For 15 years (’75-‘90) Erik gained his initial experience in practical project management in the field of cooperatives and livestock projects in Zambia, Indonesia, Tanzania and other developing countries.
As from 1992 he moved to Brussels where he assisted the European Commission developing and disseminating Project Cycle Management and the Logical Framework Analysis planning and evaluation instrument, a unique process that still continues and develops further.
As a trainer and moderator he introduced successfully Portfolio Management (PCM / RBM) concepts and techniques in various public European, multi-lateral and National institutions, NGO’s, private organisations, Universities and commercial consulting companies in both the North and the South. This achievement reflects his strong ability to train and facilitate others to make them understand the relevance and strengths of MfDR approach.
In all his assignments, he managed to successfully bring together dispersed perceptions. This skill has enabled him to effectively manage sensitive and difficult discussions and build friendly and supportive relationships with people from a wide range of backgrounds, origins and hierarchical levels.
In contrast with the traditional (‘wise’) expert role, he sees and has always seen his role in development as primarily facilitating local stake- and knowledge holders working towards reaching a common understanding on situational analysis and possible locally acceptable approaches. As a natural negotiator in many complex environments he managed to bring consensus and peace among the often-opposing partners.
In addition to this process that makes people feel at ease, the concepts and procedures of Results-Based Management and Logical Framework Analysis provide structure to the participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation techniques.
Key words of his personality could be: a stimulator and facilitator, reliable, result focused, professional, friendly, committed, inspiring, quick thinker, system analyst, team player, sympathetic, entertaining, creative, joyful, dedicated, flexible, motivating, humorous, gender sensitive and authentic.
As a trainer (and not a teacher!) of multi-cultural and different organisational settings for 25 years in the field of Aid Effectiveness concepts and instruments Erik believes to have outstanding experience in assessing and satisfying Capacity Development needs in this field. His various and extensive professional networks allow access to expertise and best practices along public and private institutions.
From his earliest times of involvement in development co-operation onwards, his professional interest emphasises the concept of aid effectiveness. Apparently only a policy on monitoring and evaluation will not suffice the operationalization of transparent delivery and distribution of Government funding. He adheres to a full participatory process with key stakeholders (including end-users) on indicator setting, monitoring, measurement, reporting and learning.
His training (and training methodology) is a proponent of active pedagogy that aims at the participation of the trainees themselves in the learning process as well as their ownership of the learning process. In the training sessions he leads, participants acquire know-how by doing and by sharing ideas, experience and knowledge with other trainees and not simply by listening to how things ought to be done.
Special attention is paid to group dynamics, and he enhances this by introducing a variety of training techniques and by facilitating rigorous and logistical organisation. Homogeneous groups are avoided; instead they are enriched by the presence of trainees from different organisations, sectors and experiences, with different languages and cultures.
It is anticipated that many problems, suggestions and solutions are shared by trainees. However, this wealth runs the risk of being lost and not being utilised. Thus, this pool of knowledge is well structured and recorded. As a learning and reference tool, he ensures that the essence of the content is visualised in the space where the training takes place.
Competencies as a trainer facilitator: Code of Conduct
- As a trainer facilitator one of the key performance requirements in order to be able to really communicate with and be respected by all type of participants is to display cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability and above all treat all people fairly without favouritism.
- Actually equal perception of ‘other’ persons needs to be one of the core competencies of a facilitator and an effective trainer. Only through respect, truth and honesty one gets closer to people through which you enable them to learn and accept.
- As a facilitator trainer, Erik places high emphasis on (quality) knowledge sharing and constant learning in life. With an open mind he uses ‘questions’ as an instrument to create transparency and clarity among people involved and with myself. He restrains himself as much as possible in expressing his opinions.
Principles of trainer facilitator
As a trainer facilitator Erik tries to adhere to the following principles:
- In most project environments there are sufficient local expertise, competences and technical advisers around. ‘Knowledge’ is mostly not the problem.
- A facilitator by virtue of being a non-expert on the content will automatically involve, consult and trust such expertise.
- A moderator will identify and focus on the different actors influencing the project in one way or another to estimate, consider and benefit from their possible opposition, interests and positioning (force field analysis).
- Facilitative training is a process that enhances ‘listening’ to available knowledge, perceptions and experiences.
- To bring this available knowledge that exist with the different stakeholders (students) in the open through facilitative training is not easy, but may possibly be more effective as compared to adding just another opinion or technical solution raised by a ‘teacher’ or ‘consultant’.
- Facilitation of existing experiences and local expertise will enhance ownership, responsibility and involvement by which the implementation might be faster, easier, more efficient and maybe even more effective.
- Facilitative training applies democratic principles of decision making (equal votes by each participants), which even though is not real democracy, is usually quickly accepted by the participants.
- Facilitated groups develop quicker a team spirit because they do not sit opposite each other at a table but side-by-side (without a table) facing the independent moderator trainer.
- Through applying the principle of anonymity (writing on cards) in facilitated workshops and training sessions the personal and professional relations and tensions are separated from the content discussions on the issues raised on the cards allowing better listening and judgement of arguments.
- It is also by this anonymity principle and the testing of arguments in the group by the facilitator trainer that power and authority of individuals get less influence.