The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the facilitator and the facilitation process involved in community-led work. Its objectives are to:

  • increase understanding of the role and activities of facilitators in a community-led approach;
  • deepen understanding of how facilitation in a community-led approach differs from facilitation in mostly top-down approaches; and
  • help readers to think through how to identify, select, prepare, and support facilitators of a community-led approach.

Key Question for Practitioners

What are the advantages of taking the slow, dialogue-oriented approach that is inherent in a community-led approach?

Could the skills of facilitation presented in this section strengthen my organization’s work with communities?

Relevant tools from the Toolkit: FAC 1–9; TRN 2–11; MGM 5 & MGM 7.

In a community-led approach, the facilitator plays a key role in all phases: learning with and about the community; the community-led planning regarding which harm(s) to children to prevent and respond to; designing and implementing an appropriate community action; and evaluating the community-led action.

In a community-led approach, the facilitator’s role is to create space for and enable community dialogue, decision-making, and action on behalf of vulnerable children. More specific aspects of the facilitator’s role and responsibilities are shown in the box below.

Since facilitators play an important role in community-led approaches, it is vital to give careful attention to selecting and training people to become skilled facilitators. The usual processes for selecting and training facilitators may not be a good fit for community-led approaches. Put bluntly, it is considerably easier to do “facipulation” or NGO-guided facilitation than it is to help people become deep listeners and to fulfill the role of the facilitator as described above.