Coordinated by WWF Finland, Eat4Change is an international project pushing for a shift toward more sustainable diets and food production practices. The goal is to engage the youth, in particular, to take an active role in the wellbeing of the planet.
In September 2022, Mukamas Learning Design helped WWF Finland to facilitate the project’s Midterm Meeting, which was attended by approximately 50 participants from nine countries.
Sustainability is a core value for Mukamas, and facilitators Johanna and Liisa-Maija were thrilled about the opportunity to harness their expertise for a sustainable future.
Katja, please tell us a bit about the starting point. Why did you want facilitation support for the meeting?
Eat4Change was launched in the spring of 2020, so we had never seen each other face-to-face because of the pandemic. After two years of Zoom meetings, we wanted our first live meeting to succeed in building team spirit and developing the project further.
Although we have some facilitation experience, we are not professional facilitators. The project also has limited staff, and running a large meeting, including recording the results, takes a lot of resources. We also hoped that external facilitation would bring some fresh perspective after two years of hard work.
What would you highlight about the facilitation?
A unique facilitation method was the so-called Gallery Walk. Each project partner showcased a successful event they had organised using various creative techniques, including posters, legos, paint, and play dough.
The participants loved the experiential nature of the Gallery Walk. They could really dive deep into the presentations, ask questions and so on. The level of inspiration and insight everyone got from the experience was completely different compared to watching a PowerPoint presentation in Zoom.
Where did the facilitators do the best job?
In building team spirit. Our work culture is casual, and the facilitators’ style and personalities suited our way of working really well.
Thanks to Johanna and Liisa-Maija’s help, we crystallised and clarified our next steps. We now have a clearer picture of our successes and lessons learned and better understand where to focus our efforts.
We were also impressed by how well the facilitators reacted to last-minute changes. We were swamped with work before the Midterm Meeting and had to leave some things to the last minute. But Johanna and Liisa-Maija didn’t even flinch when we came to them suggesting changes to the programme just 15 minutes before the meeting. Instead, they immediately jumped on board with new ideas.
When you’re responsible for everything – ensuring the meeting is a success and everyone is happy – your partner’s flexible and creative approach makes a huge difference.
What is the main reason you would recommend Mukamas to others?
Johanna and Liisa-Maija facilitated a large international event in English without any problems, even though the group was made up of dozens of people of different ages and languages.
In addition to the official project partners, there was a youth team at the meeting with members from different countries, including Brazil. They were also given space, and their voice was heard, which is essential for the project’s success.
All in all, we got everything we wanted from the collaboration – and probably even more. The facilitators were friendly and creative and did a great job in complementing our ideas with their insights.
Interview with Katja Lähdesmäki-Josefsson, Advisor, Funding & Projects, WWF Finland