Report on Transition Year Global Health Workshop

February 26, 2013

Volunteering for the Irish Forum for Global Health (IFGH) has provided me with an opportunity to enhance my social networks and deepen my career development on issues relating to global health and development. Most recently, I participated in one of the workshops organized by the forum for transition year students in Donabate community college to introduce them to Global Health issues. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Centre for Global Health, Trócaire, and the IFGHand targeted students of ages between fifteen to seventeen years who are soon joining the senior high school, currently in their optional Transition Year which aims to impart experience and prepare students for their future endeavours.

The key topics presented during this workshop included HIV and AIDS, health and human rights, gender and inclusion, power and the determinants of health. These topics were discussed in an open and participatory manner. The process gave me a deeper and more insightful meaning to the value of the IFGH by learning from fellow facilitators and participants. More importantly, the nature of facilitation opened wider discussions and dialogue among participants to share their experience and understanding of key issues confronting global health and development today.

I was inspired by the methods of delivery, which encouraged sharing of participants’ experience and understanding. I view this as a critical resource in the learning and delivery of IFGH messages and materials. I am prompted to mention exercises such as timed presentations, brainstorming on cause-effect relations of health issues and the student debate – all driven by the participants – as critically valuable for such workshops as they allowed self-expression and the foregrounding of personal experience that brings valuable insights from various participants into play.

I have always considered that workshops and learning events with a focus on issues that are relevant to participants tend to attract their active participation and engagement. This is because the participants can draw a direct link between what is learned from their own life situations and “can apply these in real life settings”1. Relating this to an exercise during the workshop, I noted that when filling the problem trees and lifelines participants brought in real life examples of what goes on in a teenager’s life and how availability or absence of support systems may influence the overall outcome or consequences at a later stage in life. Experience in life has taught me that exposure to real life issues and experiences gives clarity and guidance to the young generation on what professions to take on in life, and their usefulness as guiding principles in their future work.

The two-minute presentation gongs delivered by students at the end of the workshop highlighted some important learning points. First, learning occurs at different levels even among peers. Second, exposure leads to the quest for more information. Using the presentations and debate as a method of assessing how much the participants had learnt, we were able to clarify issues, which could have been misunderstood.  Using the methods, I began to understand the meaning of “say it yourself”. While the participants were assisted in preparation for the presentation, the passion with which they laid their views on the table exhibited a degree of comprehension that without opportunity from facilitators for participation may have curtailed the intended message and resulted in both lower understanding and engagement. Workshops like these encourage stakeholder participation and feed into the primary level global health workshops to be held later in the year. Participating in these workshops helped me to better understand the different ways in which health is a global matter and how everyone, regardless of age, is a stakeholder in achieving better health standards for development.


Josephine K.  Nabaggala

Kimmage Development Masters

[email protected]


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