativity, psychology, design, purpose and values of the people within the group.

Personally, I found all the group work very useful because it was an opportunity to engage with different participants. Of all the group exercises, I liked the process and outcome of ‘The Box’ exercise and ‘World Café.’ Both exercises provided time and space for participants to share parts of themselves (their thoughts, ideas, values) and at the same time, be able to listen to others’ perspectives and  ways of self-expression. 

I also found journaling extremely useful, especially when I wanted to recall the energy and ideas that came about during a certain session. I find it to be a good way to look back in my own journal and review what happened and how I felt at that certain moment. It also allowed me to capture some sound bites and food for thought during the training.

Over a  month after the training, I am still in the process of internalising the key takeaways from the week-long training. It is quite easy to comprehend the logic and ideas but it is still challenging to put the understanding into action and practical work. 

Together with my work colleague, Chusa, who also participated in the Io training, I will be facilitating a three-day review meeting for the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)  team to genuinely reflect upon our current work as well as to plan the next cycle of our programs and activities. I am both excited and challenged to realise the outcome of this meeting. We plan to incorporate ideas and the exercises that we learned from the training. Our organisation  has always practiced reflective discussions in our workplace so it will be great to incorporate new ideas into our existing practices.

I have long been interested in working with community workers and grassroots organisations every time I am involved in  projects that focus upon capacity enhancement and knowledge building. With the new knowledge and understanding I’ve gained, it will be more meaningful to connect and support these groups through facilitated conversations to bring about social change.

Again, thank you Io for the wonderful opportunity!

About the Author
Alfie Gordo joined the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women International Secretariat in 2005. She is a senior staff member responsible for managing the finance and administration unit. She is also involved  in the design and production of print materials and visual documentation for GAATW, as well as in the implementation of GAATW’s Power in Migration and Work programme. Prior to working with GAATW, Alfie worked as programme associate for the Asian Women’s Human Rights Council (AWHRC) based in Manila and as political affairs officer for the Philippine Congress. She may be reached through