(We recommend that you read Part 1, before continuing)
Every process, program, or procedure can be illustrated in a journey from start to finish. Whether it’s buying a car, selecting a master’s program or volunteer teaching on Lesvos, the person in the center of that process is on a journey where they experience highs and lows that can reveal opportunities for improvement through capacity building. Journey mapping is standard in innovation toolkits and despite all the recent talk about innovation in education in humanitarian contexts, we haven’t seen much use of this simple tool in our community of NGOs on the Balkan Peninsula working with displaced communities. This included us, until recently, when we realized that we had not properly identified the underlying reasons for the problems we had been seeing in the field among teachers providing non-formal education to students who have been forcibly displaced and are now living on the Balkan Peninsula in a constant state of uncertainty. We decided to take a step back and do a simple journey mapping exercise.
There are many different ways to journey map and you can find endless resources online to help you. Here is one by IDEO that is easy to follow.
We mapped the experience of a teacher who has decided to go into the field to volunteer or work in NFE for displaced learners. The solution or support that we’ll be evaluating are the 5 ‘service’ stages which the NGO accepting the volunteer teacher is essentially responsible for designing and managing:
Stage 1: Recruitment
Stage 2: Pre-service orientation
Stage 3: In-service training and support
Stage 4 Handover to incoming teachers and knowledge management
Stage 5 Post-service engagement
We asked the workshop participants, who were made up of teachers and education coordinators from 5 separate organizations in Greece, to describe on post-it notes their experience at each stage of the journey. The green post-its were used for a positive experience and placed above the neutral line. The red post-its were used to describe a negative feeling or experience and placed below the neutral line. The yellow post-its were used for a ‘meh’ feeling and placed on the line in the middle.
Once all the data was placed on the map, we stood back and looked to see what it revealed. We looked at the journey as a whole and at each stage to see where improvements to the processes could be made in order to turn the ‘pains’ (red post-its) into ‘gains’ (green post-its) in the future.
In our next blog post (part 3), we will present the findings from this exercise, and the recommendations it provides for future improvements.