Tanga, August 2014

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This was the 17th European AI network meeting.  Now literally moving outside the box to be held at Tanga International Competence Center, co-founded by Ruth Nesje who was also a co-founder of our European network.  We were 10 people from the European network and about 10 people from Tanzania who met to Connect, Combine and Create, together.  Their stories can be found below.  At the end you will find reports from the organizational visits/projects.

60 Words about the experience of “Being outside the box”

T 2 Kivatori Kitojo. Lushoto, Usambara
“My first time i attended the Ai meeting in Tanga TICC last week,one thing i discovered was that there are so much happening in and outside our community while they lack Ai support.
The moment to here every one views and connect was something I have received during this meeting, i learnt so much from every one during the meeting especially when we visited Nguvu Mali youth center in Tanga.
Thank you Ai European members as well as local Tanzanian members for the best and possible lessons i acquire”
T 3 Klara Lauritzenova, Prague, Czech Republic
This has been for me the best AI network meeting ever.
Truly fitting its name: Outside the box…
The unforgettable experience has made me humble and grateful; very often I was emotional just when meeting the local people, fighting for everyday survival as well as for a better future.
This trip has brought me among the the biggest concentration of people with dreams and missions: Kiva, Rafael, Ruth and others..
Thank you all wholeheartedly.
T 4 Peter Bach Lauritzen Prague, Czech Republic
I feel very good about that we made the out-of-the-box meeting happen!
One genuine AI dilemma was that all the projects we could visit appealed to me, but I managed to choose.
And it was very rewarding to meet the special members of the Nguvumali Youth Centre: People with dreams and ambitions for their club.
Thanks to everyone involved!
T 5 Helen Gibson, Salisbury, England
This was my first experience of an AI network meeting.
I was struck by the inclusiveness of the group and the genuine appreciation of what each participant would bring to the conversations.
Particularly inspiring was visiting the local dispensary where despite a very busy schedule, the staff made time to talk with us.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have been part of this unique experience.
T 6 Leif Josefsson. Södertälje, Sweden
It was a dream come true.  For many years we had been talking about having a European Network meeting at TICC, as Ruth Nesje who is the founder of TICC also was one of the network founders.
I am so satisfied with how we connected Europé with TICC, and that also our local friends Rafael ole Moono and Kivatori Kitojo could participate.
We demonstrated the Power of imagination and commitment.  We all participated as equals, listening and Learning from each other.
It was wonderful.
T 7 Rafael ole Moono. Handeni, Tanzania
It is my second encounter of this gathering of people with a mission that binds them together.
I’m meeting as I realise that AI is a mission not a notion, brought to reality by the place of venue of this meeting called TICC (Tanga International Competence Centre) with a person who is using the AI as a tool to realise her vision. Ruth Nesje a team leader is founder and leader of the centre. As a long time practitioner of AI she is generously welcoming inspiring and appreciative of people with different capabilities who are welcome to have opportunity for space and time to contribute and share the bit of innovation they have to add to the quality of the place.
We feel welcomed, appreciated and inspired to be here by our host to keep the fire of AI spread to this furthest corner of the world from where the AI notion was first born. We are excited to connect, inspired to explore farther the AI as tool for a better local community and better World.
   T 8 Catherine McGill, Tanga, Tanzania
The AI Network Meeting was a great chance to meet wonderful people from all around the world.
I appreciated the opportunity to exchange ideas and perspectives and see the different contexts in which AI can be used.
And I look forward to incorporating AI into our work with the NGO – HAMA, as well as in my own life.
Thanks to all!
T 9 Kicki Oljemark, Nacka, Sweden
What touched me the most was the inspiring meetings with people from different parts of the World, and how Ruth and her collegues invited us into a curious collaboration. The nice atmosphere between the participants in the network and friendly and inspiring collaboration gave me a lot of hope for the future.
I was very much touched by the beautiful surroundings and how Ruth and her employees had created such an inviting environment for conversations and meetings of hope. The conversational trees felt like oasis. All these resourceful people re-minded me once more about our potential.
I was happy to meet all these people that have arised from within their resources and their wonderful engagement to make a difference based on the unique dreams and Resources of each person and Group.
A huge thanks to Ruth and employees and network members who made these days remarkable and precious memories for Life
T 10 Pål Tangaard, Oslo, Norway
For me one of the main things that got even clearer to me during the meeting with these great leaders at TICC was the easy fact that the feeling of finding your own answers is so powerful.
So I got an answer to my question: Appreciative questions is just as powerful in Tanzania as in Norway…
T 11 Anca Maria Yttri, Tönsberg, Norway
First and foremost I want to thank YOU ALL, organizers and participants, for making this AI network meeting so perfect!
It have been very different this time, a truly “OUT of the BOX” experience at TICC.
The content of the meeting, the venue and our visit to the Mwahako Primary School, provided me with many new perspectives… generated a multiplicity of ideas… and …served like a storehouse of wisdom and experience. I was surrounded by a “stellar team” of people from different countries and continents and it was easy to Connect, Combine and Create together.
A huge hug from Tønsberg, Norway!
T 12 Simen Lund Johansen, Tanga, Tanzania (Peace corps exchangee)
I learned a lot at the AI Network Meeting.
For me it was all quite new as I didn’t have very much previous experience. However, those days helped me to understand better, and I’m sure it will help me to use AI more in my daily life and work.
I am thankful that I could participate!
T 13 Ingrid Kuresha Tjugum, Tanga, Tanzania (Peace corps exchangee)
The AI network was three days of inspiration, motivation and new energy to proceed with AI in my daily work at TICC; with the Norwegian students and families in the villages.
It was a great experience meeting dedicated and knowledgeable people and to collaborate with them in the group work.
Thanks to all of you!
T 14 Abdallah Pashua, Tanga, Tanzania.
It was the best moment, meeting different people from different borders and experiences, The AI method was not a new thing to me, but through this AI Network meeting I gained more knowledge regarding the method, especially when we had to think outside the box.
Actually we have already implementing the AI method in our board meeting at Nguvumali Youth Centre.
Also there were many stories we shared which has inspired me so much doing good things and never give up dreaming.
Many thanks to AI network and to everyone who participated.

