“We unveiled shared challenges and triumphs, laying the groundwork for open and respectful discussions.”

This atumn the Swedish Institute’s new initiative SI Toolbox Masterclass has brought together SI alumni, who have implemented new leadership and advocacy methods in their organisations during three months. We have talked to one of the participants, Thirukumar Premakumar, the executive director at International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP) in Sri Lanka.
A group of young people standing together in what seems to be a djungle like landscape.

SI Toolbox Masterclass has brought together more than 20 SI alumni for an exclusive online leadership training. The participants – all civil society leaders – are working for Sustainable Development Goal 16 (just, peaceful and inclusive societies) in organisations from 20 different countries across the globe. 

The core of the masterclass has been to lead collaborative processes for advocacy and leadership methods in teams and organisations. The alumni have been provided with a new set of carefully curated tools to support them to lead collaboration that can accelerate their organisations impact. The participants have planned their own workshops to implement the tools in their organisation, with help from easy-to-use step by step guides and video instructions. They have also had access to individual coaching support from experienced trainers. 

One of the participants, Thirukumar Premakumar is working as the executive director at International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP) in Sri Lanka. His organisation supports young people with the skills they need to lead, resolve conflicts, and build peaceful communities. “We’re all about inclusivity and accountability, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard, and we tirelessly advocate for policies that embrace the energy and potential of young people.” 

When being asked about how he has applied the tools from the masterclass in his work he says: 

“The decision to weave the tools of personal storytelling and active listening into our sessions turned out to be a game-changer. With our programme we encourage youth engagement in political reforms across Colombo, Hambantota, and Jaffna in Sri Lanka and a few key lessons and moments of growth stand out when I look back on our journey. By encouraging storytelling, we unveiled shared challenges and triumphs, laying the groundwork for open and respectful discussions. It truly allowed our participants to connect on a personal level and navigate through serious topics with a shared sense of understanding. The inclusion of active listening exercises played a vital role in fostering a deeper connection among participants.” 

One valuable takeaway he mentions is the potential to infuse more fun into the experience:

“Introducing methods such as icebreaker games, interactive workshops, and visuals could add an element of enjoyment to the learning process. Allowing time for reflection and bringing in guest speakers or creative storytelling techniques could also inject more vibrancy into the sessions. By embracing a mix of activities and staying open to spontaneity, we aim to create an experience that not only informs but also captivates participants in the varied landscapes of Colombo, Hambantota, and Jaffna.” 

The toolbox has been used in the Swedish Institute leadership programme SI Leader Lab. Read more about SI Leader Lab here.