By Winfred Ngile
Learning has no age limits; it is a continuous process that can take place in the entire life of an individual. From the 13th November to the 16th November was very special four days for both GLO and SBM staffs. We had training on basic counselling skills which for the first time brought us all together in a class. The trainees composed of caregivers, SBM teachers and the other members of staff from GLO whereas the facilitators came from Amani Counselling & Training Institute led by their coordinator Mr. Philip Kaume, there were three of them, all very experience in this field. We also had the added bonus of using our state-of-the-arts IT Lab which proved to be a major asset in sharing the information.
The training went on smoothly. It was a very informative learning forum in which everybody was free to ask any question. The main aim of the training was to help all the trainees to become skilled helpers. The major topics covered were: self awareness, basic counselling skills, differentiating between guidance, counselling and advice giving, and the process of counselling. Day one and day two focused mostly on theory and group work, and the other two days we focused mostly on practical. During practice, we applied the theory learnt in class and it was the most interesting part. We all learnt the following important skills which are mandatory to know as we utilise them daily in our different lines of work: attending skills, responding skills observation skills and listening skills. Everybody left the training a different person as we also had a session of identifying our blind spots where members freely discussed each other’s weaknesses in our daily interactions at work.
It is expected of us that all the skills we learnt will be applied in our daily interactions with children and staffs especially at GLO, SBM and any other places where anybody might need our help. We concluded by doing an evaluation exercise where the participants were subdivided into three groups (caregivers, teachers and members of management) and each group had their own ways forward e.g. One way forward which was discussed by the management group was a suggestion of coming up with a specific special room for counselling either at school or at GlO.
We all agreed that doing more practice will be the best way to go and having routinely refresher courses would keep us more equipped as we perform our different roles to ensure the needs of all children are adequately met. It was vivid that at the end of the training all participants wanted to carry on so as to keep on gaining more knowledge on all relevant areas covered by our facilitators.
On behalf of all the trainees, I say a big thank you to Mama and Papa and everyone involved in financing this training to ensure it was a success.