We engaged in the topic of ‘Systems Change’:

A system is a group of related things that works together as a whole. These can be real or imaginary, an example of a system would be a car engine and these systems also have subsystems within them. There are also virtual systems, an example is a programming system, these are not tangible. A lot of the time these systems have influences, could be a cultural influence, which is also a system with subsystems in it and could range from the person to the family – family to community – community to districts and that’s how communities work and in essence the influences become complex too.

As an organization RLabs had to pivot from in person engagement with the community having run workshops and sessions in physical space to conducting those programmes virtually via WhatsApp and Zoom. 

We proceeded to do a design thinking activity, posing key questions to further unpack the challenges, brainstorm many ideas and action steps we can move forward with.

Here are some insights from Reverend John Nkum, a trainer and consultant who has worked with social change organizations at all levels in Africa for more than 25 years and who has joined the session:

“There’s a frame in which you create an environment of hope, an environment of a sense of worth and belonging… I recognise that no matter the age you come into contact with RLabs and your humanness is valued and you are given hope that you can do something. And this something you can do is then the second part of the frame. The first frame that holds the system is an environment where there is no judgement, your different perspectives are valued, your humanness is important and that you have possibilities irrespective of where you are.This creative environment holds people together and gives them a direction… The second frame which is giving alternative pathways to meeting people’s needs, it doesn’t have to be the formal education or the formal skills training but an alternative pathway where people’s needs are met, in terms of ability to get skills and to be networked to people doing something similar for a deepening of the skills they have acquired in an ecosystem including the community… I think RLabs strength lies in connecting the people who come in contact with skills acquisition irrespective of the skill, to be connected to the community in an ecosystem where this new learning is relevant for their living reality, the community in which they come from…”

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