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Lessons Learnt from Sauti Za Utu

by Joan Letting, Linking & Learning Facilitator, Voice in Kenya


In March this year, I was privileged to lead the team at Drylands Learning & Capacity Building Initiative (DLCI), the Voice Linking and Learning Facilitator in Kenya, in organising its annual Linking & Learning event.

The event took place at The One Watamu Bay in Watamu, Kilifi County between the 19th to 23rd of March 2023. The event organised by DLCI in collaboration with the Voice in Kenya team brought together 92 participants from 30 Voice grantee partners including their rightsholders from across the country, WE LEAD, Voice in Kenya and DLCI.


A photo of four participants posing together with a photobooth frame.
Joan Letting (third from the left) together with co-grantee partners during the Sauti Za Utu event


In this short article, I would like to share with you my thoughts on the process of coordinating such a one-of-a-kind event. Organising a linking and learning event for grantee partners was a rewarding and challenging experience. Here are some lessons I took to heart:

1. Communication: Communication is key to the success of any event. Effective communication before, during, and after the event is important to ensure that all participants are aware of the event’s objectives, schedule, and logistics. Communication should be as clear as possible.

2. Teamwork: Working as a team will see one complete tasks as fast and as efficiently as possible. Thank you DLCI and Voice team. You did amazing! Shoutout to the amazing CEO Jarso Mokku and the fantastic and very supportive Voice in Kenya team Diana Moreka and Mengo Mengo.

3. Clear objectives: It’s essential to have clear objectives for the event. These objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This will help you to plan the event effectively and ensure that the event meets its intended purpose.

4. Planning and preparation: The success of the event largely depends on planning and preparation. You need to develop a detailed plan, including a timeline, budget, and logistical arrangements. For transport, we engaged a travel agent to save us the headache but we still had to provide all names and ID numbers for flight booking.

5. Engagement: Engaging participants is crucial to the success of the event. Encourage participants to share their experiences, challenges, and successes. Provide opportunities for networking and collaboration, such as unconference sessions and group activities.

6. Evaluation: Evaluating the event is critical to understanding its impact and identifying areas for improvement. Collect feedback from participants and stakeholders and use this feedback to improve future events. We used jotform to gather feedback from the participants.

7. Flexibility: It’s essential to be flexible and adapt to unforeseen circumstances that may arise during the event. Have contingency plans in place and be prepared to adjust the schedule or activities as needed. This is key. A crisis always has a way of cropping in. It is important to think on your feet as a leader. Make sound decisions fast.


A photo of two participants holding placards saying "Leave No One Behind" and "I am Untamed"
Linking and Learning participants having some photobooth fun!


A woman participant posing for the camera while holding a photobooth frame.
Sumeiya Ali from Stretchers Youth Organization during the Linking and Learning event


To get a fuller understanding of how these learnings emerged, you may read here the other article I wrote telling the story of our collective learning and togetherness during the Sauti Za Utu: The Annual Linking & Learning event in Kenya.


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