The Universal Language of Football

16 May 2008

The module were co-facilitated by Dulce Guterres Junior and Eduardo Casimiro de Deus from STAE and Cate Thompson and Alistair Legge from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). The module was conducted in Tetum and English. An essential member of the team was Pedro Laurentino Da Silva who provided the interpretation. Pedro so enjoyed the experience that he expressed a strong desire to participate in a TtF and become an accredited facilitator. Pedro became an unstoppable force, often running the icebreakers and energisers and assisting the Facilitators to adapt and modify the material to best suit the participants.

One of the key challenges we are facing in facilitating these new modules is in translation. The majority of the material has its origin in English it is a real challenge for not only the translator and interpreter but for the facilitators to ensure that the original intent of the material is not lost. With this module, our Australian-based translator did a great job with a difficult module, but the technical nature of the material meant that occasionally there was no equivalent in Tetum and a Portuguese word had to be substituted instead.

In a particularly difficult session on strategic planning the concepts of goal and objective were being confused as the same written word is often used for both, or the unfamiliar Portuguese word was substituted for goal. Many of the participants had only a little Portuguese, so we faced a dilemma in how to get the concept across. As ever football (soccer), the universal language of the world, came to the rescue, with participants playing a short game to illustrate the word goal. The FIFA code of conduct was also substituted for the cricket code of conduct in one of the activities and a road map and journey used to illustrate a strategic plan.

Because BRIDGE is so interactive and requires an equal commitment from facilitators, participants and interpreter this ensures every effort is made to demystify what can seem like obscure concepts and to do this as a group, as a team.

In so much of our world information and knowledge is quarantined and people gain their power and influence from this. Applying democratic principles to learning empowers people. I think for a facilitator there is nothing more rewarding than when the participants realise that this sort of stuff is hard. When they not only realise that but truly believe it, then that means we have done our job. Empowering people through knowledge is the joy of BRIDGE.

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