V4MF builds on layers of effective forest governance through Training of Trainers

In recent years, non-state actors (NSAs) across the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have shifted their mindsets from that of conventional extension service providers to that of a multi-stakeholder facilitator. The European Union (EU)-funded Voices for Mekong Forest (V4MF) project, while working closely with NSAs through the region, has recognized the need to evolve alongside key actors, and in turn has provided training for NSAs to become better skilled at facilitation.

“Governance nowadays involves multiple processes that often require and can benefit from the active and positive contribution of the civil society to bring the voices and convey the messages coming from local people and grassroots communities. It is therefore important to empower and enable civil society to fulfill this role”, states Etienne Delattre, the V4MF Project Coordinator.

Led by RECOFTC’s own Rejani Kunjappan, V4MF organized a training on 10 - 14 September in Bangkok, Thailand at the RECOFTC regional office. “Building Facilitation Capacities to Improve Forest Governance” sought to provide key stakeholders with the appropriate skills to enable them to facilitate communication and dialogue, discuss and solve problems, become more engaged in particular processes, and in so doing, assist in the creation of the required conditions for better governance practices.

Effective forest governance is essentially about participatory decision making and collaboration. You need NSAs with high level facilitation skills and the right attitude to develop these participatory processes.The facilitator does not provide answers to governance challenges but facilitates the process and harvest the points raised which allows communities to come up with their own solutions.

In conclusion, the objective was to practice a wide range of facilitation skills and improve participants ability to facilitate diverse interest groups. In order to do so, the course was designed to be active, practical, and emphasize peer support, positive feedback, and energetic discourse. As Chey Koulang, a participant from WWF-Cambodia, noted, "[This training] is very useful to work with people; it helps me to step back, reflect to real situations in my job, and to handle difficult ones during facilitation processes that I have met. I think I will do better after this training."