IAF Seminar Report "Strengthening NGOs"
It is blessed to be a part of the amazing and informative seminar, especially with the diversity and mixed cultures of the participants from different corners of the world. The diverse backgrounds of all participants and different experiences in handling their own NGOs does create a very good setting for informative discussions throughout the whole seminar. On the other hand, among all the uncountable differences, there it was the only one common goal which is - Freedom. All participants want the freedom not only for their own souls but also for the people in their home country.
Representing the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, the experience in this seminar does increased my knowledge on the following topics: Understanding of strong NGOs through beliefs and perspectives; Self-diagnosing NGOs using different holistic organizational frameworks; Reflecting on concepts of leadership, trust and personal development; Assessing the development and organizational needs of NGO teams; Design thinking, generating ideas, strategies and responses; Identifying the core purpose and identity of our NGO; Identifying our long-term impact by setting 10-years goals and many other diverse topics. Throughout this twelve days’ seminar, it was supposed to be focusing on Strengthening NGOs, but somehow it reached the point where I felt I was in a personal development course and having a life changing moment that makes me to feel I am much stronger compared to the days before the seminar
I personally think that the most inspired and most powerful “click” of this seminar was Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle – Start with “Why”. For more clarification, this Golden Circle is based on three questions: Why, How and What. I’ve find this Golden Circle does provide us a very good frame of question marks especially this “Why” is not only very important for an organisation, yet it is also very applicable to our own daily life. The “Why” is the single driving motivation for our actions, “Why” they are doing what they are doing or “Why” do we choose this way instead of the others. The questions of “How” and “What” are always comes after the “Why”. We can change our “How we do it?” and “What we do?” according to the existing situation, but not changing our “Why we do it?” because it is our core purpose, cause or belief. Also, people will buy “Why” we believe more than “What” we believe. We only can be a successful person or organization if we are balanced with the three questions “Why”, “How” and “What”, in which it can bring us a clearer mind for decisions making. In short, we could not live a good life if we do not clear about the “Why”, “How” and “What” of our own life.
I frequently ask myself why I’m working as a researcher here with Merdeka Center. The primary answer to this question is that I would like to contribute to the development of the country in general and the development of certain groups. Other answer is that things are very bad here in my country, I personally think this is a very good platform for people like me to work seriously and sincerely for the betterment of my country. Although we are just a polling organization and not an NGO, yet what we are currently doing are building the bridges to connect the people and the government, and we need to influence the institutions to change our society. Throughout the survey results produced by this polling organization, I strongly believe there are opportunities for the country to improve and transform to be a better one.
Besides, with the very professional and skilful facilitators, the flow of twelve days’ seminar went very well and the experience in this international seminar really exceeded my expectations in every possible aspect. In my opinion, the most attractive session in this seminar is the “The Unconference” near the ending of the seminar, in which all participants are required to write down some topics that they wish to be continue discussing after the ten days of the seminar. In this session, everyone has opportunity and free to host or follow the topics that they wish to discuss and explore for more answers. It was very informative, amazing and a very perfect platform for all participants to interact on the topics that they are interested. Also, with the diversity of the group, everyone could share their own unique experiences, ideas and knowledge on the subject itself from the views of different countries and different continents.
I believe the experience learned from deep conversations with the facilitators, speakers and the participants of this seminar does really broaden my ability to offer more valuable and meaningful methods in tackling the issues faced by my fellow NGO counterparts. Perhaps there’s opportunity for me to organize some similar workshop or seminar in my home country. Thank you very much for all the “CLICKS” that has changed my view towards life. Thank you very much to Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Ms. Bettina Solinger, Ms. Marike and Ms. Manali for the amazing seminar, and not to forget about the very caring and helpful assistants, Ms. Hannah and Boris. Thanks to everyone that who supported me along the way, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity of being there.
Once again, thank you very much to Friedrich Naumann Foundation for the opportunity and I look forward to future engagements and the possibility of working together in the near future.
Zi Hui Cheong (Chloe)