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Reading for Module 4

Module 4: Where are we now?
Constellation Tool: Self Assessment

1. Learning from the experience of Geoff: Listening and hearing

The Self Assessment is a tool that helps the community to talk about the issues that are important to them. It is possible to have a beautiful Self Assessment framework, but if it is not the result of a discussion by the community, then the community has not progressed. You must know how to facilitate the Self Assessment, but more importantly, you must know how to facilitate the community discussion.

Geoff Parcell is a founding member of the Constellation and in this story he describes the facilitation of a Self Assessment in Curitiba, Brazil. Here he describes what happened right at the end of the Self Assessment.

Geoff Parcell
"In time they got to the last of the10 practices which was entitled ‘Mobilising resources’. They discussed the topic in their groups and then shared their capability levels with the room. With one eye on the clock, the representative of the Health Department tried to cut the discussion short—‘Well clearly we are at level four on this practice. We have adequate funds for HIV/AIDS and ensure treatment is provided to all those who require it. After all it is a legal requirement in Brazil.’

A transgender person called Lisa leapt up from the table to disagree. Lisa was representing a minority civil society group with a real interest in the city’s response to AIDS. She proceeded to give a powerful example of why the city was only a level one currently.

The Health Department representative listened thoughtfully and they had a conversation as though they were the only ones in the room.; everybody else was silent, listening intently. They truly tried to understand each other’s perspective—there was no personal antagonism. They realised what they could do to make the response better than it currently was, and each committed to actions to move it forward. The air was cordial and all left feeling content that they had had their say, that they all had a realistic picture of the current state and also had some actions for improving the response. They were in good shape to share their strengths and know what they wanted to learn from the other Brazilian cities at a meeting they were hosting the following week."

This is the essence of a Self Assessment. Representatives from a wide cross section of the community come together. Everyone has the chance to put forward their views and everyone has the opportunity to listen to a wide range of views. The resulting dialogue can be tense, but from that tension there can arise the possibility of action based on consensus and ownership.

The story is taken from the book 'No More Consultants' by Geoff Parcell and Chris Collison published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd in 2009.

2. A brief explanation of the Self Assessment framework

In The Constellation, we use the tool called 'Self Assessment' to help us to understand our current position with regard to the challenge that we face.  

The Self Assessment framework is made up of a set of practices that will lead us to Life Competence. We have defined these practices based on our dream. For each practice we assess ourselves at a level between 1 and 5 where level 1 indicates a low level of competence and where level 5 indicates a high level of competence.

A completed Self Assessment framework will look something like this.

Idea of Self Assessment framework

There is a detailed explanation of the tool in a document called  “triad module 4 self assessment explanation.pdf” in the  ‘Additional Reading’ section of the programme. 

3. What the Constellation has learned from its experience
The Constellation has now facilitated these steps on many occasions. We have organised what we have learned from these experiences and you will find them in the file “triad module 4 what the constellation has learned about self assessment.pdf”
As you gain more practise in working with this step in the process it will be worthwhile to look at what other facilitators have learned through their experience.

4. Learning from Ning and YouTube

You can learn a lot from the experience of Constellation members through a visit to our social network site Ning. There is also a lot to be learned from Constellation members who have made a video and posted it on YouTube. In the Additional Reading section of the programme there is a file called “triad module 4 self assessment learning from ning and youtube.pdf”

We realise that some of you find it difficult to play video over the internet so for each YouTube clip we have included either a full transcript or a transcript of what we think is the highlight of the clip.

You can download the additional reading for module 4 below
'triad module 4 description of self assessment framework.pdf'
'triad module 4 what the constellation has learned about self assessment.pdf'
'triad module 4 self assessment learning from ning and youtube.pdf'