The second cohort of the FES “Open Minds, Young Voices” programme for youth activists has successfully completed the first three modules. These modules kicked off the programme which consists of 16 modules in total, taking place from March to October 2019. The programme is aimed at providing groups of young, capable and proactive Nigerians with skills, knowledge and moral values that will equip and encourage them to use their future leadership positions to work and advocate for social justice, good governance and a more peaceful Nigeria. Young people from trade unions, civil society organisations, educational and research institutions, as well as the media, form part of the programme.
In the first session, participants were introduced to the idea behind the programme and the content of the different modules. Furthermore, the participants’ expectations, as well as ground rules for the sessions, were discussed. On top of this, they had a chance to get to know each other through various icebreakers. This introductory session set the basis for the modules to follow.
The second session was all about team dynamics and leadership. In the beginning, the participants were asked to define what makes an effective leader. It was pointed out that an effective leader sets the direction for a group, and encourages as well as inspires group members. After having defined what a leader is, qualities of leadership were discussed in detail, including a strong drive for responsibility, persistence in pursuit of a goal, as well as the willingness to accept consequences of decisions and actions. Lastly, different styles of leadership were discussed. On the second day, the facilitator elaborated on group dynamics. In particular, it was discussed how group dynamics can be used to enhance productivity in organisations.
In the third session, the participants learnt about group facilitation skills. They were introduced to different facilitation techniques as well as strategies to deal with difficult issues in a group. Based on those foundations, they were equipped with skills on how to design a good workshop. It was emphasized that it is fundamental for every workshop to have a clear and specific goal and that all of the activities need to directly contribute to that goal. Apart from having a clear and detailed agenda, it was pointed out that it is crucial to maintain a flexible mind towards the workshop.