End of Year Highlights 2016

Featuring news (in sequence) from Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka
Colombo – World Vision Lanka (WVL) – Friday 1 July

‘Learning for Transformation’ (LfT) is a well-regarded community-based development programme and consists of five modules (Development thinking; Personal development; Facilitation skills; Conscientization (Creating awareness) and Mobilizing small groups). LfT also incorporates GULL’s narrative format for personal reflection and action learning based change.

WVL began their LfT-GULL journey at the end of 2012 and following a midpoint recognition event on 15 November 2013, more than 200 WVL staff completed the process on 1 July 2016 – most of whom received GULL’s Bachelor of Professional Studies award.


(Above left) WVL community volunteers

(Above right) WVL community staff were recognized for their contribution to sustainable change. Chief Guest at the event, Dr Rosy Senanayake, Deputy Chief of Staff, Prime Minister’s Office, offered her congratulations and urged the group to continue.




Khentiy province, World Vision Mongolia (WVM) – 8 September

Following the ‘Learning for Transformation’ (LfT) application in Sri Lanka, World Vision Mongolia (WVM) began with LfT-GULL in late 2014 and by mid-2016, 225 staff had successfully completed modules 1-4. The objective was to use GULL’s narrative format (integrated with LfT) to monitor their own personal change and effectiveness in using the array of powerful LfT community development tools.

To recognize the advances made, professional Bachelor pathway level 2 (Certificate) awards were made in three locations on Thursday 8, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 September. Many creative ways of documenting change were presented at these three events. For example, one group used the book (Left) to write about the changes in their personal life, their attitudes and in the quality of their ministry to children. A striking feature is that every success story is uniquely different.


(Above right) The WVM Eastern cluster of staff are pictured with their GULL certificates.




Darkhan city, WVM – Friday 9 September

All participants testified to the transformational impact of action learning and most used a storyboard format to depict differences ‘before’ and ‘after’ LfT-GULL. Some participants observed that ‘Learning is not learning until it is applied’ and one said she is now calmer, stronger and able to help others with personal change. Her storyboard also incorporated a personal vision: A desire to empower WVM partners via LfT. She went on to say that she was looking forward to current and future GULL certification as together with colleagues, they facilitate transformational change at the community level.


(Above) The WVM Northern cluster of staff are pictured with their GULL certificates.




Ulaanbaatar city, WVM – Saturday 10 September

One WVM team highlighted the value added components of LfT-GULL as illustrated by their ‘train’ storyboard. The train represents their vision for action – the engine that drives them (and motivates them) to keep going is GULL. Next is the personal development carriage - we must change ourselves if we are to work more effectively together and for each other. At the rear of the train is ‘listening and coaching’ – important outcomes reflected by improved skills.

Outstanding outcomes – nationwide - validate the LfT-GULL process and GULL would like to acknowledge the leadership provided by Nigel Goddard (author of LfT), J S J Sujeevandas, Dorana Javier, Myagmarsuren Chimedtseren, WVM Cluster Leaders, ADP Managers and the 225 participants.


(Above right) Ulaanbaatar city, Urban Cluster and Transition ADPs are pictured with their GULL certificates.




Brisbane, Griffith University, Tuesday 13 September

Dr Judith Kearney’s pioneering work with Pacific Island communities in the suburbs of Brisbane and in documenting GULL’s work – most recently in the book: Designing Inclusive Pathways with Young Adults (Kearney, Wood & Teare) prompted a meeting with Judith, the Griffith University Grants Advisor, Richard Teare and Lesley Wood on 13 September.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a proposal for research funding to evaluate advances in community-led quantification of the social return on investment in GULL applications. The advances are facilitated by large non-governmental agencies and by universities in South Africa who are piloting GULL as a parallel, non-academic system for engaging with low income communities.

(Left) An enjoyable evening with longstanding colleague John Wicks who for many years, facilitated action learning on the Pacific Island of Vanuatu.




Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby, Thursday 15 September

In 2008, GULL began working closely with the Entrepreneurial Development Training Centre (EDTC), Papua New Guinea, Founded by Samuel Tam (often known as ‘Papa Sam’). For the past 20 years, Sam and his team have helped thousands of Papua New Guineans to develop ‘Personal Viability’ (PV) by helping them to change their thinking and develop effective approaches to ‘adding value’ to community-level micro enterprise. Papa Sam’s innovative approach has been adopted elsewhere too and the affiliation with GULL led to an extended form of PV based on seven incremental levels (aligned with micro to large enterprise ownership) each linked to exacting performance criteria and professional certification.


(Above left) Members of the EDTC team prepare for the 20th anniversary event on Friday 16 September.

(Above right) Biango Buia pictured with Richard Teare. Biango is an advocate of the PV process and he is conducting an independent study related to advancing personal and organizational viability in a relatively remote area of the country.




Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby, Friday 16 September

The 20th anniversary of Personal Viability (PV) took place at the Rev Sione Kami Memorial Church (also PV’s birthplace) in Port Moresby on 16th September. Some 500 guests attended the celebration including past and present PV students, 65 PVGULL award recipients, church and industry leaders and media representatives. To reflect progress made and a contemporary re-shaping of the PV-GULL pathway, the event also hosted the Human Development Institute (HDI) launch with a new motto: ‘Creating opportunities for everyone, everywhere to Be Viable’. HDI’s objective is to enable people from all walks of life to better manage their lives and careers in PNG but also internationally.


(Above left) Samuel Tam (centre) with his family (left to right) Alexis, Sammy, Sam’s wife Dawn and Damien present the new HDI brand.

(Above right) Appreciation for key sponsors and supporters of the Papa Sam Foundation.




Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby, 16 & 17 September

Personal Viability was launched on 16th September 1996 and later became known as the PV Business Scheme (PVBS) – an innovative, inclusive, performance-based action learning process leading to GULL professional certificates, diplomas and degrees. PVBS enables people from economically poor communities to achieve selfreliance and financial independence. The Human Development Institute (HDI) builds on this foundation and additionally provides expertise in the life skill of ‘thinking’ to organizations and their employees. Among other significant initiatives, HDI is working with the land-owners in the Lihir Islands to help them to develop sustainable, post-mining industries.


(Above left) PV20 anniversary al fresco luncheon for 500 guests.

(Above right) Representatives of the Lihir Island landowners at a meeting with Samuel Tam, Richard Teare and Rev. Sir Samson Lowa at the HDI office, Saturday 17 September.




South Africa
North West University (Potchefstroom campus) 3 October

There are 26 universities in South Africa and they are legally required to work with low income communities. Dr Lesley Wood, Research Professor, North West University (NWU) (pictured below, right) is GULL’s honorary leader for South Africa and is facilitating GULL pilots at several South African universities. Our aim is to model the effective use of GULL’s system for community-led development.

As the GULL system is designed for this purpose and does not compete with academic programmes, it can be customized to meet specific needs without affecting its recognized status. Further, as a non-profit initiative it can be operationalized at low cost.


(Above left) Lesley Wood (centre) and Bibi Bouwman, Director, Sustainability & Community Impact, NWU with community leaders at a meeting in Stilfontein.

(Above right) Lesley explains GULL’s concept and approach at a workshop.




South Africa
University of the Free State (Bloemfontein) 5 October

An early success in piloting GULL has occurred at the University of the Free State (UFS) under the leadership of Karen Venter, Head of Service Learning with the support of Bishop Ramahlele, Director of Community Engagement, UFS. On Wednesday 5 October, Karen organized a workshop for UFS and Central University of Technology (CUT) staff involved in aspects of community engagement.

Lesley Wood, Richard Teare and Karen Venter facilitated the workshop which included inputs from a UFS partner, Bloem Shelter (a shelter for homeless women) who hosted the GULL pilot. As an outcome of the GULL pathway (holistic development), shelter residents have been able to overcome many difficulties.


(Above left) UFS and CUT staff at the one day GULL workshop.

(Above right) Participants heard about progress at Bloem Shelter (personal change and micro enterprise development) and explored other possible applications related to on-going projects.




South Africa
University of the Free State, Community event, 6 October

The office of Community Engagement held its annual University of the Free State (UFS) Community Award Ceremony on 6 October and Richard Teare (for GULL) was the keynote speaker. Commenting on the GULL pilot, UFS News reported:

Through its partnership with GULL, UFS has worked with women from Bloem Shelter, an organization that provides assistance to underprivileged women and children from diverse walks of life. The women were equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge they needed to become self-sufficient – an experience that has yielded positive, constructive change in the woman's lives.

Bloem Shelter now has a development pathway to enable residents to move from dependent to independent living via micro enterprise.


(Above) Residents of Bloem Shelter receive their GULL professional Bachelor level 2 Certificate in recognition of the outcomes to-date. (Right) Residents are now generating income for themselves and the Shelter.




South Africa
Sapphire Road Primary School, Port Elizabeth, 7 October

On 8 November, 2015 the first GULL group of 14 school staff and community volunteers completed the initial stage of a process designed to enable some of the 47 people (aged 19-30) volunteering at the school to enhance their employability. The longer-term aim was to cascade lifelong action learning to the wider community where levels of unemployment are high. Building on these foundations, ‘Luniko’ sought to develop resources that school volunteers could use to engage with the community and in particular, to help improve parental learning support for school children.

Congratulations to Sapphire Road Primary School for developing its concept of a community-led learning hub based on GULL. We hope that in the coming year, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth will help the School to broaden the initiative.




