Module Script

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  • Use characters that are sexless and nameless (similar approach as CC)
  • Create the module in a way that supports translation
  • Based on events of a real-life Peer Assist

First Draft

The first thing we see would be the objective of a Peer Assist, or rather, the point. Why would someone use a Peer Assist. Something that really catches someone's attention.

Note: What about posting a set of questions ie. Are you struggling with a challenge and feel that you could benefit from the experience of your peers? Are you looking for ways to promote shared learning within a team? Could you benefit by participating in an exercise that generates ideas and insights that you could apply to your own work in the future? If you have answered, 'yes' to any of these questions, stay tuned to find out more...

Animation starts:

Narrator: Meet Assefa. Assefa is an agronomist who, like his colleagues, he has been involved in developing and implementing a research agenda, in developing the capacity of national partners and in creating partnerships with government and non-government research and development institutions. These commitments keep him busy so he is hesitant to take on additional responsibilities. Lately, he has received a number of requests from his colleagues to assist them in establishing new partnerships in his region. He is interested in helping his colleagues out but doesn't feel that he has the time. He has been thinking about this issue a lot lately but it seems too big to solve on his own.

Note: I revised the above in an attempt to make the issue more clear. I am worried though that it may only be more clear to me so would appreciate your review Seems clear to me (LL)

Assefa may find ideas and insights to address his issue through a knowledge sharing process called a Peer Assist.

Narrator: A Peer Assist is an event which brings together individuals (or peers) to share their experiences, insights and knowledge on an identified challenge or problem. While the main objective of the Peer Assist is to help the Peer Assistee identify possible approaches to deal with the challenge in order to work towards solving the problem, the Peer Assist also promotes shared learning within a group.

We now see Assefa pondering his issue…

We now see Assefa with a light bulb

Assefa: (In a bubble) States… "Perhaps I could try this peer assist process... what have I got to lose?"

We see a door that Assefa goes through…

Inside we see a small group of characters… Assefa is talking to them to ask them to be his "peers". Assefa is seen on the phone talking to another character, then to another.Note from LL: in this scenario, Assefa is the one organizing the peer assist, which is why I had him talking to people in a room and on the phone, asking them if they'll participate. It can be changed though if we want someone else to organize, which is what I think Allison had in mind when she had the facilitator be the organizer ( why is Assefa on the phone? Are the peers not in the room with him? This point leads me to think that the person with the challenge is the one organizing the Peer Assist event. Is this the case?)

Narrator: Before the peer assist can take place, Assefa needs to contact his colleagues to invite them to the event. These colleagues can work directly with Assefa in the same organisation, or do similar work in other organisations. The number of invited peers can fluctuate in each peer assist but usually works best with a group of 8-10 people. Assefa has invited 8 colleagues to join tomorrow's one-hour peer assist process.

Narrator (“Freeze Frame”): Tonight, Assefa will need to practice telling the story in order to be clear and succinct. He needs to clearly articulate the issue or challenge in no more than 5 minutes. The "peer assistee" must make sure that the problem is "a real" experience and not "made-up". Also, the "peer assistee" has to select an issue that is concrete, and seved itself well to group problem-solving.

[Animation starts up again, and Assefa is talking to one character intensely. This person is being approached to be the peer assist facilitator.] Note from LL: The person who organizes the peer assist usually selects the facilitator but the peer assitee could also ask for someone in particular. In this case, I had Assefa as organizer so that's why he selected Eskadar. (I ask myself how are facilitator's selected? Is it the peer assistee that chooses all of the volunteers?)

Narrator: Another very important part of the peer assist process is that it is a facilitated event. The facilitator helps to ensure that the environment is a collegial one and that everything goes smoothly. Assefa has just asked Eskadar to act as the peer assist facilitator.

Narrator (“Freeze Frame”): Tomorrow, Eskadar will need to facilitate the discussion in order to promote fair and equal participation and therefore paraphrase and summarize ideas. After participants have listened to Assefa's story, Eskadar will encourage questions for clarification from the participants. If there is little input during the discussion, Eskadar will do a tour-de-table ( Eskadar will ask each participant for individual input.) Eskadar will remind participants that all suggestions are valid and should not be criticized. All of the suggestions will be put on a flip chart for future use. Eskadar will write legibly and in large font so everyone can read the notes.

Narrator: A 10-minute discussion between the Peer Assistee and the facilitator prior to the actual Peer Assist Process ensures that the problem is well understood. At this point in time, Assefa and Eskadar will discuss the process and agree on respective roles. Assefa will practice telling the story and Eskadar will provide feedback. Assefa will also provide facilitation tips and addresse any concerns Eskadar may have. Assefa and Eskadar are now ready for the main event.

The next day… (We could have words scrolling or a sunshine moving from one end to the other to demonstrate that time has passed…) ______________________________________________

The Peer Assist Day

Narrator: Assefa and Eskadar arrive 15 minutes early to prepare for the session. They have brought with them a flipchart and two markers and have arranged the chairs in a circle around the flipchart. On the flipchart, they write the title for the session and 3 key points which will help to highlight Assefa's issue when he later explains it to the group.

