This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
19 Apr, 2017

The Self Care Corner: Create Your Introvert & Extrovert Self Care Plan

By | 2017-04-19T13:35:30+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Categories: Self Care Corner|Tags: , , |0 Comments

In February 2017, I was the inaugural speaker for the Uncorked Conversations Series teleconference with Whine & Cheese . We discussed all things self care. After the conversation was over, I was asked a question by a participant:

I describe myself as an extroverted introvert. How do I balance my desire to be alone/practice self care without slipping into a long stretch of withdrawal?

As an introvert, I love my solitude but I’ve also noticed that I’m ok with a dose of extroversion added in my self care.
One way to balance your introversion with your extroversion is to identify self care activities that 1) meet the needs of one of those sides and 2) could meet the needs of both.

Here’s what you need

  • Something to write on
  • A pen or marker (or two different colors to add more color to your plan)

Create your diagram 

Think of a Venn diagram, where two circles overlap in the middle. Like this:

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12 Apr, 2017

Try This: The Knowledge-Power Chart

By | 2017-04-12T14:56:57+00:00 April 12th, 2017|Categories: Workshop Design & Facilitation|Tags: , |0 Comments

This past weekend, I presented two workshops at the Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP) conference, an annual Reproductive Justice conference held on the campus of Hampshire College. Outside of presenting my workshops, reconnecting with friends, and networking, I didn’t have much time for anything else. But I was able to attend one workshop, facilitated by Sahar Pirzada and Sadia Arshad of HEART Women & Girls, a national organization that promotes sexual health and sexual violence awareness in Muslim communities through health education, advocacy, research and training.

In “Muslim and Reproductive Justice: Empowering Our Community through Dismantling Stereotypes”, Sahar and Sadia used the RJ framework to make the connection between how stereotypes influence the lived experiences of Muslims. One exercise they led the group through, called the Knowledge Power Chart, was so informative that I couldn’t wait to share it. The goal of this exercise is the have participants examine how we understand the world, how our understanding of the world impacts our behaviors and the policies we create, and the real world impact these policies can have on our communities.

Here’s what you need:

  • A large space to write on, such as a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart paper
  • Something to write with, such as chalk or markers (erasable, if you’re using a whiteboard)

The steps:

Divide up your writing space into three sections and label them like this:

Under the Knowledge column, guide the participants in naming the stereotypes they have heard about a certain group. Next, have participants name the policies they are aware of that are associated with this group under the Policies column. Last, have participants list the consequences that behaviors listed under the Policies column can impact that group.

Here’s an example:

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8 Mar, 2017

Try This: Ask Better Questions

By | 2017-04-12T11:39:00+00:00 March 8th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Starting today, we’re going to ask better questions. Questions that allow you to dig deeper to unearth richer experiences. This is crucial in gaining a better understanding of why someone keeps (or stops) coming back to your programs, products or services.

When I say “dig deeper”, what I’m getting at is being strategic in how we ask questions. There’s a difference between asking questions that allow you to truly hear what someone is saying, and asking questions because you’re searching for certain types of responses.

Digging deeper, goes beyond “I love it!” or “I wouldn’t change a thing”.  People are coming back to you for a reason, and these reasons can help you enhance what you’re offering, and can also inspire you to come up with creative and engaging solutions to address other needs that you’re currently not addressing.

Tips and examples 

Good questions are:

  • Unbiased
  • Empowering
  • Provide a safe space for the person to feel comfortable responding to
  • Stretch the person who is responding 

I’ve highlighted the last point for a reason. Here’s an example:

Back in 2015, I facilitated a few focus groups for a client, a nonprofit that provides social justice oriented feminist leadership for young women of color. The focus groups were for the organization’s 6-week summer leadership program for young women of color in the New York City area. The organization wanted to know, among  other things, how effective the program had been that summer.

Okay, sounds easy. I did a few site visits during the 5th week of the program to facilitate the focus groups. I had my questions ready based on the evaluation questions the organization sought out to explore. During the first focus group, I asked “Looking back on everything you’ve learned during the past 5 weeks, can you share something that you would change?” Some of the responses I got looked similar to “I loved everything!” or “I wouldn’t change a thing” or “Everything was good”.

Initially, I chalked it up to the participants being teenagers. Then I realized they were responding this way because of HOW I asked the question.

