Oxfam International Australia

March 20, 2019 Polykala

Oxfam International Australia

The team at Polykala are truly interested in the organisations that they work with and adapt their training to suit our needs and culture.

Jody Kelly – People and Culture Business Partner, Oxfam Australia

Polykala is proud to partner with Oxfam Australia to design and deliver their Diversity & Inclusion training program. We began our work with Oxfam with an interactive lecture in 2017 to mark their commitment to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Racism. It Stops with Me. campaign. As a result, Oxfam requested a bespoke program for their Australian staff to help embed their commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Oxfam wanted to equip staff with the practical and cognitive tools to navigate workplace diversity and tackle instances of discrimination. We’ve now trained 80 of their staff in our active-bystander methodology calibrated for their needs as a development NGO.

Our training provides staff with the opportunity to discuss ideas, ventilate opinions and practice new ways of dealing with pop-up incidents at work. The program has a strong emphasis on the practical skill of engaging in difficult conversations using both direct and indirect strategies. We use Forum Theatre, a form of interactive theatre, to give participants a creative way to practice engaging in difficult conversations and use the linguistic, emotional and tactical tools explored during the training. Forum theatre gets participants on their feet, trying out possibilities in real-time, rather than sitting on chairs and imagining what could/would or should be done.

Our training is 25% theory and 75% practice – this ensures ample opportunities to implement concepts and reflect on what works (and doesn’t work so well) when seeking to challenge or disrupt hurtful and insensitive behaviours.

We’ve worked closely with Jody Kelly and the People and Culture team to continually improve the training as it rolls out across their entire workforce, here are Jody’s thoughts on working with Polykala:

“Polykala’s workshop stood out for its approach to educating workplaces on the importance of bystander action. Their work is informative and extremely engaging. We now have an ongoing working relationship with Polykala with the delivery of our Diversity & Inclusion workshops which form part of our ongoing offerings at Oxfam Australia. The workshops are built on participation, a safe space and a theatre-style approach to consolidate learnings.  Their less rigid structure allows all participants to feel a part of the workshop. The feedback is clear – staff feel engaged, challenged and come away with the tools they need to make a difference.”

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