Sunday, March 13, 2011

A great start...

The ball is now rolling with our preparations getting a Kick start during our first official workshop with the Umthathi facilitators last Friday, 11 April.
Litha and I arrived at the Umthathi offices equipped with our workshop plans in hand. Once again the facilitators were timely and ready and waiting to start. Litha and I had one main concern, which was to continue establishing a good relationship with the Umthathi facilitators. So we began ‘breaking the ice’ even further in order to gain the confidence and trust of the facilitators. To my delight we seemed to have done something right over the past few weeks. The facilitators, who in previous weeks were quite distant and slightly apprehensive to share information with us, were now more approachable and showed a sort of confidence towards Litha and myself. I also became aware of their keen interest and enthusiasm in the creation of the radio show. This inspired me, as I felt a greater need to help make the show a continuous success, especially once our project has come to an end.
I believe that one of the key contributors in our relationship with the facilitators thus far, has been Litha’s and my approach to the Umthathi project. From the start we have shown great respect and a genuine interest in the project and its facilitators. Along with our realisation in knowing the profound importance Umthathi has within the community it operates.
One of the aims of the workshop was to establish key features relating to the landscape, community lives, social issues, challenges and advantages Umthathi has within the community. Thus an editorial discussion and brain storming took place. This was especially interesting for me as most of the conversation took place in isiXhosa, with Litha facilitating the conversation. To my surprise I managed to keep up the gist of the conversation with the help of Litha filling in when needed; as a result I was quite happy and comfortable in allowing this conversation to take place.
Together with the facilitators we established five main themes which will be integrated into the radio shows. These very basically consist of: the benefits of gardening, nutrition, medicinal plants, how to garden and gardening as an income generation. We then wrapped up the workshop by detailing our plans for the next two workshops which will deal with the practical aspects in basic radio production skills, interviewing skills, writing for radio. The final workshop will focus on strategic planning in the preparation for the first broadcast of the radio show, which will be aired in the second week of next term.
With our first workshop done and dusted we now finally have the feeling that our project is gaining momentum. It is now up to Litha and me to play the role of teaching the Umthathi facilitators to be content gatherers. While emphasizing the building of a strong relationship between Umthathi and Radio Grahamstown, who will fully take over the responsibilities of the show once we have ended our participatory project. And ultimately the true test of our success will be in the continuous relationship between these two parties.

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