So, I tried a different approach for the second and third focus groups:

Looking back on everything you’ve learned during this program, if you could rebuild this program from the ground up, based on your own needs and interests, what would it look like? 

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8 Feb, 2017

Try This: Roll The Dice

By | 2017-02-08T04:03:36+00:00 February 8th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Last month I shared The World Cafe  as an activity you can use to engage participants outside of traditional means of collecting data. Today, let’s look at one activity you can use to guide participants in making sense of it all and drawing their own conclusions.

“Rolling the dice” usually means “let’s see what happens”. For this activity, it takes on a whole new meaning.

(Though technically, “making sense of it all and drawing your own conclusions” could also mean “seeing what happens”, but humor me for a bit.)

Here’s what you need

  • Two boxes that are roughly the same size
  • 12 sheets of paper
  • A marker
  • Tape
  • Tape recorder

Ways to use this activity 

I’ve used this activity in two ways: facilitating focus groups and data interpretation meetings.

Focus groups are generally used to gather feedback, and I’ve been asked to facilitate them as part of a program’s evaluation. In this context, each side of the die represents an evaluation question posed to the focus group.

In the context of a data interpretation meeting (also known as a “data party”), each side of the die either illustrates a piece of quantitive data (such as percentages from a survey or a report connected to the evaluation) or a piece of qualitative data (such as themes identified and coded from transcribing responses from a focus group). In simplest terms, coding identifies themes occurring across focus groups, informant interviews, observation notes, etc. With coding you can identify overarching themes as well as themes specific to the group or people in question, and this can be illustrated as a quote, percentage, etc.

Let’s create our dice

  • Take one sheet of paper
  • For a focus group: Write out an evaluation question you want to pose to the group
  • For a data party: Write out a theme you coded
  • tape the sheet of paper to one side of a die
  • Repeat for each side until all sides are covered

And that’s it.

Now, let’s see this in action

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12 Jan, 2017

Try This: The World Cafe

By | 2017-02-07T23:31:51+00:00 January 12th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of a focus group?

Mostly likely a small group of people–typically between 8-12 in size–gathered around a table, responding to a facilitator’s questions while being recorded. There may be some snacks involved.

Focus groups are a qualitative data activity used to gather feedback on a product, program or service from a group of people who have some type of commonality, such as age, race, gender, work experience, etc. The information they share can help the organizations or businesses gain a better understanding of why something is working, why it’s not working, and how that something impacts their lived experience.

If you’ve ever facilitated a focus group, you might know how boring they can be. And if you’ve been in a focus group, you definitely know how boring they can be.  But what I’ve noticed is this: Focus groups are not boring, technically. It’s how they are structured that makes them boring. There are more engaging ways to conduct a focus group. One of those methods is the World Cafe.

First, some background

From The World Café: Living Knowledge through Conversations that Matter, the World Cafe is a methodology that invites large group dialogue. While in a basic focus group, participants are asked a question and discuss it openly, the World Cafe takes it a step further by allowing for a larger group of participants to be in the space. While they are discussing the question amongst themselves, the conversation flows more freely because it’s a conversation amongst the group rather than the group responding directly to the facilitator. Also, the group is helping the facilitator collect data in a more dynamic, participatory way.

Based on recommended World Cafe design principles, the focus of the World Cafe:

  • Set the context– What is the purpose for bringing people into the space, and what do you (and the group) want to achieve?
  • Create hospitable space– Pay attention to how the space is set up. Is it comfortable and inviting? If accessibility is a need, does the space function so that those with certain needs are comfortable in the space?
  • Explore questions that matter– You can explore a single question or you can develop questions that build on each other. Either way, you’ll be able to synthesize the data to explore common themes
  • Encourage everyone’s contribution– Encourage everyone to participate in ways that work for them. While some find it easier to express themselves verbally, others may find it better to draw or simply listen
  • Connect diverse perspectives– The key to the World Cafe is sharing perspectives. When participants move about the room (more on this later), they’re  meeting new people, seeing ideas and thoughts that have been generated, and sharing new insights
  • Listen together for patterns and insights– Shared listening is the key factor in the success of a World Cafe. This is the way to look for themes. Encourage people to listen for what is not being spoken along with what is being shared
  • Share collective discoveries– Once the World Cafe is complete, invite participants to reflect on patterns, themes and questions expressed and to share them with the larger group

Here’s a video explanation of the process.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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