IFWEA Global Knowledge Community News

Jul 10

Training for Trainers with Juan Carlos

Juan Carlos has run a Training for Trainers course to promote alliances for a Just Energy Transition, aimed at participants from Latin America.  The course was developed by Programa Laboral de Desarrollo (PLADES) with the educational support of Hernan Benitez, PLADES Chief Education Officer. Juan Carlos speaks about the process and his role at PLADES:

Could you please describe your position and what you do in PLADES?

I am an associate member.  I am linked to the issues of Globalisation and Labour, and am currently coordinating a programme on Just Energy Transition.

How long have you been with PLADES?

I have more than 30 years in this institution.

What led you to become involved with workers’ rights?

My first job was to be an assistant to an economist in a labour program at a Peruvian NGO. I had social and political interests, and I discovered that these interests could be developed in the struggle to promote labour rights together with workers and their organizations.  At one point I had to support another area of work, that of Development Cooperation, and I discovered the international dimension of these processes.

Then I moved to PLADES which was just starting and tried to combine these experiences, the labour economy, an interest in globalisation, and international union and social action.  On that path, we met IFWEA, which was looking for partners in Latin America. We contributed our expertise in adult education, we also learnt from IFWEA.  We were part of the first IFWEA  programme of international study circles, which reinforced our international focus. PLADES developed union training years ago using digital media and international programmes involving trade union centres’ education departments in South America. That experience was shared to support the construction of the Online Labour Academy, OLA.

The Training of Trainers course to promote alliances for a Just Energy Transition –  was it all online, or mixed personal and online?

It was virtual, since we had participants from different countries. We used the OLA Platform.

How many people took part?

We had 25 participants enrolled and 20 completed all the activities required by the course.

What was the main outcome of the course?

There were several results.  The first was to get the group to participate for three weeks in the different activities of the course. The programme combined short lectures, participation in forums, videos, and participation in weekly virtual classes, as well as a weekly evaluation.

The second result, linked to the first, is that through these materials the participants were sensitised about the issues of climate change and the urgency of action.  It is clear that it was possible to sensitise them on the subject, and also to provide tools that they themselves can use for greater diffusion.

Was it a participatory process – were people encouraged to actively take part and contribute?

One result that the course sought was that the trained trainers then develop replications or dissemination actions of what they had learned. We hoped that people would be encouraged to assume responsibility for organising a subsequent activity, because the issue had impacted them and they believed that it was a good contribution for their organisation. One organisation from Peru and and one from Colombia took up that challenge and achieved it with our support.

We also established a Whatsapp group chat where we put all the contents of the course to make it more accessible, and communicated course information. Participants began to share news about climate change related to their country or sector.

How will you use this in your organisation? And will others also benefit

We have started a new programme on Just Energy Transition, so everything developed will be very useful. And we are discussing with Solidar, Olof Palme International Centr, and IFWEA on how to continue.

Of the 20 trainers, two developed replicas immediately after the course.However, many are interested in making other replicas, so the questions are what do we do with them? How do we help them?

Were there any challenges, such as internet connectivity?

In general, the participants, due to their profile, did not have major connectivity problems.  The challenge remains, using the virtual modality, how to get participants to introduce a space of time and energy into their daily life dynamics. The Whatsapp chat helped to allowed direct and close communication.  The tasks, readings and videsos flowed through the chat, so participants could see them without entering the OLA platform directly.  The fact that 25 people registered, and 20 completed all the requested activities, was a challenge that was solved with a lot of support to the group.

What worked well?

The issue of climate change is very broad and complex for the movement of workers. A weekly virtual class was insufficient to explain the full scope of the topic. We had to add brief but sufficient readings, and clear informative videos which complemented the class and helped to understand the topics that the class were going to develop.  We located the virtual class in the middle of the week, so that between Monday and Wednesday, the trainers could read and watch videos on the relevant class topics. This helped the classes better achieve their pedagogical objectives, since the students understood the explanations better.

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