Last month we delivered online training to thirty participants many miles away in Zambia as part of our role in Christian Aid's 'Making Agriculture a Business' project.

The refresher course was aimed at project staff, co-operative directors and local agronomists who will then go onto deliver workshops to grassroots communities. It covered a whole range of topics, including the different components of member consultations, risk management, the benefits of being a co-operative and why co-ops succeed or fail and how to overcome poor communication skills in meetings. 

Using interactive methods

Split across three days, the interactive course used Active Learning, such as group discussion and roleplays, as we know from previous exercises that participants are much more likely to remember and retain information if they're actively involved in their learning. In addition, participants from different regions and co-operatives were encouraged to work with as many different people as possible across the three days to maximise information sharing with different groups.

Specific advice was also given on how to make training inclusive and accessible to all participants - a key part of all learning whether online or in person!

What participants had to say

The feedback from the participants and the Zambia project team was very positive, with Henry Chibutu from The Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), commenting:

It was exciting to see it all come together, the training was very interactive and kept the group busy. The group quickly adapted to the technology and the level of active participation in the breakout sessions meant there was no time for sleeping!

Our Curriculum Development Manager Amanda Benson was also really pleased with how the training worked in practice and said:

Having adapted the training for online rather than face-to-face delivery, it’s always a challenge to make sure it’s an active and co-operative learning experience for participants. Especially through a screen some thousands of miles away! However, by using lots of activities that encourage people to reflect on and share their own knowledge, ideas and skills they can then come up with their own solutions to shared problems, building people’s confidence in their own abilities and strengthening the bonds of co-operation.

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