Establishing action learning communities in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

World Vision Pacific Development Group (WV PDG) & GULL | May, 2011


Community-based learning in Bougainville

The purpose of the visit was to provide a GULL refresher training session in support of WV PDG’s four year education project in the autonomous region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. The project is part of a program design targeting ten communities in North and Central Bougainville.

The education project is seeking to improve the literacy, numeracy and essential life skills for vulnerable children in the 6-18 year age range and utilizes community-based learning spaces to facilitate regular learning and reflection with the support of local community teachers.

(Right) The stunning views from Buka, Bougainville.




The WV PDG-GULL workshop
Monday 9 May – Thursday 12 May, Buka

The GULL training for WV staff and volunteers was facilitated by Richard Teare with the support of staff from the WV PDG Port Moresby office and Boniface Wadari, Area Manager for Bougainville. 18 local WV staff members were joined for the four day workshop by volunteers from all the participating communities.

The forty-strong group worked closely together to develop an action plan that will enable all the communities to embed the GULL action learning system in WV’s technical training and wider community work. The significance of the event was enhanced by the presence of Curt von Boguslawski, National Director , WV PDG and Trihandi Saptoadi, Regional Director, WV South Asia & Pacific region. The entire team felt greatly encouraged by their support. Thank you Curt and Trihandi for being with us. (Left) The WV and GULL lead team, Bougainville.




Shaping a personal plan for learning
Monday 9 May – Thursday 12 May, Buka

The GULL action learning process starts with each participant’s own learning needs and to secure individual engagement, every team member worked on their own plan for learning by drafting a personal learning statement. The aim here is to assist new action learners to set personal objectives and to frame a wider vision for utilizing unique gifts and talents – the ‘Genius of God’ within each of us.

Interactive discussions focused on both personal and professional development aspirations and the many possibilities for ‘cascading’ the technical skills developed during WV training.

(Above right) Workshop team members discuss and present their ideas for internalizing the GULL action learning system in their communities.




Towards a learning community ...

The GULL action learning system serves as an enabling framework for change and a key theme of the workshop was to explore how WV’s technical training in water, sanitation and hygiene, HIV/AIDS prevention and community-based education can be linked to recognition and professional certification. The possibilities here are wide- ranging because training can be used to trigger action learning (e.g. practice, reflection, review, improvement) , personal ownership and cascading of technical, professional and lifelong learning skills throughout the community. This makes it possible to facilitate the development of a vibrant learning community in places where there are no educational options for adults. This was the workshop lift-off point!




A transition from training to lifelong learning
Equipping and supporting entire communities for self-reliance

Prior to GULL action learning, training was delivered. Now, for the first time, the value of training can be maximized by incentivizing trainees to apply the training and demonstrate the related learning outcomes. In so doing, volunteers are equipped to broaden the impact in their own community as they ‘cascade’ their newly acquired skills by training others and, via the dual focus on personal learning needs, do this with enhanced self-confidence and professionalism. This is made possible by embedding a practical , customizable self-directed action learning process in the community with step by step recognition and professional certification.

An example: The WV water and sanitation (WASH) team train volunteers to construct a Ventilated Improved Pip (VIP) toilet. In addition to training, the WASH team led by Gail Pigolo will now, for their own professional Bachelor degree work, develop outcomes criteria that will enable WV staff and newly trained volunteers alike to verify the skills transfer and focus on any corrective action required (via additional training and support) so as to enable volunteers to train others. The conceptual framework for getting started, progression and cascading follows (please see: pages 7-9 inclusive).




Getting started
Outcomes planning: Monday 9 May – Thursday 12 May, Buka












GULL’s work in Bougainville
Implementation: Tue 17 May 2011 – Target 1,000 participants within 24 months

Perhaps for the first time ever – any where – we invited the WV volunteers to respond to this radical agenda for change and transformation and on the final day – Thursday 12 May. They responded with a resounding ‘YES! – we will implement’. GULL starts in all the participating communities in Bougainville on Tuesday 17 May 2011.

WV PDG are global pioneers in framing the process for facilitating the creation of self-reliant learning communities that WILL change our world for the better. Members of the WV PDG team will share these experiences at the WV conference, Nairobi, 31 May – 2 June 2011. Thank you World Vision for taking a global lead in this endeavour.

(Above) The WV staff team, Bougainville. (Right) Their charismatic leader, Boniface Wadari.


GULL is a not-for-profit foundation registered in California, USA. GULL is recognized by the Government of Papua New Guinea & endorsed by other Governments, Leaders & Institutions.

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