BACOLOD CITY – A large, bold banner at NWTF’s training facility extends a warm welcome to us and the Barefoot MBA. An hour before our scheduled start time today, we arrived to a large multipurpose room – and a handful of students eager to get an early start. We were off to a good start.
Our participants come from a host of organizations in the Philippines plus one in Cambodia. They represent a mix of ages, genders and locations, emphasizing that the Barefoot MBA can apply to anyone and that we all learn from each other. Some knew little about the Barefoot MBA besides its name. Others had poked around our website. At least one had even become a fan on Facebook. All were curious to learn more.
And learn they did. We spent most of the morning giving an overview of the Barefoot MBA and each of the seven topics we’ll cover this week: Student selection, lesson selection, timing and schedule, adaptation, teaching lessons, measuring student outcomes, and follow up / monitoring progress. By the time the participants articulated their takeaways from the morning, it was clear just how much we’d conveyed in a short period of time. Different students have different needs, one participant said. The Barefoot MBA is for everyone, said another. We couldn’t disagree.
We spent the afternoon on student and lesson selection, grouping the participants by organization so they could discuss how to apply their learnings to their clients. Participants saw that though their organizations and clientele differ, some themes were common. They saw, for example, that farmers and manufacturers have different learning needs and that it’s hard to learn investing without first understanding saving.
After a review of the day’s lessons, we enjoyed dinner as a group at a local seafood restaurant, where several NWTF board members joined us.