UNESCO Addis Ababa Educational Retreat

UNESCO Addis Ababa staff engaged in an active and educational retreat from 13 to 14 February 2020, Bahir Dar,  Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia.

With the purpose of enlightening participants on Education for Health and Wellbeing,   strengthening communication between sectors and improve planning and implementation capacities among staff members, the retreat addressed key lessons, discussion topics, SWOT analysis and UNESCO priority action points. The leadership of the director Ms. Ana Elisa Santana Afonso was instrumental for the success of the education retreat.

The morning session of the first day was dedicated to the essence, context and relevance of Comprehensive Life Skills Education among the staff members.   The Comprehensive Life skills Education (CLSE) project officer made an insightful presentation and facilitated discussions on the status of adolescent and reproductive health and rights in East and Southern Africa and Ethiopia. Terms and concepts in the context of Africa raised quite an interesting debate on the conception, clarity of ideas and how to treat the subject CLSE in an educational and social system. As a result, the staff members clarified doubts, reached consensus on supporting appropriate, culturally relevant and nonjudgment sexuality education and SRH in Ethiopia.

Discussions on the key guidelines including the Human Resources Management (HRM), administrative manual and its link to programme planning were addressed in the afternoon session.  With the aim of aligning and transforming programme efficiency, the administrative officer, presented, initiated active discussion among the staff on most frequently happening challenges, the responses and desirable measures.  As a result, appropriate planning and intersectional    programme alignment to be the cutting edge to improve programme effectiveness and efficiency.

The second day was started with a visit to the UNESCO Biosphere reserves and Ethiopian rich cultural heritage sites at Ura Kidane Mihret 14th Century Monastery.  The rest of the day fully dedicated to experiential learning characterized by work visit, peer learning, appreciative inquiry and joint plan of action on priority issues.  In due course of action, the staff members made honest and open dialogue, acknowledged the strengths and opportunities; at the same time recognized the existing limitations and threats. The friendly learning process helped the staff to critically look at the feasible areas of intervention, draw insightful lessons on possible inter-sector collaboration and identified six priorities which to be addressed in alignment with UNESCO biennial strategy and the aspirations of United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF).  The retreat was an instrumental breakthrough to create a sense of togetherness and lift up the motivational calibre of the staff toward unity transformational engagement as a staff to deliver as one!

Bahir Dar is one of the 12 UNESCO learning cities, awarded in 2015 by UNESCO. On its shore is the Lake Tana, which is one of the five UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Ethiopia with rich natural, cultural and religious sites in Northern Ethiopia.

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