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Ruth Nesje, Tanga, Tanzania.  Founder of Tanga International Competence Centre – TICC
To have the European AI network meeting at TICC has been a dream come true.
It was so good to see and feel how much the AI questions gave a new meaning to everyday life – to so many of TICC employees and other stakeholders.
Amazing as ever, when conducting an AI Discovery session, moving towards peoples dream!
Thanks a lot for coming, and I am sure your visit to TICC and Tanga will make a difference for many, we really did Connect Combine and Co- Create and all of us went OUTSIDE THE BOX!!!!
Lone G. Ziegemann, Tønsberg, Norway
Visiting TICC and the meeting in the network is the best experience for me so far this year.
It was so inspiring and important that we shared hopes and dreams with the staff at TICC.
Thank you to all of you.
Planning and working together was a dream come true. Rafael, Kiva and Rukeia gave us by beeing a part of the network more than I could ever expect..
T 16 T 17Zainab & Mariam, Tanga, Tanzania
It was a pleasure for us that the AI Network Meeting was conducted at TICC in Tanga, Tanzania.
This gave us a great chance to know different people from different countries whom we never thought we could get the chance to meet.
It was also good practice for someone to participate in according to what he/she is doing that will eventually lead them to their expectations, dreams, and goals.
It was wonderful to note that the AI Method could be used in any situation, and even our daily activities.
T 18 Andrew Gibson, Salisbury, England
My first AI experience, and to be outside the box and at the waterhole in Tanga was for me a significant life experience.
The variety of people form different nations, with different backgrounds, experiences and knowledge provided a unique and powerful forum for open exploratory discussion, idea sharing and development.
I was particularly impressed with the drive and commitment of the members of the Nguvumali Youth Centre and it was a privilege to be given insight to their dreams and to be able to contribute to discussion of potential ways of realising them.
T 19 Gloria Chizingwa, Tanga, Tanzania
This has been a very good experience for me.
I am really grateful that i was able to attend this meeting and I learned a lot by being there.
One thing I learned for sure is that we all have answers and solutions to all our problems, we just have to believe in ourselves and not depend on others to solve them or find the answers for us.
We have to respect our own ideas.
T 20 Irene Chizingwa, Tanga, Tanzania
First of all I was so happy to be invited to attend in three days of Appreciative Inquiry, those three days I was like in somewhere else not at TICC because I felt so different and so good that to sit with different people from different places, the way they talk and also how they arrange their time table also it was good because everyone was active in exchanging ideas.
The happiest moment was the second day when we divided into groups and then to visit different places, I chosen to meet my co workers and to conduct Appreciative Inquire meeting to some employees.
We had a very good preparation before we meet some employees that were what I like the most because it was easier for us to conduct the meeting with employees and we got a very good feedback from them which finally we were happy for that.
I appreciate those three days because they were a gift for me which I will live with and I will apply appreciative inquiry to my workplace, my family and community in order to bring change to Tanzania.
Thank you and God bless you all.
T 21 Happy Loketo, Tanga, Tanzania
In life not everyone will be born by knowing everything in this world.
With that I mean that we have to learn sometimes from different people so that we can create something big in our life.
I learned lots of things through AI, for those three days for me I didn’t want to be finished.
Not only because of all the nice people who had attended, but also because of all the big things that I got to know through the meeting.
I appreciated and I will help others who don’t know about AI

