Sonja Bongard works for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). She develops supply chain management trainings for field staff and delivers these trainings worldwide. Supply chain management is very important for this humanitarian organisation that provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. Without the right drugs and medical equipment doctors, midwives, and nurses can’t do their work. So Sonja’s background is in supply chain management plays an important role.

Sonja: “I followed the Training and Facilitation Skills course to become strong in the full training cycle. I realised that having technical expertise does not necessarily make you a qualified trainer in your field of expertise. Training and facilitation is a challenging skill set that requires theoretical knowledge and practical experience. My affinity with learning and development made me naturally grow into my current position, in which training and facilitation both play a major role.”

Sonja Bongard

“The three key insights I gained from the Training and Facilitation skills course are:

  • The importance of the participants' needs
    This is the foundation of the training. What are the learning needs of the participants? Not only in the preparation phase, but also during the training itself, there should be a regular check with the participants about the applicability and level of the training.
     
  • Keep a clear focus during the training
    Less is more. What is the key message? How is this methodology supporting the learning? How will I know my participants achieved the learning objectives? Last but not least: summarising the key message in the end.
     
  • The effect of visualisations
    I must admit I was quite sceptical about the benefit of visualisations. Although I love visualising, why would I spend time on it during my trainings? The training showed me there is a strong added value: it makes the message stick!”

 

Training in BangladeshLearning while playing

“Two months after the course,” Sonja continues, “I was able to put my learnings into practice when I went to Bangladesh to deliver a supply training. The introduction module of my training used to be packed with information. Based on what I learned I adjusted the module by focusing on two key messages. To support the learning I visualised both of the messages in a colourful and interactive way. The result was that the participants got deeper into the meaning of the topic and learned while playing. Throughout the course of the training, they kept coming back to the key messages of this introduction module. Conclusion: having a clear focus and adding visualisations makes the message stick!

Don’t be afraid to move away from the plan: each group, each setting and each training is unique. Adjusting your training along the way based on the needs of the group and the circumstances of the moment feels like surfing the waves!”