Facilitating Digital Changemaking

Posted April 22, 2017 from Guatemala
Digital Empowerment Workshop
Saturday 29 April 2017, I facilitated a digital empowerment workshop for about 50 women, in Junkabal. I also facilitated a test workshop with my family and employees.
Listening Carefully
Listening Carefully: They where all very interested in the Digital Empowerment Workshop. (1/3)

Date: Thursday, April 20

Assistants: 10 women (relatives, employees and neighbors)

Topic: Digital and Financial Empowerment

Presentation: 1 hour, Presentation of 20 World Pulse slides

Objective: introduce them to World Pulse and my vision of change. Understand their main financial problems to design a more complete workshop.

Planning the Workshop

My plan was to have a workshop for 50 women, in Junkabal (a technical school for women), but because of Easter, I had to schedule it for next week. That is why I decided to do a test before, with a smaller group with my family, employees and neighbors, which was excellent as it served as practice for the next workshop.

I chose to make the presentation of 1 hour, with the World Pulse presentation as a guide. I think I needed an projector because it did not look good for afar. However, the conversation flowed just the same.

The workshop

Previously I have facilitated different workshops. This was different and challenging, because it was my family: My grandma, my mom, my sister in law and my aunts. Also participating were employees of my business, my grandmother's nurse and two neighbors. It was difficult for me to be taken seriously; they still see me as their child, although I'm old enough.

I was also interested in sharing with my vision of change, what I have been working so hard on, so I no longer have to explain why I don’t visit them as often as I did. Little by little they were taking seriousness and understanding that this was important for me, and for them. Although the tone of the conversation was informal, the message arrived and made them think and reflect on this issues.

We did not need to introduce ourselves, since we all knew each other well, so I went straight to the content. It seemed wonderful to know that they can express their voice, that their voice is valuable, and that this is the way in which we will change the world together. We talk about digital empowerment, and how they can make a change using their voice trough social media and World Pulse.

My grandmother said, "I'm not very good with computers, I'm old ... I can barely use my cell phone." But I told her that she has a lot to say, so many years of experience and stories, that I would gladly teach her how to use World Pulse on the computer so that he could participate. She was very happy.

Women's Economic Empowerment

However my goal went further, I wanted to take advantage of the meeting to talk about my project, financial freedom and economic empowerment of women.

My plan was to ask what are the main challenges they have, to be able to design other workshops. Here they all raised their hands, they wanted to expose their problems:

  • We do not earn enough; the money does not reach us.
  • Men have more opportunities; they can earn more than us.
  • Men keep our money, they spend it sometimes in bad stuff
  • It is difficult to earn money without education
  • It is more difficult for women because we have to do housework and work outside as well
  • There are many single moms; we have to be providers and moms at the same time.
  • I do not know how to take the finances of my home
  • I do not earn enough money, in order to save and invest in the future

These and many more were the themes that emerged. When I asked them, how would they solve this? At first nobody commented... but little by little they were raising their hands:

  • We need to educate mothers, so they can educate their sons and daughters differently. Make a change of culture ... starting with us.
  • Change our way of thinking about men, to be threated with dignity and respect.
  • We need to change the laws in our country
  • We need to have opportunities for education, especially technical things that allow us a living.
  • Teach us to produce things that people want, to do things better so that we can sell things better.
  • We need financial education: to teach us how to make budgets, how to save, how to take care of and take advantage of our money

As this point it was difficult for me to moderate the conversation, because they started to talk a lot, they were excited to be heard. It took a lot of the time and I could not finish the entire presentation. I understood they needed to talk about their concerns, so I let them.

Participant’s learning

All of them agreed that women's digital empowerment is important because it would enable them to better educate themselves, to have more opportunities and to feel more empowered. Some of them (employees and neighbors) commented that it is difficult for them to have Internet access at their homes, so they need to be creative in getting this resources. As for security, they did have a notion of the importance of staying safe, but they say it is important to learn more about this.

My learnings

It was a very rewarding experience. I learned that I still have a lot to learn. I realized that I need to improve on the following technical points:

  • Prepare better, practice more, specifically the World Pulse content.
  • Print the handouts, so they can leave with the details
  • I need to find a projector or used other graphic assets
  • Clearly set the rules, so I can moderate the workshop better
  • Take better control of the time, so everyone has a chance to share

However, I realized that I have the ability to connect with people, so they can open up and feel confident and confident in expressing themselves. I also have joy so I could see that my workshops have a funny touch, which makes women feel more relax and at ease.

It really was a great experience, which I hope to repeat soon. Next week I will give another workshop for a group of Community Managers students, where I will help them know how to sell them selves and get a job, and I want to take advantage of quickly presenting new tools like World Pulse. I'll tell you how it goes with this.



Saturday 29 April 2017 As I had originally planned, this Saturday I gave a digital empowerment workshop for approximately 50 women attending the Training"Community Management" in Junkabal, whichis a technical school for women. Junkabal seeks to generate new opportunities and develop skills for women with limited financial resources. I volunteer often in Junkabal, because we have the same vision: empower women economically.

It was an interesting session, all of them participated very attentively when Ipresented to them World Pulse and digital empowerment, as well as other tools to develop a better portfolio and curriculum.

It was a great opportunity to share some of my experience, give them helpful content and some tips to improve their job opportunities.

Comments 4

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Jill Langhus
Apr 24, 2017
Apr 24, 2017

Hi Mercedes. It sounds like you did a good job and were very organized:) That must have been hard to do your pitch on your vision to you family, too, so kudos for that. That took a lot of courage, and also they know your vision now, which is very cool. It sounds like you gained some confidence, too, from doing this mini-run?

Apr 24, 2017
Apr 24, 2017

I have facilitated several courses, but this was challenging because the group was very heterogeneous, since I mixed family and employees of my business.  Each of them had different backgrounds and stories, different needs and resources. But we all agreed that women need to share their voice and be heard. We all need to be treated with respect.  This is why I love my work so much! :D Thank you for your comment!

Apr 26, 2017
Apr 26, 2017

Hello Mercedes,

You did a good job. Connecting with the participant is very important and from your write up you connected with t hem.

Keep it up and i wish you success in more training.



Rahmana Karuna
Apr 26, 2017
Apr 26, 2017

Mercedes, how wonderful. and how humbling to have family as "guinea pigs" for your practice. a tool for serenity that i have learned is "plan plans, not outcomes". It appears this seesion resulted in the women finding their voices and getting passionate about coming up with their own solutions, how much better can we get? keep on persisting!! and Thank you so very much for joining world pulse and spreading the knowledge of this site.