It was great to be invited to work with Poverty Alliance in Glasgow earlier this month – they are a network of organisations and individuals in Scotland working together to end poverty.
We previously worked on an unusual application of action learning as part of an exciting project for Poverty Alliance, Oxfam and CPAG, called menu for change – looking at poverty as revealed through food insecurity in Scotland. That work was written up in an article in AL Research and Practice and is available to download here.
Poverty Alliance is planning to use action learning for two new projects – Rights in Action and Serving the Future and I was privileged to train 8 new action learning facilitators. This is a collaboration with Strathclyde University and is being carefully evaluated so again will be an interesting application of action learning for social change.
I loved working with researchers and community development workers who were so open to learning and could see the value of action learning within their work. It was especially heartening to be back in the room with people, working face to face. They were all just returning to working in a physical office again after 2 years and as many of them were new, the programme proved to be a valuable team building space.
Rights in Action is a human rights approach to addressing poverty; people with experience of poverty will be supported to use their rights and be heard by decision makers. There will be three workstreams – workshops, action learning and participatory research. The Scottish government is currently legislating on human rights so bringing this lens to anti-poverty work will be topical and potentially create strong levers for change.
Serving the Future is an ambitious project to support employers to identify changes that will enable them to or prevent their staff from moving into poverty. There will be a combination of action learning sets, longitudinal research and influencing and advocacy work to support transitional change.
Here is what some of the participants said about the programme:
The structure of the programme was well organised and seamless. There was a good mixture of talking by Ruth, written reflective exercises, practical activities and group discussions, as well as plenty of time to ask questions.
Ruth was an excellent trainer: clear, perceptive and very knowledgeable. She gave lots of interesting examples of the use of ALS in practice which was very useful for my learning. Her individual feedback on facilitation practice was constructive and supportive.
This course not only takes you through how to prepare for and run a ALS process, it also is a great opportunity for self-learning and development.
Dr Laura Robertson – Senior Research Officer, Poverty Alliance
I would really recommend this course. I came away telling people that it was one of the best training courses that I have been on, as it taught me a lot both personally and professionally. I would say that it provided me with a unique way of conducting research and problem solving, as working as a researcher, I find it easy to think that I have to play a huge part in dominating and steering research questions. This training taught me the importance of asking questions, silence and allowing space for people to explore their own thoughts.