Contributed by Kansas State University Research and Extension
To ensure inclusive conversations, KSRE embarked on a Facilitation Initiative, training 22 facilitators in the Spring of 2022. The Team immediately began applying these skills and utilized facilitation in a more concerted manner to engage stakeholders and help groups set and meet goals.
The team facilitated 77 dialogues and more than 200 meetings during the program year. Facilitated dialogues, those where a team member was called in to be a neutral facilitator with a specifically designed process, reached more than 638 stakeholders across the state. More than 948 stakeholders participated in meetings where the facilitation team utilized their skills. These stakeholders included community groups, KSRE transdisciplinary teams, 4-H youth, coalition boards, county government, KSRE Program Focus Teams, youth not affiliated with 4-H, Fair Boards, corporations, and businesses.
The team invested an estimated 1,200 hours in preparing, presenting, and following up on their facilitation efforts.
- The work of one trained facilitator assisted Caney in completing a Housing Assessment Tool for the State that incorporated community meeting input into their report. The facilitator created a safe space where frustration levels decreased and the decision-making process became easier because all views could be seen.
- The facilitated dialogue conducted by a trained facilitator created a process that allowed the Southwind District Executive Board members and agents to chart a path everyone could agree on to fill open program assistant and agent positions.