Think Visual were delighted to collaborate with Advocacy Accelerator in December 2017 to provide an engaging, creative and empowering workshop for female mentors from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Think Visual is a creative engagement consultancy based in Cork, Ireland. We create visual thinking methodologies, trainings, events and communications to help businesses and organisations across sectors to reach their goals and develop an engaged and creative culture.
The workshop took place as part of the East African Girls Leadership Summit (EAGLS) run by Creative Action Institute which brought together girls from the four countries along with their mentors. At the end of an action-packed week of supporting the girls, it was time for the mentors to be the focus of the training. The mentors have all been supporting girls locally in their communities, and had identified issues of gender-based violence, teen pregnancy, FGM and girls' rights to go to schoo as particularly important and calling for change.
One of the aims of the day was to identify one or two issues that the group could move ahead with and develop a joint advocacy campaign to tackle over the coming months. “Through the training we wanted to develop the mentors’ understanding of what advocacy is, and why it is so important in bringing about real and lasting change” said Wanjiku Kamau, CEO of Advocacy Accelerator.
The other key aim was to make the training very interactive and hands-on, and to demonstrate creative tools that the mentors could practice and use in their own work. To meet this aim, Think Visual brought their expertise in visual facilitation and design thinking to the training. “We believe that everyone is creative, and that creativity enables people to connect and engage with each other in new ways, to see problems differently and come up with innovative solutions” said Claire Faithorn, Trainer and Facilitator with Think Visual.
We introduced the group to the visual alphabet and the basics of visualising ideas. “Everyone can draw. We all draw as children, but some of us forget” continued Claire, “when the group were told that the first activity of the day would be drawing portraits of each other, some of them looked pretty worried. Then they were told they couldn’t look at the paper at all. After a few minutes of drawing and laughing and looking at the results the group relaxed and knew they were in for some fun!”.
After learning the basics the group went on to create a visual library of terms and ideas related to the issues they were working on. They created visual pictures of the future they wanted and identified the changes that need to happen to get there. They drew life-sized personas of the different stakeholder groups they would need to influence with their advocacy activities. Finally the group reflected on the day and learned some creative ways to collect monitoring and evaluation data to see if they are on track.
“The commitment of the mentors to the girls and their future, and bringing about change in their wider communities was so inspiring to see”, said Claire. “They were totally open to the process and learning in a new way. It was also a great opportunity for us to collaborate with the Advocacy Accelerator, who bring so much experience, skill and passion to advocacy work. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Advocacy Accelerator ...and to hearing how the mentors get on with their projects!”.
Photography by Advocacy Accelerator