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Organizational work
As usual we divided up to go out in Groups for visits to organisations and institutions.  Here are reports from the visits.

Nguvumali Youth Centre
o Echoes some of the ‘root’ points from the first example.
o Focus on planning and how to build the positive atmosphere and trust in the room.
o Don’t worry too much about time. Let the experience flow and see what comes up.
o Met the board of the club. Impressed by their enthusiasm and their ideas for ways to build up the centre. The members have already participated in numerous activities to increase the income and profile of the centre.
o Their vision is to be “A centre for education”
o When they started to write down the positive things and successes they felt this really increased the impact with participants.
o The youth members were able to recognize that they are actually much farther along than they had previously thought.
o Importance of having 2 translators so that they can support each other.
o This club is poor financially compared to Europe but not in terms of dreams, enthusiasm and intentions.
o Personal reflection: making a game plan beforehand is really important to make things go smoothly.
o What do they see as the best way to continue with the centre for those of us at TICC?
 Continue to hire the music group.
 They can have benefit concerts for their chicken projects. Give out some samples of the cakes they intend to bake.
 If they can get the chicken farming up to a good quality, TICC can purchase the chickens.

Mwakidila Dispensary

o Arriving at a busy place, people not necessarily ready for them and distracted. It was a learning experience managing to get everyone sitting down and ready to participate. What did they have to do before people were ready to sit down? Metaphor of the tree. The roots are what made the meeting possible:
 *Prior knowledge
 *Patience: didn’t rush the staff, allowed them to finish their work first.
 *Simple language: use of translators
 *Slow conversation, enough space for clarification and full understanding
 *Privacy
 *Seating arrangements were particularly important given the use of translators
o The trunk of the tree consists of the individuals who participated, including the AI team as well as the workers at the dispensary. Important tasks were keeping time and making sure everyone had space to talk and contribute.
o The branches of the tree are the points of learning:
 *Clear expectations, well defined agendas
 *The power of questions and the affect they have on people in terms of their body language response. Ability to uplift people or have the opposite affect depending on the nature of the question.
 *Those interviewed were given ample time to reflect on questions before answering.
 *Everyone being on the same page, with view towards the same goal.
 *Having the same agenda is very important.
 *Clear expectations are also very important for both interviewers and interviewees.
o Other highlight:
 *Open space for mutual interaction and genuine sharing.

