After a long flight and transfers in Beijing and Shenyang, Nicolas arrived at the capital Pyongyang of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). A representative of the organisation waited to accompany Nicolas and his colleague. During the whole mission they were not allowed to go anywhere on their own and someone from the office had to be with them at all times. “It was anecdotal but I was struck to see so few cars on the motorway. The city was so clean and the monuments at the glory of the leaders of the country were very big,” describes Nicolas. “As a trainer, I was wondering to what extent the ‘culture gap’ would have an incidence on how we would deliver the training.”
Think outside the box
“We were given some background information on the participants, but we were not quite sure to what extent the participants would be open to the participatory techniques that we usually use to convey the content. It was a pleasant surprise to see how open the participants were to our approach and how effective it was. To address some of the topics we had to think outside the box to ensure that the participants would understand the logic behind some of the concepts that we addressed.”
‘Kimchi’ to explain the results chain
“To give an example, when we discussed the results chain as part of the logical framework matrix, I usually take a simple example which is called ‘the horse parade’ to explain the differences between the levels of a project. These levels are: activities, outputs, outcomes and impact. But when I used this example in our training in a more rural office, I quickly realised through the group dynamic that the participants were not grasping the logic and I had to think about another example. At that moment, I took the risk to use as an example of a local dish I had eaten: Kimchi which is made of layers of cabbage, marinated in spicy sauce. So I used this dish to explain that the layers of cabbage can be the activities, the output is the actual Kimchi as such and the actual eating of the Kimchi by the target group is the outcome. Using this example worked really well in making sure that the participants understood what the result chain was.”
“Although you have your own grid and the Korean people do too, everyone is educated and asks questions, even though the culture is totally different. In this case it was a very pleasant surprise.”
Are you interested in a similar training? Join Nicolas in the french course on Training and Facilitation Skills in November in Brussels, or continue reading with this article about a training on EU funds in the Caribbean. Get in touch with Nicolas Dupic for more possibilities in training opportunities or consultancy for your organisation.