One of the starting points of the PULSE adventure was the 3 Days Orientation Training in London (2014, 30th April to 1st May). The training was based on very interactive sessions firstly oriented on how to identify and diagnose key problems to get a better understanding of the situation and on how to solve problems by using different tools and ways of working.
My first key learning from this training was ‘Taking the time to observe before to act’ that is quite difficult and challenging when working in an environment so focused on deliverables and rapidity of actions! The challenge for me is ‘being a good observer to be a better actor’ which means ‘to learn to use my left brain rather than my right brain’!
And my second learning was ‘to see and observe difference of cultures without judgment’
Other sessions and key learning were on ….
Dealing with change
My learning from this session is that one of the best way to deal with changes, especially when you are at the bottom of the curve (!!!), is to stay focused on final objectives rather than on difficulties and also to make the distinction between things that you can influence from those you cannot ! This will preserve you from loosing energy and time and to stay focused on the essential.
To think about development
The training was also useful to think about what economic development is, to have a better understanding of stakeholders of economic development and their interactions. Some of the discussions were about trying to define poverty (Is social poverty worst than material poverty and conversely ? …) and paradox about development (e.g. access to technologies while having no access to basic commodities ….).
To face with cultural differences
We were invited to think about the concept of culture and learning how to deal with differences of culture by developping a flexible mindset. I have now a better understanding of what ‘flexible’ really means that is not only to be able to live in another place but also to be able to adapt our mindset to changing environment meaning being able to change our initial plan and objectives without feeling frustrated.
The training was a good opportunity to learn and share from other PULSE Volunteers’ own experiences and to think about our engagement in the PULSE program.
All these sessions were useful to realise that our contribution will not be necessarily to bring something new but simply to find solutions among what already exists and just to try to improve it!
Such engagement requires being modest and realistic about our ambitions. Finally, the main challenge is having a contribution that makes sense for our NGO partners so that our actions being implemented in a sustainable manner.
Whatever the outcomes of my assignment, it will be interesting to see how these key learning will be concretely applied during my assignments …. Let’s see the conclusions in 6 months!
Other GSK PULSE Volunteers (Home and international assignments) and part of the PULSE team.
Dinner with some of GSK PULSE Volunteers in London (best burger that I have ever eaten :-))
Laure Benjamin, PULSE 2014, Volunteer at UNICEF, Democratic Republic of Congo