Arab region // Shiraka participants reunite in Tunisia

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“Everybody wants a change, but nobody wants to change”. With this message our change management trainer Renzo van Diepen kicked-off the Tunisia chapter of the Shiraka training. This message highlights why organizational change is difficult and why many attempts fail. But not for our Shiraka participants! Full of energy and motivation, they arrived in Tunis to be immersed in three days of interactive knowledge exchange and mutual learning, change management and study visits.

For the coming years, CILC is proud to be implementing both the Shiraka Legislation training as well as the Shiraka Administration of Justice training. Shiraka gives judicial civil servants from the Arab-region the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills and share experiences with their peers on how to lead and inspire judicial reform in their institution. The first training took place in The Hague in June 2019, where they had the chance to engage with Dutch legal experts and institutions. The training in Tunis marks the close of the first year of Shiraka trainings. Combining both the Legislation and Administration of Justice groups brought together almost 50 prosecutors, legislative drafters and judges – amongst others – from 10 different countries in the Arab-region. This served as a good basis to share best practices and lessons learned across different professions and legal systems.

During our time in Tunis, the groups visited a number of judicial institutions namely, the High Judicial Institute, High Judicial Council and Administrative Court. These visits not only helped to expand the participants’ networks, it also fostered lively debates and comparisons about each other’s legal systems and working methods. These study visits provide a mirror to one owns work place and ways of working. It enables visibility into what can be improved, but also into what there is to be proud of.

In between the training in The Hague and Tunis, participants were asked to implement a back-home assignment. The back-home assignment is designed to help participants develop themselves as change agents within their organizations. In Tunis, both Shiraka groups mixed and mingled with the purpose of sharing their experiences, challenges and learnings in implementing the back-home assignment. Recurring challenges included barriers between leadership and staff, bureaucracy and lack of availability or easy access of in-house knowledge and information. Interestingly, the participants also shared their ideas on how to tackle these challenges such as through working in groups, allowing for increased horizontal communication and enhancing accessibility and transparency of information and decision-making through further digitalization of the work floor.

Having shared their experiences and initial ideas on how to become change agents, Renzo van Diepen further engaged both groups in an interactive session and further boosted their motivation for realizing change. The session particularly focused on building skills to deal with resistance. Participants were confronted with all kinds of barriers and resistance to change through games and role-play. This helped them to prepare for what may await them when returning back to their institutions, by providing them with the right toolkit, tips and tricks. Participants expressed their appreciation and the usefulness of the Shiraka training, promising to stay in touch with one another so we can continue supporting each other in leading change.

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