Narok Teambuilding

February 16, 2012

This blog post is by Caleb Njoroge, SNA-K Intern

A Description of the Day

The SNA-K Narok Team, Transmara Representatives, and Nairobi staff met in Narok Town, and boarded a matatu. The team travelled together to Ilariak grounds, an campground on the way to the Maasai Mara.

The first session was led by Narok’s DPC (District Peace Commissioner), Joseph Pareiyio, and the members got to introduce themselves so as to get acquainted with each other. After the introductions, members got to chat over a cup of tea. The second session was part briefing and part training. Jackie briefed the team on SNA-K’s activities and outlined the roles of the volunteers and how they are expected to conduct themselves during the outreach and events by SNA-K.

Volunteers play introductory games

Volunteers play "getting-to-know-you" game

Mr. Pareiyio took over the session and discussed how teamwork is essential in achieving organizational goals. His talk was tailor-made to fit the SNA-K setting that involves going for outreach and holding public events. This was an insightful session for the members as they asked many questions and participated fully during the discussion. “When one person wins in a team, the entire team wins and when one person looses in a team, then the entire team loses.” “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go with a group/team.” These were some of the concepts that were expounded by Mr. Pareiyio

After a short break, Mr. Pareiyio concluded the morning session by speaking about communication and  the role it plays in any organization and in any team. He noted that communication is the fabric that sustains and maintains any successful team and without it chaos ensues. The team played several games and looked at several examples about how to ensure effective communication, and the potential impacts of ineffective communication within a team.

After the session with Mr.Pareiyio, the team from Transmara was asked to pin point the volatile areas that they thought would benefit from SNA-K’s work. Various hotspots were noted and the reasons for conflict in those hot spots were discussed so as to understand root causes of conflict and the areas in which SNA-K’s approach could be most effective.

The team broke for lunch and was able to bond some more over the lunch session, since eating together is also a form of bonding. After lunch the afternoon session involved games and team sports. The games were to show the members how well they know each other and how well they can function as a team under pressure. It was fun and exciting as members competed against each other in different teams. Members learned how to work with each other to achieve great results in the games. The games centered on communication and trust.

Human Knot

Volunteers work to untangle their "human knot." Communication is key!

The games and sports session concluded the day’s main activities as the team broke off to have a cup of evening tea. The team was excited about spending time together, and even began to propose and plan a team camping trip.

The day had been successful from the beginning and the members were all delighted to have attended and learned all about teambuilding. Members said that they were fully equipped to conduct the upcoming events and outreaches.

Lessons Learnt

Teamwork is the key to any successful organization because it carries with it the elements of success. Mr. Pareiyio explained to the members that for peace to be sustained in the country, the people of Kenya must work together and working together is another term for teamwork. Kenya is made up of 43 different tribes that have different cultures and practices. This makes it hard to come to an understanding, especially when utilization of natural resources come into play e.g. rivers, land, springs etc. This, however, could be solved if the parties involved came together and worked together to reach a solution because two heads are better than one and different tribes coming together to solve a problem makes it much easier to reach a solution than when they try solving a problem as two separate groups.

A team is made up of different people and this was shown clearly from the introductions that were made. Mr. Pareiyio made us realize that as much as we are working together, we are all different people with different names, characteristics, interests, ages etc. These differences are very important in a functioning team because in a winning team you will find everyone has a different set of skills that he/she uses to the best of their abilities to enable the team to function well. If all the people/members of a team had the same set of skills and no diversity, the team would be limited to only what these people know. Diversity of people and their backgrounds makes the team more flexible and diverse, giving it the ability to handle different tasks and solve multiple problems effectively.

Spreading peace and maintaining peace involve the very essence of teamwork because when there is no teamwork in any group or society then peace is threatened since everyone does what they think is best for themselves and are thus likely to offend others and destroy any peace building that might be going on. A winning team, or a successful team, teaches others who observe it so many things. One need not to explain to people what the team is doing right because it’s clearly visible when a group of individuals come together and work in synch – the results can be huge. This is to say that before we preach peace, we must be at peace with each other so that we can function as a team even when we are in different areas.

Another critical area in teamwork that was mentioned was open and clear communication. This was stated as the glue or the fiber that holds a team together and keeps it from falling apart. Members who share openly with each other about different aspects of the team are able to encourage each other to achieve any set goals. Hiding or not addressing any issues concerning the team only serves to damage the relationship of the team members which in turn ends up crippling the team because someone might have a solution to a problem but isn’t comfortable enough to share it due to one reason or the other.

Working as a team has many benefits, and as peacemakers, the number one benefit for us is to spread peace and maintain peace, as this is our goal. Different cultures, races, tribes, personalities, genders and age groups working together on a common goal, translates to teamwork which in turn for us translates into peace.

The SNA-K Narok Team!

The SNA-K Narok Team!