Learning about change

in Christian organisations

Kalpana Basnet one of our newest members who works as an OD consultant with United Mission to Nepal, resopnds to the March letter on Women and OD.

"Interaction and reflection are the key processes in organizational development for bringing changes in behavior and actions of personnel within an organization. Women enjoy the process of sharing and learning from each other that creates a positive and creative atmosphere. Male consultants rarely create such an environment but rather present their own ideas without engaging in a capacity building process.

Women generally have a high level of integrity which is the key principle for organizational development.

Women can encourage other women to create an environment for women to work together. As a female consultant in OD, I have been encouraging male led NGOs and Cooperatives to provide opportunities for appointing women into leadership positions. As a result, in my working area there are 50% women in leadership positions at local level NGOs.

When I visit these organizations I make sure that if the Chairperson is a man that he involves women in the discussion. Such efforts enables women to learn and grow.

One organization led by a woman was receiving coaching from a male OD facilitator but she did not make much progress during the three year period. She felt the failure of the projects were due to not having a female consultant with whom she could share ideas openly. She began to lose interest and confidence in planning for her organization. When the male facilitator moved from there I took responsibility for this organization. They welcomed me and shared their feelings, problems and ideas openly with me. They made their annual organizational plan for the first time as I facilitated this process. The organization has now made significant progress for their communities. She is developing a five year strategic/business plan to expand the service of her organization and better serve marginalized women.

On one occasion I and a male OD consultant were facilitating an NGO leadership training workshop. One of the female participants who attended the training for the first time in her life was not able to introduce herself due to her fear of speaking in front of men. He tried a lot to encourage her to introduce herself but it was not possible. I understood her problem and took her out of the class and she shared with me her feelings of fear of men. I took over leading the session and was able to help the participant to gain confidence.

 

 

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Reply from Sue Davén, previous OD Adviser with UMN and now a free lance OD consultant based in Sweden.

In our OD team with UMN, Kalpana is the only women among 9 men! When I came onto the team two years ago, we enjoyed sharing our experiences and learning from each other. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be the only woman in a team and facilitating an OD process in an organization who has male leadership. Fortunately there are a number of women cluster team leaders within UMN giving opportunities for women to give support to each other. As OD is such a key area for all organizations, women need to be equipped and trained to take on OD positions.

 

 

Reading Kalpana's article I do agree with her observations. More or so when people talk of intergrity, I would seem that most clients would prefer women to men. Recalling my days when I was at one International NGO, I know that we engaged several consultants to assist us do a SAFE assessment for several clients. Once the consultants produced their reports the return rate (or the reports that were rejected from male consultants) was about 90% while those from female consultants was negligible. However, I would be cautious to use the sweeping statement that female consultants have an edge in terms of quality delivery. I think quality delivery of interventions lies in the eyes of the beholder. I recall at CABUNGO that some Faith Based Clients that we had required that only a male consultant can interview their senior staff. At first I thought these organisations maybe had an archaic culture, but later on I found that some of them had very bad exprience with female consultants. In the words of one director he said, " That woman was a cheat!" All in all it depends on which side of the coin you are looking at!
Reading Kalpana's article I do agree with her observations. More or so when people talk of intergrity, I would seem that most clients would prefer women to men. Recalling my days when I was at one International NGO, I know that we engaged several consultants to assist us do a SAFE assessment for several clients. Once the consultants produced their reports the return rate (or the reports that were rejected from male consultants) was about 90% while those from female consultants was negligible. However, I would be cautious to use the sweeping statement that female consultants have an edge in terms of quality delivery. I think quality delivery of interventions lies in the eyes of the beholder. I recall at CABUNGO that some Faith Based Clients that we had required that only a male consultant can interview their senior staff. At first I thought these organisations maybe had an archaic culture, but later on I found that some of them had very bad exprience with female consultants. In the words of one director he said, " That woman was a cheat!" All in all it depends on which side of the coin you are looking at!

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