Chad - A Case Example


How do we enhance the resilience of teams of people working in complex and sometimes dangerous contexts? We could expand this to almost any context - how can resilience be enhanced for any group of people working together?

Chad is a country in Central Africa, bordered by Libya, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan and Sudan. As such it is right on the edge of a series of interconnected civil wars, uprisings, drought and disease. Not far away is Darfur, an ongoing catastrophe of major proportions.

The principles of Team Resilience are the same in Darfur as they are in London, Dubai, Sydney or Seattle

My colleague, Amber Gray, and I were invited to come to Chad to work with a group of people from more than 15 different organisations. The objective was to assist each organisation to enhance the way in which it supported team and individual resilience. The outcome for the capacity building process was that each agency attending the program would leave the training with a clear strategic plan specific to their organisation.

The strategic plan would clearly identify;

  • Goal owners
  • Operational objectives
  • Action steps
  • Relevant agency Policies and Practices
  • Time line deliverables
  • Staffing needs
  • Funding estimates and funding sources
  • Cooperative relationships
  • Coaching and Mentoring actions

The success of the Capacity Building process was dependent on;

  • Extensive multi-cultural experience
  • A wealth of front-line humanitarian exposure
  • Intimate knowledge of how organisations function
  • Knowledge of how funding processes really work
  • Recognition that local participants are experts
  • An ability to meld knowledge and wisdom across cultures
  • A refusal to use mental health labels to categorise behaviour or experience
  • A focus on local sustainability
  • The requirement that the organisations sending participants commit, in writing, to implementation
  • Humility
The relationship between 'person' and 'context' is the key to successful resilience enhancement. Outsiders disregard local wisdom at their peril

In order to be successful, and Resilience capacity processes has to be devoid of ego on the part of the facilitator. While a facilitator can provide structure and direction, the wisdom and expertise as to what constitutes resilience and thriving in specific contexts will most often come from those who live, work and play in that context.

Too often external experts arrive in Boardrooms, Senior Management Teams, families or refugee camps projecting an image of 'special knowledge', an image that can overlook local wisdom and expertise. Humility is the core characteristic to any kind of cross or multi-cultural capacity building.


You can (and should!) contact Amber Gray at;

Check out her website at


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