Challenging, Humbling, Exhilarating

Facilitating MAOL course modules with DAI

Challenging… humbling… exhilarating… and occasionally frustrating”, the words of Nigel Warren, one of DAI’s Associate Facilitators in the MAOL program to describe the six-month long relationship he had with a group of MA students in Uganda last March.  DAI utilizes a large team of part-time Associate Facilitators – men and women who help to staff the 62 or so residencies in the MAOL program each year.  Because two courses are introduced at each Residency that means 120 facilitators are needed each year to staff the MAOL program in English and French.

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These facilitators, for both the English and the French programs, literally come from all over the world, including Sri Lanka, Nigeria, India, Uganda, Kenya, Canada, USA and the UK. Currently DAI-UK provides 5 facilitators.  They work with the students during the week-long residency, and then interact with them during the remainder of the semester, marking assignments and giving on-going guidance in their studies.

Nigel, an engineer by profession, but with management, training and strategy development experience in both industry and local church contexts facilitated his first Strategic Management course module with a group of Sri Lankan leaders in September 2017, and subsequently worked with a Ugandan group in March 2018.

Nigel described the leaders as “an enthusiastic mixture of church leaders, theological educators, relief and development workers, together with some in businesses and smaller ventures amongst the young and the most-needy and continued “working with them has been a humbling experience, a privileged window into their faithful struggles to proclaim the gospel in difficult circumstances and with meager resources.  Pursuing the 3-year MA program with its studying and assignments on top of their day jobs is a major commitment.  Journeying with them for a season, seeking to equip them with the tools, skills and confidence to introduce changes that will bring strategically vital improvements to their organizations, seems truly worthwhile.”

Another MAOL facilitator from the UK, John Wright, has a background in training students in research methods at a Further Education institution in Essex. John taught DAI’s Research Methods course to a group of leaders in India in January.  He described his experience as “a pleasure and privilege to meet and work with Christians from a variety of backgrounds and professions, whose ministries ranged from freeing slaves to translating the Bible. The students’ primary aim was not to learn skills in order to enrich themselves, but how to use their new skills to further develop others.”


John also described the experience in the classroom: “The sessions were lively, and it was a great encouragement to see how newly imparted skills could be used by these leaders.  As a lecturer of many years, I was able to use my skills to get the learners to think through the issues for themselves as this would help them learn more effectively. We did this using a variety of methods, including question and answer sessions, student presentations and group work.  The experience with the students was that we were working together as a team rather than as teacher and learners.”

The work of an Associate Facilitator is demanding, because not only do they have to work with the students during the residency, but they need to read, review, comment on and give feedback in a timely manner on 4-5 assignments for between 20 and 30 students for each course; however it is very rewarding to work with a group of majority world leaders – helping them to develop skills and strategies to make their work so much more effective.

The course modules in the MAOL course are:  An Introduction to Leadership, Teaching and Learning for Impact, Strategic Management, Women in Leadership and Ministry, Integrity and Finance, Spiritual Formation, Ethics for Living and Leading, Conflict Management and Transformation, Research Methods and Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity; plus two of the following electives: the Ministry of Mentoring, Development and Social Change, Fundraising and Partnerships. Students are also required to submit a practically based Field Research Project.

-By John Rogers, DAI Senior Consultant – Retired

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