In autumn 2020 we had the opportunity to guide 12 highly motivated participants and members of the Bosch Alumni Network through our Changemaker Journey. Many moments of inspiration, collaboration and reflection later, we feel grateful when we look back at a journey of self-empowerment.
“The Changemaker Journey was a space to share and to feel that the others go through something similar, mostly struggles that need to be overcome with our inner strengths.” (Venesa Musovic, participant)
The Changemaker Journey is all about enabling participants to develop the inner clarity and capacities which support them as changemakers, to then be able to develop project ideas and take action in uncertainty.
The Bosch Alumni Network brings together former and current fellows, grantees and staff members of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and its partners. By connecting network members with common interests but different backgrounds, cross-sectoral exchange and international collaborations are fostered.
In autumn 2020 we had the opportunity to offer our Changemaker Journey as a capacity building process for the network and its members. Over 30 people applied, and in the end we selected 12 participants, all of them from different countries (India, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Serbia, Israel - to name the first half). Below you can find a numeric evaluation of the Journey and its impact. We will also include different voices of participants to give you a better sense for their experience, such as Venesa Musovic:
“I am a youth worker with a background in cultural anthropology. Currently, I am developing a new service for a non-profit organization based in Belgrade (Serbia), called Beyond Empowering. We develop and offer services for remote teams to practice team and culture building. This role is something that I enjoy very much, it requires creativity, team coordination, people management, team-building, and strategic thinking. Everything I always wanted to combine. This role also requires me to be highly self-aware, present, observant, and let go of my ego in order to create space for people to do their best.”
The project that I am currently doing is just the start of my social business journeys and I want to set myself for success in a mindful way, through methods and techniques that are putting people in the center of actions and remind me of truly important things in life.
Learn more about Beyond Empowering.
Throughout the 10 week Journey, the group met once a week for a two hour online workshop facilitated by Franziska Kohn from Unity Effect, where they explored different topics, tools and methods related to changemaking and personal growth. In the workshops participants also had the opportunity to present and receive feedback on project ideas which were developed throughout the program. Between the workshops, participants met in pairs for peer coaching sessions to dive deeper into the weekly topics. We also shared a workbook with journaling questions and exercises to support their personal growth and learning process.
The main goals were to:
Throughout the sessions, participants were able to address questions of what is really important to them and developed clarity about their personal purpose and values which guides them in making decisions. Another key aspect was collaboration. Participants supported one another with developing ideas, finding potential and connections in their networks and with their personal growth.
“The most important insight was to observe myself fully in the context of my life, my environment, and our global world.” (Venesa Musovic)
But perhaps the most important aspect was to have time to step back from everyday work and life, see the bigger picture and reflect. The value of connecting to others who are facing similar situations and challenges and having the space to be and learn together cannot be emphasised enough in our fast-paced world. It is incredible how much we are able to support each other when we have the time, space and intention to do so.
“I could see what I am capable of, reminding myself that I can do much more than I think I can.” (Venesa Musovic)
We observed a significant shift happening throughout the Journey. In the beginning, most participants planned to use the Journey as an opportunity to develop their projects and organisations. Yet with time, many participants turned their focus inward, reflecting on their own core values, practicing self-care and setting boundaries, and from that place making decisions about their next steps.
These insights are backed up by the evaluation we conducted. We asked participants to rate the relevance of 16 different statements before and after the Journey on a scale from 1 (extreme disagreement) to 10 (full agreement).
Selected statements and their approval rating:
“I enjoyed both the journey, and the changemakers who shared it with me. In particular, I think it helped me to hone in on a better way to continue making an impact. I am happy to say that it is already bearing fruit, and I already have had my work accepted to multiple conferences, part of the commitment I made to myself during our journey. Looking forward to seeing where it will take me!” (Steven Aiello, Director of Debate for Peace and Changemaker Journey participant)
We also asked participants which capacities they believe are the most important for them before and after the Journey. Beforehand, ‘systems thinking’ and ‘courage’ were rated the highest, which shifted significantly. The chart below shows the responses from the post-evaluation:
It’s clear that capacities such as systems thinking are crucial to bring about social change. Yet it’s also clear that bringing about change is difficult, and that many of us struggle to build and maintain the inner and outer conditions to support our action.
The evaluation results - and the feedback we received from Venesa and many others - show that gaining inner clarity is essential. Knowing your values and purpose serves not only as a compass (e.g. for making decisions), but also as a source of inspiration. Or to say it in the words of our participants:
“I learned how important it is to go inside of me/us and take care of what's there first, before we start building tangible things. It also became the essence of my work.” (Venesa Musovic)