So you think you can facilitate!

On the 31st July to 1st August 2021, over 20 participants attended the two-day Biodiversity Friends Forum (BFF) Facilitation Workshop, jointly organised by NParks and BFF’s advisor, N Sivasothi. BFF youths from the current and past batches of BFF Challenge, as well as friends of BFF signed up, hoping to learn more about assisting groups of people navigate a session in thinking about beliefs, assumptions and values surrounding a particular topic. Minister Desmond also graced the event on the second day, addressing the participants on Sunday morning.

The workshop was conducted by master facilitator Farid Hamid, who is a skilled and highly-experienced facilitator keenly involved in environmental and conservation issues. He was involved in the conservation of Lower Peirce and Pulau Ubin, and had also led the first Blue Plan committee, making recommendations for the conservation of Singapore’s marine realms. Farid was joined by his team, Joo Hymm and Geraldine, in guiding the participants through the workshop.

At the workshop, participating youths gathered to learn the theoretical framework and principles, as well as the practical skills and tools used in experiential learning and facilitation. These skills included creating a safe space for everyone to feel comfortable sharing, employing various ice breakers, tools to help with engagement, understanding the importance of emotions while facilitating and much more.

A fair amount of time was also devoted to practice facilitation rounds, which were opportune for the participants to put their new skills into action. We could feel their passion and excitement when they facilitated on the topics that sparked their interests, such as human-wildlife interactions, the protection of intertidal habitats and environmental education!

A dialogue on long-tailed macaques during a practice facilitation round

We hope the youths will be able to put their new skills into action at upcoming biodiversity-related workshops, engagements and dialogues, as well in the different avenues of their lives outside biodiversity. Good luck and facilitate on!