We just finished the Designing Behavior Change workshop yesterday. It was four full days of learning the technicalities of how to select an appropriate behavior you would like to see change, how to define your priority group and who influences them, how to figure out what stage of change they are currently in, what is keeping them from changing their behavior, how to pick appropriate activities to omplement the change, and how to measure your results. It was a pretty intense couple of days, but I'm really glad I participated. We each brought our homologue, but unfortunately mine had to leave halfway through the workshop. Working with Beninese is both really rewarding and sometimes frustrating. The portion of the workshop run by an American was appreciated more by the volunteers, and the part run by a West African (she was from Burkina Faso) was appreciated more by the Beninese. I think the homologues really enjoyed the workshop- it was many of their first times to Cotonou! They got to stay in a nice hotel, get fed good food, and, of course, they got the requisite certificate at the end of the week :) They looove their certificates! (Seriously, I would bet you that 75% of them already have it framed and hanging in their house) Several people brought female homologues to the workshop which was exciting. Beninese women are definitely reserved in groups like that and it was fun encouraging them to open up throughout the week.
I mentioned that my homologue had to leave halfway through the week. The director and censeur (like a vice principal) were both moved to other schools, so Blaise (my homologue) is the only member of the administration who didn't change schools. He had to be there to show them the ropes and get the school ready for the start of the new year. (Technically, school started yesterday, which means they will spend the next 2-3 weeks setting up peoples' schedules and cleaning up the school, and FINALLY start teaching by mid-October.) I don't think the administration change should effect me too much, I will just have to let them know what my duties as a Peace Corps Volunteer are there.
Throughout the week there were tons of people at the bureau, which meant spending too much money on nice dinners: I had a cheeseburger (brought my own cheese to the restaurant and saved myself almost $5!), Indian food, AND Italian... there goes my budget for a while! Luckily, we got per diem for the workshop. It was really good spending time with TEFL volunteers, almost everyone from my year was down here. I think I will see them all again for Thanksgiving- we had such an amazing one last year that we are going to do it again this year!
I am heading back to my post today, but will have to come back on Monday for my mid-service medical exam. I got a new phone (my old one was shutting itself down a lot) so call me! :)