Reflections from Emmanuel on one of his Courses at the Coady Institute
We reported earlier on Emmanuel Ole Kileli, Chair of our partner organization EMAYO, and his acceptance to undertake a diploma program in International Development at the Coady Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia – https://www.thekeshotrust.org/news/2014/emmanuel-returns-to-canada/ . He arrived in Canada in July and has begun the program.
Emmanuel has sent us this reflection on one of the core courses he is taking during his program. We hope he will provide further reflections as the course progresses. Your comments on his reflections are also very welcome.
If you want to be in touch with Emmanuel and don’t have his contacts, please contact us [email@example.com] and we can put you in touch.
1ST HALF OF THE FOUNDATION COURSE – MY PERSONAL REFLECTION
by Emmanuel Ole Kileli
The first part of the foundation course at Coady International Institute has been of very meaningful and valuable to me as it didn’t only increase the knowledge I previously had, but also added some new knowledge, skills, positive attitudes and values and shaped my behaviour as well as encouraged me to continue with the work I am passionate about, – community development carrier.
The first half of the foundation course was an introductory part that mainly based on leadership in general and personal change.
In this reflection, I am going to briefly explain how the first part of the foundation course has changed my leadership perspective, the learning activities that inspired me most during the course, the way gender influenced my ability to be an effective leader, the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that I learnt during the first half of the course as well as the way I will apply the major learnings from the course within my own leadership context. Lastly, a brief conclusion of the reflection is also part and parcel of this assignment.
My Personal reflection on Leadership – The foundation course
My perspective on leadership after the course has changed in some ways, that as leader I need to understand much of myself first before I interact with others. Interaction with people is always difficult as people that we interact with or lead as leaders have different values, beliefs, attitude and cultures that need to be taken care of and handled carefully by the leaders. The course has brought me self understanding and moreover, as a leader, I need to show the way and collaborate with subordinates to bring positive impact in my work place and the community at large. One of the Chinese philosophers Lao Tzu once said, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves”. This means that, when I have the aim to achieve a certain goal in a community as a leader, I need people participation to ensure the ownership of that particular program/project in that particular community. When they do with me they will always feel that they did themselves as a community and this will bring about program/project sustainability.
Apart from that, the learning activities that inspired me most are the role plays and the group exercises. This is because; through the role plays and the group exercises we are really doing/practising what exactly happening within our self and the community at large. Thus, it is easy to understand and act immediately whether to correct the behaviour present within myself or keep in mind that, well I am going to practice this back home. If you read things on paper, it is easy to forget as one of the Chinese philosophers (Confucius) once said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand”. Thus, I believe in the strong effect of the learning activities in the class and I am sure that they have impact in my memories compared with the lecturing activity which is easier to forget what has been said or lectured.
In addition, the gender topic has influenced me to become an effective leader in many ways. First of all is that, gender is socially constructed and both men and women actually perform the same function, have almost the same characteristics, except biological differences that has no meaning when it comes to roles that need to be performed by both sex in the society. I knew this before but it was not well presented to me the way it is presented here at Coady. Thus, this influenced me in such a way that, we both women and men are the same and therefore we all need the same treatment. As a leader, I have to and definitely I will treat both men and women equally in executing my daily leadership roles either in my work place or within the entire community.
Furthermore, for the first half of the foundation course, I have learned new knowledge; skills and attitudes that help shape my behaviour and my working environment as well. Things such as self assessment (self understanding), communication skills, being assertive leader with passion and compassion, listen effectively and not make judgement of the speaker based on his/her background, giving positive feedback and the decision making process just to mention a few, are among the fundamental things I acquired and will shape my leadership carrier towards achieving my intended goals.
Again, the major learnings from the course have many application in my leadership carrier, but most importantly is on how to interact with people, how to handle my behaviour, beliefs, values and attitudes in approaching others and on the other hand, how to handle the values, attitudes and beliefs of the other persons that I will come across with in my work place and at community at large. Furthermore, communication skills and decision making process as well as conflict management techniques will shape my leadership carrier in a positive manner.
Conclusively, once in 1939, Dr. Rev Moses Coady wrote, “Masters of their own destinies, they use what they have to secure what they have not”. I believe in the notion that, “development from the people for the people”, no way out under developed countries could get out of extreme poverty, hunger and diseases if the saying above is not taken into consideration. As a leader I had such believe and it is more now cemented by the words from Dr. Mosses Coady as mentioned above. The poor will once get their economic, political and social independence only if they will be enabled to exploit the scarce resources they have and use those resources effectively and efficiently to bring about their own development. As a leader specified in community development field, I have a role to play, to make communities understand this concept and that, they are responsible for their own development and they have to start with what they have to secure what they have not.