Msalato Theological College, Dodoma, 12 November

The Church and Community Mobilization Process (CCMP) is long-established in Tanzania and the graduation on Saturday 12 November was the third since its integration with GULL in 2008. It was first CCMP-GULL graduation in a Theological College – the process has been piloted as a separate course for experienced church pastors. To recognize completion of the early stages of CCMP, 28 church pastors (including the Principal of the Theology College) received GULL professional Bachelor level 2 Certificate and Level 3 awards from The General Secretary CCT, Revd Dr Leonard Mtaita, Prof Emmanuel Mbennah, Vice Chancellor, St John’s University of Tanzania and Richard Teare.


(Above left) Graduands prepare to receive their awards at an event organized by Uswege Martin for CCT and Tearfund.

(Above right) Distinguished guests included Bishop John Lupaa, Anglican Church of Tanzania and Justin Nyamoga, Tearfund Country Representative, Tanzania.




Kigali, Monday 14 November

World Vision Rwanda (WVR) have been using the GULL system since 2014 and the lead group have demonstrated the benefits of converting community-based training to self-directed action learning pathways, led by their community volunteers. The WVR lead group met on 14 November for a day-long meeting and concluded that they would like to create a national framework to extend GULL’s work in Rwanda.

Our meeting at the Solace Ministries Guest House included a lunchtime break to celebrate the completion of Claudette Uwimana’s practitioner doctorate. Claudette is the Executive Director of Moucecore and her project examined the role of non-governmental organizations in developing poor communities.


(Above left to right) Denis, Aimable, Richard, Claudette, George and Monica celebrate the role of lifelong learning in the creation of sustainable community development.




Bujumbura, Tuesday 15 November

At the beginning of a three-day visit, World Vision Burundi (WVB) hosted a briefing session, review and celebration event for national office-based staff receiving GULL awards. A highlight was the practitioner doctorate work undertaken by Kireri John Rich, Finance and Support Services Director, WVB. He opted to work on three projects: ‘Zero fraud’; more effective use of technology and leadership development.

Among other statistics, John Rich highlighted an increase in WVB’s income due to increased donor confidence in ‘zero fraud’ outcomes and significant cost reductions due to the more effective management of assets and resources. These outcomes contributed to regional World Vision departmental performance awards.


(Above) Kireri John Rich and members of his team. He comments: The GULL journey seemed mission too complex to achieve but by the end, I realized it has been very enriching for me, my colleagues and the organization as a whole.




Field visits to Rutegama and Karusi area programs, 16 November

Our first of four field visits was to Kirehe Primary School to see the work of WVB hygiene clubs. The school has 1060 children and WVB is building awareness of good hygiene and sanitation practice by facilitating the creation of clubs led by children who use their own songs, role plays and practical skills to help their parents to better understand how to reduce the risks of illness and disease from these sources.

We also visited: A farming group to hear about the impact of improved variety crops and a women’s micro-finance group; A half-day crèche established to care for children so that parents can farm without the worry of child care and a bio-fortified bean cooperative that is facilitating greater income for its members.


(Above left) Members of a school-based club perform their own songs about aspects of effective hygiene and sanitation.

(Above right) Small children from Christian and Muslim families learn and have fun together at a crèche operated by WVB community volunteers.




WVB-GULL graduation for community volunteers, 17 November

Following the inaugural graduation in November 2014, WVB has made significant advances in its deployment of the GULL system. GULL is now fully aligned with WV’s programming process - Learning through Evaluation and Accountability Planning (LEAP) and is considered to be a cost effective way of facilitating learning and critical reflection for staff and WVB’s many volunteers.

More than 260 people received GULL awards at the event held in Gitaramuka – including 247 community volunteers. On behalf of WVB, Patricia Mulwa said: We are committed to this approach and we are encouraging participants to begin this journey because it yields a return on investment and promotes lifelong learning.


(Above left) Some of the WVB staff and community volunteers with their certificates.

(Above right) Grateful thanks to Hermenegilde Nsabimana and Patricia Mulwa, WVB’s GULL champions for organizing a memorable series of field visits and the graduation event.




Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Foundation, Colombo, 28 November

The South Asian Academy for Good Governance (SAAGG) affiliated with GULL in January 2010 and the outcomes of participants are reported every year at a national symposium on good governance. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Shining Stars’ and this reflects the nature of the contribution made by GULL participants who are additionally required to create employment opportunities for others.

The event is supported by an annual yearbook and in his introduction, Dr Chandra Bandara, Executive Director, SAAGG, confirms that this year’s graduates have created 194 new jobs as a result of their action learning studies. The yearbook also contains messages of support from civic, political and spiritual leaders.


(Above left) Some of the ‘Shining Stars’ at the 2016 graduation.

(Above right) Multi-faith prayers are said to open the event. Chief Guest was Dr Keeragala, Ministry of National Policies & Economic Affairs. Award recipients included the Sri Lankan State Minister of Labour & Trade Union Relations.


GULL is a non-profit public benefit corporation registered in California, USA. GULL’s mandate to confer professional awards is based on a statement of recognition offered in perpetuity and signed by the Head of State and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea on 10 April 2007. GULL is also endorsed by other Governments, Leaders and Institutions.

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