Course Details - Facilitating Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships to Foster Sustainable and Inclusive Food Systems

Multiple stakeholders, multiple interests!

Today’s world is faced by many complex issues: the over-use of natural resources, climate change, continuing poverty and inequality. Quite simply, these complex problems require innovative solutions that call for new ways of working together across the boundaries of business, government and civil society.

However, good processes don't just happen, they need to be designed and facilitated. Specifically, they need to be designed and facilitated on the basis of a sound rationale for change based on a good understanding of the context, with a clear purpose and vision in mind, and based on principles for transformative change.

This obviously implies some quite specific facilitation capacities and skills - from the capacity to engage with the complex political context underpinning the rationale for the MSP, to the capacity to work with individuals and groups in a way that enables them to challenge themselves and each other in the quest for new approaches and collaborative learning. The course covers state-of-the-art thinking about designing and facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships and institutional change.

Using and learning from your own experiences

The course is highly interactive and builds on the participants’ own experiences and cases of MSPs. You will have active discussions, work on group assignments, engage in role-plays and undertake fieldwork to explore a real-life MSP. You will practice with a wide range of participatory methodologies and tools. The course facilitators follow a flexible programme that allows adaptation to the specific needs of individuals and the group.

Becoming a good process facilitator

At the end of the course you will feel confident to design and facilitate complex change processes, in which diverse stakeholders are able to meet, share experiences, learn together and contribute to decisions.


The main topics of the course are:

  1. INTRODUCTION: What is an MSP? Where is it applicable? What are the different types?
  2. RATIONALE: Why do we need MSPs? Introductions to complexity thinking, systems thinking, institutional change, experiential learning, Theory of Change.
  3. PRINCIPLES: What are the key elements for successful MSPs? Embrace systemic change; transform institutions; work with power; deal with conflict; communicate effectively; promote collaborative leadership; foster participatory learning. Using interactive processes and tools to achieve this.
  4. PRACTICE: How to design and facilitate MSPs? Different phases of an MSP: initiating, adaptive planning, collaborative action and reflective monitoring. Reflections on group dynamics, preferred communication and facilitation styles.

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