This blog was written by PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland’s International Fellow, Sally Nnamani.
Many moons ago, during my onobarding training before moving to Belfast to start my fellowship, I met with Gunnar Hagstrom, (PPI Chief Program Officer) and when I asked him what were the key needs at PPI-Northern Ireland, he answered “developing local capacity.” This week was all about investing in our local talent. We delivered trainings with coaches, teachers, and principals from Belfast, Armagh, Ballymena, Magherafelt, and Lurgan.
We kicked off the week with a full day of teambuilding/training with our Belfast coaches. The training introduced our brand new Belfast Interface League Curriculum which integrates “Beyond the Court”(life skills-focused) “Sharing the Court”(community relations-focused) “On the court” (basketball-focused) activities and outcomes. With this newly revamped curriculum, we know our participants will be excited to take part in absorb fresh content all while reinforcing previous learning.
Our coaches teambuilding day in Belfast was centered around building positive culture in our twinnings and the idea of a purpose-driven coach. We dug into why we coach, what do we want the young people we are coaching to get out of the time spent with us, and what we will do to make sure we reach our outcomes. Our coaches and staff truly embodied the positive culture that we want to bring to our day in and day out to participants in our twinning programme. We ended the day with some hoops and a lovely dinner together!
On Wednesday, Debbie (our Operations Leader here in NI) and I spent the day in Armagh, a town about 45 minutes from Belfast where we delivered a training for a group of teachers and principals from St Oliver Plunkett and Derryhale Schools. The idea behind the partnership is to train the teachers who will then organise and deliver a twinning programme involving P4, P5, P6, and P7 kids from their schools. The schools are planning on putting together another joint bid for a twinning next year.
Today, Joanne (our Project Coordinator) spent the day in Lurgan with our coaching staff there. The training reiterated positive culture and also covered facilitation techniques for delivering twinning games.
We have really stepped up our game in the capacity-building front. Our Champions4Peace participants are even involved. They were trained last August and led our first ever youth evaluation. Earlier this year, Emma Gibson on the PPI-NI board and Fundraising professional led a fundraising training workshop for the C4P’s. They are currently working on teams to develop a fundraising idea and put it into action. Joanne and I also led a series of social action workshops at the start of the year for our Lead4Peace participants. Our aim was to support our young leaders to leverage their experiences from the international exchanges to impact their communities locally. The Lead4Peace participants are currently working on teams to raise awareness around homelessness in Belfast and young people affected by mental health.
We’ve received lots of positive feedback from the additional trainings and what makes the trainings and support we give our participants, coaches, and other stakeholders particularly unique is the “experiential learning” activities immersed throughout the training content. This approach has helped our coaches feel more comfortable and confident because it allows our trainees to experience the PPI way and culture before coaching in an actual PPI programme.