TICC-Creating collaboration across departments to achieve results
Our team of AI-network participants had a 3 hour Appreciative Inquiry session with the leaders of 4 departments in Tanga International Competence Centre (TICC). We planned the session with Irene who is the HR-responsible at TICC. All the leaders were Tanzanian.
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We learned from Irene that a good meeting would start with everybody presenting their name and some facts about their family. After that we digged into our main theme: Moving forward towards appreciative collaboration that gives joy and pride in our work and gives our costumers and collaborators the best possible service.

One of the things we did in the group was to invite the leaders to draw a picture of what their preferred future could look. They draw the Mount Kilimanjaro and talked about the values that would create it (these values was extracted from their AI-interviews). It was amazing to see the creativity and energy amongst the leaders while talking kiswahili and drawing Mount Kilimanjaro together.

When the leaders afterwards talked about what was meaningful to them in our 3 hour meeting, they said the following: I didn´t expect you to only ask us questions. It was great to feel how the questions made us think and see that we had the answers to everything ourselves. I am now looking forward to start the journey with TICC and my colleagues towards Kilimanjaro.

For me one of the main things that got even clearer to me during the meeting with these great leaders at TICC was the easy fact that the feeling of finding your own answers is so powerful. So I got an answer to my question: Appreciative questions is just as powerful in Tanzania as in Norway…

The game plan for the meeting was as follows:
1. Which good results do you already see at TICC, which aims are you already reaching? – Brainstorm.
2. AI-interviews in pairs: Tell me about a moment or situation where you experienced collaboration that gave you a feeling of joy, happiness or pride (in your family, workpalace, community or elsewhere).
3. We then analysed the root causes together and talked about how this could be moved into our workplace.
4. Make a symbol or picture of what the future could look like if this kind of collaboration would be present at TICC everyday. Group work.
5. What would be your first contribution towards this preferred future? Each person wrote a post-it.
6. What did we learn from these 3 hours that was useful to us? Reflection.

How to ensure

HAMA Board Members
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Hatua na Maendeleo (HAMA) is an NGO mainly dealing with the sponsor program of TICC, but as an NGO it will also be able to apply for funds.  We met with the newly appointed Board of Directors of HAMA, and this was just the second time the board met.
* Pattern broken of the idea of Europeans being the ones to give advice while the local Tanzanians just sit and listen. It was instead turned on the board members as being the ones who can find the answers as well as the right questions to ask.
* It was especially nice to see the growth and achievement of an out of school youth who is now a Board Member of this NGO.
* Metaphor used of the seed growing into a palm tree.
* Process was another way for Board Members to get to know each other more, on a more personal/deeper level.

Mwahako Primary School
o Mission: how to half participatory methods in school when classes can have 80-100 pupils in them.
o Engaged the headmaster with humor so she was relaxed and able to talk about her dreams, hopes, and challenges. (Many challenges were listed)
o Ideal world for them is one exercise book per subject for every child.
o Headmaster was very proud of what they have achieved until now, including the new toilets, more staff, chairman of the school came by just to check up. She was also proud of the results given the conditions within which they were teaching. She is sure she can do better with more resources.
o She also felt that she had a good relationship with her staff.
o Her dream is to have a 100% pass rate within 5 years, food for all students.
o Suggestion is made that students can receive a second meal at school as a sort of “reward”, to use as further incentive to keep them in school.
o Headmaster was grateful to have the Norwegian teacher students and would appreciate having more for even longer periods of time in order to help to educate her staff.
o Importance of something happening soon after this visit. Teacher students will organize a workshop on teaching methodologies for the staff at Mwahako School.