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Changing professional attitudes. Complementing use of participatory techniques with attention to the `here and now'

Kees Blok

Journal article

The Proyecto Capacitación Profesional en Gestión de Recursos Hídricos para Uso Agrario (Proyecto CGRH1) conducts training sessions for professionals working in irrigation management transfer programmes to help them develop facilitation skills for participatory processes. The course focuses on the knowledge and skills required for developing a facilitatory role for supporting communication with water users. Its main aim is, however, helping participants to define and adopt certain professional attitudes that are required for successful facilitation. The course encourages its participants to discover, through experience, their own personal style of facilitation. In this article, I would like to share our progress in, and ideas about, helping participants to work on their behaviour and attitudes. I will give a summary about learning and teaching ‘attitudes’, followed by a presentation of two of the exercises we use in teaching our participants about attitudinal change. In conclusion, I describe the challenge, both for trainers and professionals working with rural communities, of complementing the focus on participatory techniques with equal attention to the interaction between workshop participants themselves.

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