Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Monday 7 June 2010

Don't try this at home

Donors often think that toolkits are a great way to support the implementation of policies. They can be, but only if accompanied by training and the awareness that experts still are needed. Toolkits contain very useful (explicit) knowledge, but one needs the tacit knowledge and skills of experts to solve questions of what is the right tool and when and how to use it. Otherwise the results might be contra-productive. I remember how I admired as a toddler my father’s carpentry toolkit. I was not allowed to touch any of these tools. I had to be content with my wooden play tools. When I was around ten years old my parents sent me to ‘carpentry’ lessons. An old carpenter had every Wednesday afternoon about ten boys in his work place who he would teach the basics of his trade. We learnt when and how to use each tool. The advantages and disadvantages of your choices and the dangers of either damaging the tool or yourself. After a few months I had acquired some basic skills and knowledge. And had produced a wooden footrest, as a birthday gift for my grandmother. I also knew now I should not try some of these tools at home alone. Some things you better leave to the specialists.

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