TENONO: Meet Justine HOUNSANME, participant in the training



As part of its capacity building programs, XOESE launched on October 6, the first session of the TENONO training on the organizational resilience of FRANCOPHONE WOMEN’S ASSOCIATIONS and GROUPS.
At the halfway point, we have the feedback of one of the participants, representative of the organization “Réseau des ONG et associations de Femmes contre la Féminisation du VIH SIDA (ROAFEM)” acting in Benin, an organization we have been supporting since 2020.

Who are you?

My name is Dr. Justine HOUZANMÈ, Socio-anthropologist, coordinator of the Network of NGOs and associations of women against the feminization of HIV AIDS and gender-based violence (ROAFEM) in Benin. Our main targets are women, youth, adolescents and people living with disabilities.

Why are you participating in the TENONO training?

I applied as the coordinator, then I encouraged two (02) other collaborators to apply but finally I was the one who was selected.
I participated in the training first because the subject of resilience was interesting and I was also the coordinator as mentioned above.

What are your impressions of the training?

The training already in the form is sufficiently fluid, the pedagogy is used and it is not difficult to follow, the themes are really fluid. Exercises that allow all participants to interact on the theme to give their understanding and their point of view are effective, which is related to the process of training.
In the content, these are themes that appeal to us as managers of structures that want to see the sustainability of these organizations to which we have devoted much of our time. It allows us to have tips for good management, to put back “safeguards” to allow our structure to get out of the crises inherent to the functioning of the management of resources (human, material, financial. In short, everything that concerns the organization and its institutional environment since it speaks of relations with others, it also speaks of mobilization of resources that will be done by going to other people, other structures and other associations.

What were your expectations?

The first expectation is to know what we mean by organizational resilience. For me, resilience was related to the physical being and not to organizations. So it was first of all curiosity to see what we are really talking about and that was satisfying because it is our daily life but we don’t put the word and we don’t also always react as we should.

Have you ever had to share what you have learned from this training with the team and or around you?

Yes, within the structure there are weekly coordination meetings, so these are privileged moments to discuss what happened during the week and what was learned during the session and to start putting into practice what was done.

Since you started the training, have you noticed a change and/or a difference, in other words a before and after in your structure. If so, can you give us some examples?

A before, yes. Because we have “safeguards” that have expired. For example, the strategic plan and the procedure manual are documents that allow the structure to readjust itself and with this training the need or the urgency has become a priority, so planning has been done. We intend to use the opportunity offered with the small financial support that sanctions the training to be able to have the necessary resources to do this work that has become a priority for us (it is at the level of “safeguards”).

In terms of personnel management, it is true that we say that a man is responsible for the means, so we do it and we follow a little how the collaborator implements it, but with the training it seemed important to us to go on a case by case basis in terms of management concerning the collaborators when I entrust an action, I analyze the type of management that I have to apply to this collaborator; this was not effective in my structure but with the TENONO session, more particularly from session 3 onwards, we started to adapt it to the daily life of our structure.

Did you have difficulties to participate in the training and then to put into practice what you learned?

Yes, I missed the first session because I was on a mission and there was no internet in the coverage area. I learned from this experience and I rearranged my schedule so that I would not have any more connection problems from the second session on. As far as the implementation within my structure is concerned, there was no particular difficulty because as I said at the end of each week we discuss the different themes debated during the session and we get the main points, so there were no worries.

What was the most memorable part of this training?

The passage of Kayissan Dominique Atayi, all that she shared with us, all that she herself represents, it seems that the theme of resilience sticks to her as a person and as a structure. From her personal experiences, I have learned three major lessons: to keep authority, to have competence, to make sure that her collaborators are not mono-tasked but multi-tasked so that the absence of one does not lead to a delay in the realization of activities.

Your final word please!

The biggest word is a league for XOESE for having allowed us to put the names on these different aspects of the life of our associations and structures and for having allowed us to note its important tricks so that our associations are more impactful in their environment and are first viable. Because the diversification of resources for example, is to allow us to live and achieve our goals.
A big thank you to XOESE that I reassure that TENONO is not an additional training for ROAFEM but that it is important knowledge that will allow us to really move forward as desired.