Partner School Meeting: Learning to Work Together
April 15, 2013
Last Wednesday, April 10th, Haiti Partners convened all of its school leadership teams at a hotel meeting space in Port-au-Prince. This included a total of 19 people: all six partner schools and the Children’s Academy. These meetings are held three times each year, and are a part of our ongoing efforts to improve our work together.
The topics – which were generated by the group – included exciting announcements like Anonsiyasyon Community School opening a preschool section next year and Henri Christophe nearing completion of a new three-classroom building. They also included honest critiques of how we need to improve our work like better communicating activities that aren’t organized by HP and tightening up and becoming more systematic about our financial accounting and reporting. (See meeting notes here.)
Having been a part of this group since we started the partner school model in 2009, something that I found especially pleasing at this meeting is how well the group has learned to work together. When we began, everyone waited for HP to create the agenda and take responsibility for the meetings. Many participants – especially the women in the group – either didn’t speak at all or when they did you could barely hear them. By contrast, other participants – almost invariably men – would unself-consciously dominate the meetings.
Nowadays, the group creates the agenda and manages the meetings collaboratively. Participation is fairly distributed and based on the relative importance of what is being said, not who is saying it. Finally, there is a real sense of mutual respect and appreciation among the group.
A central goal in all of Haiti Partners’ work is to change the paradigm of leadership in Haiti from the traditional command and control model based on subordination, humiliation, and violence, to a collaborative, invitational, democratic model which encourages all participants to explore and express their unique potential. We are thrilled to see such great progress toward this goal with this core group of Schools Program colleagues.