Inspiring People. Growing Organizations. Strengthening Communities.

News Updates

New Publication! Facilitation And Evaluation

I co-edited this issue of New Directions in Evaluation to bridge the views of these two fields. More



How will we write the next chapter of the story of race in America?

Using Art of Hosting and Conflict Transformation: An event in Houston, Texas.    More


New Results on Girls' Lives in Afar

Why is it hard to change attitudes about girls' education? Because in poor countries, it's more complex than you may think. Check out the results of this study funded by Girlhub Ethiopia More


Photo courtesy of Girlhub Ethiopia ©2013


Arts in Evaluation

My webinar on the use of Arts in Evaluation is now available online.  More


Rita's Blog

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Oct 6, 2015
Category: Africa 
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Education 
Category: Racism 
Category: Leadership 
Category: Why invest in inclusive conversations? 
Category: Inclusive Conversations 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

Once we've decided that having inclusive conversations is important and worth our time, why is it important to build our ability to do so? Can't we just talk? What is there to learn? After all, aren't we just people?

 


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Jul 28, 2015
Category: Africa 
Category: Youth 
Category: Education 
Category: Evaluation 
Category: Ethiopia 
Category: Women and girls 
Category: SenseMaker® 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

In the PAGES project for Girlhub Ethiopia, in March 2014, we explored community attitudes about girls’ education. The Afar region of Ethiopia is predominantly desert; the population is predominantly Muslim and nomadic. Most Afar people live in mobile homes made of sticks, mats, and plastic covers that are gathered into a bundle when it’s time to move.


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Nov 12, 2013
Category: Africa 
Category: Performance 
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Art 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

The challenges of our bodies often parallel that of our minds. An experience with dance that says more about life, conversations, and relationships. 

I am out of breath again…

I’ve been taking African dance classes for 10 years. I love the way the drums energize me. I feel the loud beats pulsing in my veins. My ankles twitch. They want to lift.  I’m enchanted with how dancers’ steps ahead of me match the beat and how their upper torsos follow one drum –ta-ta-ta-ta !– while their lower bodies follow the other –ta- ta!–.


Aug 14, 2013
Category: Africa 
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

My colleague, Alissa Schwartz dreamed in her sleep about a new facilitation structure where a group narrates its history. In a circle, ordered from youngest to oldest, each person shares everything they know about the group’s history. The mystery unfolds as the elders speak towards the end. In this blog I share an experience in which I applied this process. 

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Jul 11, 2013
Category: Africa 
Category: Group dynamics 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

Speaking with Radical Honesty is a relatively easy practice to preach and a really hard thing to do. I first heard the phrase a few years ago, and it lingered in my mind. Our ability to hold the HARD conversations in life is a big part of what defines us. HARD conversations are as an integral part of life as are joy and love.


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Apr 6, 2013
Category: Africa 
Category: Youth 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

In 2012, I hosted a retreat for Kito International an organization in Nairobi, Kenya that trains street youth to establish their own businesses and move towards self-sufficiency. The founder Wiclif Otieno is an ex-street youth himself. In a country with a 75% unemployment rate for people ages 18-35, it is a painful truth that 300,000 youth live on the street. 
Our purpose for the day was to envision the best possible future for the Kawangware community of Kito’s site and to identify ways to move in that direction. 


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Mar 1, 2013
Category: Africa 
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Category: Evaluation 
Category: Women and girls 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

On a recent work trip to Ethiopia, I led and facilitated a group of 15 researchers collecting stories about adolescent girls for Girl Effect with SART, an Ethiopian Research company. We followed a BBC crew showing a documentary about stories of Ethiopian girls.