Leading in the Library: Forum 2 - Uganda Participant feedback

In October 2016 INASP and Caplor Horizons embarked upon the first phase of our exciting new collaboration 'Leading in the library: a learning lab for sustainable access to knowledge in Africa'. A project designed to strengthen the organisational effectiveness of library consortia in Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda. We are now embarking on the exciting second phase of the project, the first of these second face-to-face forums took place in Kampala, Uganda from the 28th - 30th March 2017.

The Learning Lab is an iterative, flexible and problem solving approach. Over the course of the project the team will focus on three key elements of organisational effectiveness - Leadership, Strategy and Influencing; that have been identified by the consortia in all four countries as areas in which they require capacity building support. Below you can see our 'rich picture' illustrating the Learning Lab approach

Phase 2 in Uganda brought together 25 members of the Consortium of Uganda University Libraries (CUUL) to work with Caplor Horizons advisors Dan Bishop, Usha Ladwa-Thomas and Chandra Ladaw and INASP's Vanessa Fairhurst. Over the course of 3 days the group worked together using experiential learning techniques to explore issues of communication, strategy, financial sustainability and advocacy. This included refining the vision and mission of the consortium, agreeing shared values and sharpening the strategic goals:

GOAL 1: To create a self-sustaining CUUL

GOAL 2: To provide activities that will develop the effectiveness of members

GOAL 3: To advocate for the vital role of libraries in education, research and innovation in Uganda

Discussing the Caplor House strength cards

Across all three days 100% of the participants thought that the sessions were very relevant to the Consortium of Uganda University Libraries (CUUL).

"The sessions were relevant as it helped us to realise our strengths & weaknesses, including what we can do to sustain CUUL"
"The session helped CUUL members to discover and realise our different abilities"
"It helped to clearly portray the importance of cooperation and teamwork in the consortium"
"Major highlight of today was that learning is in the application"
"The best practice guides of accessibility, appropriateness, innovation, sustainability, together with communication, are great"
Colourblind Exercise

All participants agreed that the sessions over the three days will help to strengthen strategy either 'a lot' or to 'some extent'.

"Strategy and structure move together...achieving strategy requires people with different skills...continuous improvement is necessary to achieve the strategy"
"The sessions have re-awakened our need to strategise for our organisation"
"Strategy is a combined effort of teamwork, creativity, commitment and cultural curiosity which have been focused on in today's session."
"You cannot achieve sustainability without proper strategy."
"It will help us to revisit our draft strategy as CUUL and has also given us clarity of direction."
Practising an 'elevator pitch'
Creating organisational success criteria and applying this to CUUL - the 'zoo exercise'
Exploring power dynamics through the 'smarties exercise'

Across the three days, all participants felt that the sessions had contributed to their own personal development and learning, with a striking 97% stating 'a lot'.

"It helped open my eyes to my personal strengths and weaknesses. The exercises have helped me develop a resilient mind-set, especially in how to overcome weaknesses."
"Since learning doesn't stop, I will be reflecting more on the knowledge I have got so that I can personally improve my leadership abilities."
"Better insights into who I am and how I can effectively serve the consortium...adopting and using strategies that work and make sense to you."
"(I learnt that) we should support each other and not pull each other down. We win more when we work together."
I learnt a lot about staying focused, being a team player and appreciating others' contributions. I also learnt to be curious, creative and continuously improve."
Practising 'active listening'

Many participants also commented on the participatory approach to the training and the experiential learning methods used. It came across very strongly from the positive feedback that this approach to learning not only works but is both more memorable and enjoyable.

"There was total participation by all members and everyone seemed happy with the approach."
"The training has been productive, relevant to me as an upcoming leader in the library, it has been participatory and given me chance to share my ideas and experiences."
"I love the practical sessions. They were so engaging and I have gotten a new sense of direction on how to conduct trainings. Also undoubtedly the art of interpersonal skills."
"The hands on approach should be continued. They drive points home better and they clearly highlight often forgotten issues."
"Excellent way of training. The creativity in making us learn is very impressive."
"This by far has been my best workshop/forum. It has ruined all future training for me!"

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