In late October 2021, over two dozen trainees and facilitators attended the Training of Trainers held at the new Avila Retreat Center. This was the first time we held one of our classic training of trainers experiences in over a year. Participants followed a 3-day training on the issue of persistent and growing racial and economic inequality in the U.S.
They gained knowledge of the role, duties and competencies expected of a facilitator. Simultaneously, trainees were equipped with the skills to independently organize and implement further training courses, multiplying the effects of United for a Fair Economy's training program.
In fact, over the next few months, participants to this multiplier training will hold local trainings for organizers in their area of North Carolina, and assist trainees in piloting UFE's toolkit with their organizations.
At this three-day training of trainers, participants had the chance to:
- Learn principles and practices of popular education and healing justice.
- Get concrete tools to facilitate conversations about race, gender, and economic inequality.
- Use healing justice and education to build movements, within a community of supportive peers.
- Practice leading participatory activities about economic inequality.
- Examine key economic trends, viewed through class, race, and gender lenses.
- Simultaneous English-Spanish interpretation was provided, so that language was not a barrier to collaboration.
We use the Training of Trainers (ToT) to engage our experienced facilitators in developing and coaching new trainers who have less experience with economics, facilitating large groups, or with training overall. Our ToT workshops are much more impactful than traditional trainings. They build a community of competent instructors who continue to learn, grow, and build with one another as they teach the material to other people.
The full UFE Popular Education Team was there, eager to see folks face to face again.
Jeannette Huezo is the Executive Director & Senior Popular Educator at UFE. Jeannette became the Executive Director in 2014, after 14 years coordinating UFE’s Popular Education work and facilitating trainings across the U.S.
Eroc Arroyo-Montano is the Director of Cultural Organizing at UFE. He is a proud father of three children, an artist, curandero, organizer, and educator.
David Dixon, the outgoing North Carolina Training Network Coordinator at UFE, helped train our partners and their organizers on using popular education methodologies.
Fernando Martínez is a longtime collaborator of UFE, and helps support our work in NC. Born in El Salvador, he began organizing in the 80’s during the country's civil war. He continues his fight for social justice with community groups in the U.S.
The team here at UFE is working to promote economic justice in the context of growing income and wealth inequality. In order to do this, we need a space for reflection on our own experiences of the economy as well as the experience of those most affected by growing inequities. Together we want to develop an analysis of the forces that cause the growing divide, marginalizing many of us (especially low-income women and women of color). This process motivates ourselves and others toward action.
Our approach to training is based in the principles and practices of Popular Education:
- Draws on the experience of learners
- Poses problems to encourage dialogue and reflection
- Stimulates action
Unlike the “banking” approach to education where the teacher/expert “deposits” information into the “empty head” of the student, popular education takes the pressure off the trainer to be an all-knowing “expert” and instead emphasizes facilitating dialogue and a more experiential approach to learning.
|People from across NC gathered at our new Avila Movement Center for a three-day training to learn new facilitation and organizing techniques. On the first day, participants took some time to get to know one another and share what brought them.
||After introductions, it was time to get to work learning new facilitation techniques and group popular education activities.||One of the most valuable parts of the training is always the relationships developed. After the event, participants are not only equipped with new skills and confidence, but a network of friends —other trainers— standing by to support.|
|UFE’s Eroc and Jeannette were especially pleased to reunite with some old NC friends while in town from Boston.||Participants will be taking the concepts they learn and apply them to address many different issues they face in their lives, including workplace injustices and union rights, lack of access to quality healthcare, and housing discrimination.
||Around half of the participants at this training were native Spanish speakers, and simultaneous Spanish-English interpretation was provided through the training.|
|At every training, we invite folks to bring something for our alter. People share a variety of objects that gives them strength, hope, or peace. Throughout the training, people can be seen visiting the alter, flipping through the pages of a book or admiring a piece of art with a smile on their face.
||The training continued into the evening on Saturday, and folks gathered around the fire to stay warm in the cool October breeze.||After the activities were all done, no one wanted to say goodnight. Nearly everyone stayed by the fire a while longer, enjoying the good company, singing songs, and relaxing after a long day’s training before parting to their cabins for the evening.|
|Bright and early the next day, our executive director Jeannette Huezo led one of her favorite popular education training activities. In this photo, participants are learning how to facilitate a quintile activity highlighting the inequitable distribution of income in the U.S.
||The weather was perfect all weekend, making it easy to stay outside and safely socially distant during the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.||After such an incredible training, it was difficult to say goodbye on Sunday. We are so thankful to everyone who came to learn and grow the movement with us at our latest NC training! Follow to learn more about future training opportunities.|