On Tuesday, August 13, 2019, the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, launched a five-year National Anti-Corruption Strategy for the country at an event that was attended by the European Union. EU representative, Mats Leljefelt, made a speech celebrating the actions of the government to fight corruption. Just three months later, Accountability Lab had the opportunity to support the EU Delegation to Sierra Leone in its efforts to end corruption by leading a capacity-development training for the Delegation in Freetown.
The training was led by Nonprofit Management Fellow, Sara Hoenes, and Liberia iCampus Manager, Luther Jeke. Together, Luther and Sara planned an interactive training on a wide range of topics related to personal and team accountability, including time management, embracing differences, communication, emotional intelligence, self-regulation, unconscious bias, photography for social media, photo consent, and managing stress. The program was designed with the goal of having fun and bringing the delegation together through a series of interactive games followed by discussions, debriefings, and exercises for developing strategies.
On day one, members of the Delegation particularly enjoyed the session on photography for social media. After talking through tips for storytelling through photography and effective captions for increasing social media engagement, the group was split into smaller teams and instructed to head outside for a photography session. The goal of the session was to communicate a story in three to five pictures and create concise, engaging captions for each picture. At the end of the exercise, each team sent the pictures to us so we could share them on a projector. Members of the Delegation began to bond over funny and creative photos, stories, and captions.
By the second day, members of the delegation felt comfortable sharing with us what was stressful for them in the workplace. We led a discussion about stress, compiling a list of stressors in the workplace for everyone to digest and acknowledge. Members of the delegation were then placed in groups to participate in a stress exercise. Afterward, we debriefed and discussed parallels between the exercise and managing stress in real-life situations. Sara then led the group through a stress management technique. Finally, the delegation got together in groups that they work in and discussed ways to support each other when team members are stressed.
By the end of the day-and-a-half training, members of the Delegation felt heard by their coworkers, more connected to each other, and equipped with tools to manage time and stress, communicate more effectively, and increase engagement on social media with captivating photos.
All of this might seem far removed from the larger fight against corruption in Sierra Leone, however, the ability to work together, communicate efficiently, resolve conflicts, and manage stress are all part of being accountable- both to ourselves and our teams. And this kind of training will support the Delegation in accelerating their work to fight much bigger issues of graft and corruption in Sierra Leone.