Leading in the Library Uganda Forum 3: Participant Feedback

Earlier this month, the Consortium of Uganda University Libraries (CUUL) completed the third, and final phase of Leading in the Library: a learning lab for sustainable access to knowledge in developing countries. 25 CUUL members were joined by Caplor Horizon's advisors: John White and Will Odling, and INASP's Faaria Hussain to work through CUUL's primary objective of: knowing how to implement their newly revised strategy.

The Learning Lab is an iterative, flexible and problem solving approach to building library consortia capacity in Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda. Over three phases in each country it focuses on three key elements of organisational effectiveness - Leadership, Strategy and Influence.

Phase 1 and phase 2 in Uganda saw CUUL establish their main areas of focus and explore issues of communication, strategy, financial sustainability and advocacy. Prior to the final phase, the facilitators asked participants to answer three questions:

  1. What has been the biggest learning for me on the Leading in Library Project?
  2. Where would I like to get to at the end of the Forum three?
  3. What is the biggest barrier to implementing the developed strategy?
"The idea of everyone stating their own objectives was a brilliant one. By the end of the forum, each person measures whether their objective has been met or not."

The participants at the beginning of the forum, once again had the opportunity to list their objectives and expectations for the final phase. There was an overriding consensus that through the previous forums, CUUL had developed a strategy they were happy with and now wanted the tools to practically implement this.

CUUL reflected on their successes through the Leading in the Library project so far . . .

"I was able to assess myself in terms of achievements and successes"

...and the challenges.

Will explained the model on the five levels of communication and why it is important to be able to work across all levels in successful teams.
"It will help me to solve the different levels of my communication and appreciate the peak."
"Team work and role delegation is important to achieve objectives."
Project Collector
"Project collector activity helps me as an individual to be a good role player, hardworking and a planner."
"I realized as a result of project collector exercise how we all have different perceptions, and that different things cannot always be achieved in the same time frame."
Discussion on exploring the strategy in detail, each group to look at a different aspect of the strategy

Participant feedback over the three days was extremely positive. Participants rated 94% of the sessions the highest rating ("a lot") in terms of relevance to the consortium.

"The skills gained from the first and second forums combined with forum three gives a clear picture of a bright future for CUUL."
"The consortium will move forward after successful and impactful training offered to the members."

The final day saw the participants form working groups to plan implementation strategies for certain sections of the CUUL strategy. 100% of participants gave the highest rating ("a lot) to the question: To what degree will today's session help strengthen strategy?

"Because of the formulation of groups, this will help uplift the group and work together to achieve the common objective."
"The strategy was well understood by members through working groups. Chances are high that members will advocate for CUUL."
"Finally, I believe I will be able to feel part of the CUUL strategy, and this alone is a motivating factor for me to ensure its successfully implemented."

Many commented on how the forum contributed to their personal learning and development.

"Thinking about my personal work, I realise the need to always word towards a certain goal and setting time frames to achieve the set goal."
"It will help me in my personal development, especially when formulating policies for systems."
"Today was very enjoyable and fulfilling even on a personal level. I go away with better and more efficient methods of carrying out activities at work."

Vote of Thanks from Jackline Kiwelu Mayende General Secretary

"On behalf of CUUL, I wish to move a vote of thanks to Will, Faaria and John for delivering such an effective workshop, Leading in Library Forum 3. You as a team created a good environment for learning. The workshop participants and myself are sincerely grateful. After the training CUUL has now a pool of leaders who can confidently take CUUL'S Strategy forward even after changing of CUUL leadership after every two years as its constitution requires. If I can recall before forum one started, we as CUUL leaders were in a dilemma, we were not very sure how to begin to revise our strategy, though we new we needed to do it. INASP and Caplor Horizons came in timely with Leading in Library Project Forum One, two and now three. Today we feel excited not only with our well structured CUUL strategy but also with knowledge and skills on how to implement strategy. We are overjoyed and grateful to INASP for financial support and Caplor Horizons for the excellent training. Once again thank you"

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