Co-Creation? What in the world does that mean in the context of our many different NGOs with many different focus areas, diverse cultures, and unique challenges? How can that be boiled down to one universal product?
Turns out, it can’t. And, that was the purpose of the co-creation process. NGO partners are very focused on the day-to-day needs of the population we each serve – and that is what made the exchange so fruitful. Bringing us all together allowed us, as experts on our own lives, through the great facilitation provided by the Macquarie staff and other NGOs, to draw-out the joys and challenges of what we do.
Whether looking at the interconnectedness of social justice issues or sharing stories of workplace culture clashes, we were able to feed off each other and share solutions (or just commiserate). As participants came from varied backgrounds, they definitely had diverse ways of looking at the same issue and were able to articulate those experiences to help create allies across NGOs, and hopefully with our future PACE students.
As a supervisor of PACE volunteers, one thing that is very evident is that the success of a participant has far more to do with the student’s attitude and openness to different perspectives, work styles, cultures, and challenges; the co-creation process highlighted these and led to teaching materials that can be shared to better prepare the students to succeed in their NGO placements. We are excited to start receiving students oriented with these new materials!