Facilitators who care make the world go around

George Louw
By George Louw
6 Min Read

A facilitator is someone who knows they are not able to resolve an issue and instead find someone who can. These are the people who make it all happen.

The Biblical disciple, Andrew, was the brother of Simon Peter, the head of the disciples (as Rolling Inspiration readers of the Christian faith will know). Andrew is my favourite because he was a facilitator. He was the go-to-person when others wanted things to happen. When Andrew met Jesus, he recognised him for who he was and introduced him to his brother Simon, whom Jesus called Peter – the rock on which he would build his Church.

When they were out in the wilderness with 5 000 hungry followers, Andrew found a boy with two fish and five bread rolls, which turned out to be more than enough to feed the masses, with leftovers. In both instances, Andrew summed up the situation and made a connection in faith with spectacular results.

Facilitators are people who see a need, realise they do not have the capacity to address the need and then go find someone who can. They connect problems with problem-solvers and create solutions.

I recently read the QASA report to British Airways (operated by Comair) on the Rural Development Outreach Grant Project for 2017. The aim of the grant is rural upliftment by improving the living situations of persons with a spinal cord injury (SCI) in a material manner. The feedback report tells of needs that were addressed. Ten ramps were built and one bathroom was renovated and fitted with grab rails by QASA Gauteng South. Twelve ramps were built by QASA Western Cape.

In the Eastern Cape transport allowances were negotiated for attendees to a community awareness event and in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) a social outreach secured 79 new members for QASA KZN. All of these achievements were the products of facilitation. The Gauteng and Western Cape SCI could not build the ramps and fix the bathroom themselves but they found people who could.

In the Eastern Cape, they linked those in need of transport with a fund that could pay for the transport and in KZN funds were motivated so that the social outreach could happen. In all of these instances, facilitation was the operative word. Built from photographs provided, the ramps that were made for wheelchair users in Gauteng South and the Western Cape were largely functional.

To the recipients these things represented freedom. Freedom to come and go without assistance, without fear of falling. The ability to be able to go outside just for some fresh air. All of this because people went out and facilitated the solutions.

Facilitation requires a specific mindset. It requires the ability to see beyond challenges to solutions, to understand what is needed to fix the situation and to recognise who is best suited to address the challenge. The mindset of a facilitator also needs a large scoop of humility, an acceptance that the execution of the solution is beyond her ability, but also a realisation of how they can contribute toward the solution.

For me humility is to recognise when to stand back and allow others to take the lead, but also when to step forward and actively take that lead. Much more difficult is to take the initiative to influence others to step up. This requires a combination of stepping forward and standing back at the same time. This is the art of the facilitator.

We need to reach out to the needs of others and facilitate solutions beyond our own needs. I would go so far as to say that if we are not prepared to give of ourselves towards the needs of others, we have no right to advocate. How can we expect others to give of themselves if we are not prepared to give of ourselves? We might be limited in what we can do physically, but we are by no means limited in our ability to facilitate.

My challenge to readers is not to simply sit around and blow spit bubbles in protest against the unfairness of our situation. Let’s go beyond advocating for better deals; let us actively facilitate those better deals. This is something we all can do.

 


Ida’s Corner is a regular column by George Louw, who qualified as a medical doctor, but, due to a progressing spastic paralysis, he chose a career in health administration. The column is named after Ida Hlongwa, who worked as caregiver for Ari Seirlis for 20 years. Her charm, smile, commitment, quality care and sacrifice set the bar incredibly high for the caregiving fraternity.
email: georgelou@medscheme.co.za

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George Louw
By George Louw Health Administration
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Ida’s Corner is a regular column by George Louw, who qualified as a medical doctor, but, due to a progressing spastic paralysis, chose a career in health administration. The column is named after Ida Hlongwa, who worked as caregiver for Ari Seirlis for 20 years. Her charm, smile, commitment, quality care and sacrifice set the bar incredibly high for the caregiving fraternity. email: yorslo@icloud.com
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