Shared Learning

June 15, 2010 | Candice Stahl

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Marshall presenting the DNH framework – his enthusiasm is evident.

On May 10-14, I experienced my first Do No Harm training of trainers, held at CDA’s office in Cambridge, MA.  There were a dozen or so attendees, including several students from local universities, two organizational representatives, some experienced freelance development and conflict workers, and few CDA staff.  It was a diverse group of people, all with unique experiences in conflict sensitivity programs and knowledge of DNH; I was curious to see how the week would progress with such an eclectic group.

As soon as the first case study was underway—a story relating a project by Save the Children in Southern Tajikistan post civil war—the room came alive as each participant dissected the context of the case, identifying potential connectors and dividers, and explored the implicit ethical messages conveyed by Save the Children’s project design.

I was stunned by the comprehensive analysis this small group was able to perform in such a short period of time. As the week continued, our group of participants approached each new lesson with this same rigor and thoroughness, all the while integrating personal stories and experiences from around the world to highlight examples of where they had seen good use—or lack—of DNH analysis.

The participants

On a personal level, it was great to spend a week focused on learning the fundamentals of DNH, but even more enjoyable was watching the constructive way this group of strangers came together to brainstorm ideas and encourage each other through each lesson.

Through working together and sharing ideas, we were able to come out of this training with a clear understanding of the principles of DNH and how to employ its lessons—and had a great time doing so!


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