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How to Facilitate Writeshops - Approaches & tools for writing stories and learning from practice

How can social change and development practitioners write interesting and thoughtful stories and case studies, to learn from and to communicate to others? How can they do this in collective ways that improve reflection and learning practices? A “Writeshop” is a creative and disciplined method for reflection, learning and documenting stories that are worth sharing. This workshop offers training to facilitators to design and facilitate such Writeshops.

15th May 2017 to 16th May 2017
Event City: 
Den Haag
Event State/Province: 
Event cost: 
Event type: 

Facilitated by the Barefoot Guide Connection – Based on the experience of facilitating Writeshops for the development of Barefoot Guides.

Social change and development organisations and practitioners struggle to tell and to learn from their own rich stories and to communicate these to others. The few tools they have, in the dry formats for reporting to donors, are usually too simplistic and dry. Through the collective processes of writing the Barefoot Guides (see we have developed an approach and tools that enable, encourage and support field practitioners to reflect on stories collectively and to become writers of their own stories. In Writeshops, practitioners write to learn, and learn to write.

Barefoot Guide to Learning Chapter 12 page16 image1


This is a two-day course for inhouse facilitators, who support, or wish to support, learning processes in their teams or organisations, using writing as an approach to collectively surface, deepen and share practices in any field of development or social change, including key experiences, lessons and implications for the future. From this it becomes possible to develop written products for wider education.

Who should participate?

This Writeshop is for practitioners who (wish to) facilitate collective learning and writing processes in the teams they work with. They should have some experience in small group facilitation.

Barefoot Guide to Learning Chapter 14 page12 image1

Our Course Approach

The participants will take home ideas and skills of how to effectively use several writing process designs and tools, like the Action Learning Cycle, the Outside/Inside Story, Listening at Three Levels and Free-writing, focused on helping others to write stories and case studies. They will also learn about how to help practitioners deal with writer’s block and to more effectively learn and co-write with their peers.

A detailed toolkit will be provided to each participant, in hard and soft copy, containing guidance and handouts for use in their own Writeshops.

The Facilitators

▪ Doug Reeler from the Community Development Resource Association (CDRA)
▪ Akke Schuurmans from MCNV
▪ Cristina Temmink, independent facilitator

The Date: 15 to 16 May 2017

The Venue:

Classroom 4.25 
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) 
Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX Den Haag, Netherlands 
Google Maps link

If you would like to participate please click on this link to register.


The fee is 400 Euro, payable on registration.

The earlybird fee is 350 Euro if paid by 15 April 2017.

The fee money can be paid to: 
Account Holder: MCNV 
Number: IBAN NL90 TRIO 0338 5367 60 
Reference: Writeshop

Inexpensive lunches can be bought at the cafetaria. Lunch is not included in the fee.

Learn more

Visit the BetterEvaluation Option Page on Writeshops

​Read the BetterEvaluation Writeshop Cases

Evaluation rubrics

This report provides a detailed description of an evaluation, written by Judy Oakden, as part of the first BetterEvaluation writeshop process, led by Irene Guijt. Peer reviewers for this report were Carolyn Kabore and Irene Guijt. 

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Retrospective 'Outcome Harvesting'

This paper describes the use of the Outcome Harvesting approach to evaluate a global voluntary network. It is the second paper published as part of the BetterEvaluation writeshop series. The authors are Kornelia Rassmann, Richard Smith, John Mauremootoo and Ricardo Wilson-Grau. The reviewers were Irene Guijt and Willy Pradel. 

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Two sides of the evaluation coin

Unusually perhaps, this article is written jointly by the commissioner and the contractor of a recent evaluation. The process was rich, complex, at times difficult and a learning experience for all of us involved. Quite extraordinarily, we agreed to review the process of this evaluation between us and had already started sharing ideas on what could be learned from our experiences before finding this opportunity to contribute to BetterEvaluation. 

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Mixing methods for rich and meaningful insight

The different perceptions of participants regarding the effectiveness of a project can, at times, be hard to identify. Therefore it can become extremely difficult to effectively incorporate these differences of opinion into an evaluation so that they make sense. This article provides a detailed examination of how this was done during a project among small vegetable producers in the Andes in 2010. 

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 Evaluation of a community managed forest project

This paper gives a practical description of an evaluation of the World Vision Humbo Community Managed Natural Regeneration project in Ethiopia. The evaluator and author, Carolyn Kaboré, discusses the challenges of evaluating a high profile project and describes the methods used to carry out the evaluation, and why they were chosen.

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Listening to smaller voices

This paper details the evaluation of a Life Skills programme implemented by Family Health International (FHI 360), India. The evaluator and author, Sonal Zaveri, describes the evaluation process used to determine how the programme had changed (or not) the lives of children who were infected, orphaned, affected or vulnerable to HIV.

Read more.