Title: Improving the integration of regional scientists in proposal development (May be difficult for English Second language speakers) Note from LL: How about: "Better integration of researchers in the development of partnerships"

Key Points:

  • Interest in extending partnership with colleagues
  • Lack of involvement in the development of partnership proposals ( Is this stated in the initial problem? )Note from LL: How about: "Lack of time for involvement in the development of partnership proposals"
  • Would like to have input to integrate ideas and consideration given for my time ( We need to reword this a little )Note from LL: How about: "Looking for input on how to be involved in developing partnerships, given his time constraints"

These are hung on the walls (or another flipchart)

We could include these tips here... Note: ( I think it may be best to add the tips at the end with the key points as a summary) Sure, that's fine with me (LL)

  • Once the issue has been outlined by the Peer Assistee, encourage questions for clarification from participants
  • Facilitate the discussions to promote fair and equal participation – paraphrase, summarize and draw people out.
  • If there is little input, or a handful of people dominate, do a tour-de-table and ask for individual input (participants have the option to pass).
  • If necessary, remind participants that all suggestions are valid and should not be criticized
  • Record the ideas legibly and in large font on a flipchart. Graphics can be useful.

(The peers begin to arrive and we see Assefa and Eskedar welcoming them into the room and inviting them to take a seat).

Assefa: In a Bubble and a voice we hear Assefa welcome and thank the group for taking the time to help him out. He introduces Eskedar as the facilitator for the session. He states the title of the Peer Assist and explains how the process will work. Note change: This may be a bit redundant, as the viewer already knows who the facilitator is and we are already explaining how the peer assist works through the animation and we already know the title. I suggest taking the above bubble out as well as the # points below. Works for me (LL)

  1. I will provide context and a brief outline of his issue
  2. Eskedar will then 'take over' as facilitator and ask for questions of clarification only.
  3. You will then be asked to offer ideas and insights primarily based on their own experiences

Assefa: Does anyone have any questions?

Cher Ring-well: I would like to know how long the peer assist process takes. Assefa: Ah yes tahnk you, I forgot to mention that part. This process will take 45 minutes.

Narrator: Assefa begins to explain the issue...

Note: If we can make the issue very clear and captivating at the beginning, I would suggest cutting it out below because the viewer already knows the issue. The objective is to demonstrate the process so I don't think it is necessary to focus on the problem again Perhaps we could have like a Charlie Brown voice for a couple of seconds or a Bla Bla Bla in the bubble...any suggestions? I quite like the Chalie Brown people idea ;-) (LL)

Eskedar: Does anyone have any questions?

(We might want to include a question for clarification by having a peer raise their hand ie. s/he could be confused about Assefa's home base in relation to HQ. Assefa could explain that he works in East Africa while HQ is located in Columbia).

Joy Nin: I would like to know...

Eskedar: Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? There is a show of hands and she counts off the peers who have their hands in the air then takes input from Peer 1:

Aiden Amigo: I suggest that Assefa revises and balances his time between research, partnership development and administration responsibilities. Note from LL: other name idea... Helpa Pal ;-)

Eskedar writes the point on the flipchart and follows-up by asking: What could Assefa do to revise and balance his time.

The ideas continue and Eskedar is seen performing her role of facilitator with Assefa jumping in when clarification or further elaboration is needed.

(Time elapses. We see conversation facilitated by Eskedar and flichart pages filled with ideas.

Note: Perhaps the following technique can be cut and added to our tips section Sure, it's already there anyway, point 3 (LL)

Narrator: Observes that the session is approaching its 40 minute mark approaches and that most of the ideas have come from one side of the group (or the women in the group). Narrator highlights a technique that Eskedar could use draw others out. Eskedar is seen and heard pointing out this observation and asks if the men or those on the other side of the circle want to add anything. A new hand goes up and a final idea is shared from someone in the group.

Narrator: It is useful for Eskedar and Assefa to review with the group what has been captured on the flipchart in order to make sure that it is reflective of what has been said in the session.

Narrator:Assefa thanks the group and tells them that he has two follow-up items: (1) to send the typed up notes by the end of day Note: To whom? To the people who participated in the Peer Assist (LL) (we could show a template document with headings to be captured - Issue Topic, Names of Peer Assistee, Facilitator and Peers, Context, Highlights of Issue, Suggestions/Ideas. Note: Do you already have this template? I don't... Allison, do you? It would just be a sheet of paper with those categories on it in the animation, nothing special.(LL) (2) to provide an update, in six months time, on his situation.

Animation ends…

We will find ourselves on a page that shows us the key points or a summary of a Peer Assist.

Peer Assist:

  • A Peer Assist is an event which bringa individuals together to share their experiences, insights and knowledge on an identified challenge or problem.


  • The main objective of the Peer Assist is to help the Peer Assistee identify possible approaches to overcoming a challenge by solving a problem collaboratively. The Peer Assist also promotes shared learning and develops networks amongst those invited.


  • Choose an issue or challenge which is authentic, i.e. something personal
  • Choose an issue or challenge that will lend itself to group problem-solving
  • Be open to all suggestions from the participants; avoid getting into a “yes, but…” defensive mode

Note: I think I recall seeing more tips in the original sheets we were given... LL note: this is where the tips above (originally at the start of the peer assist day) would go?

Note: Below you have included the steps to the Rotating Peer Assist. I would first explain in a few words that the Peer Assist could also be done as a Rotating Peer Assist. However, I'm not sure that I would add all of this information on the Rotating Peer Assist after our animation on a single Peer Assist. The reason being that the steps differ a little and instead of clarifying, it may confuse the viewer. I might add this information on the Peer Assist Website that already exists. I may add something that tells the viewer where they could find more information...

Perhaps at this point I would briefly bring Assefa back as if 6 months had gone by... and show him with the problem solved... or show him contacting the peers with the solution...I think people like happy endings... LL note: I am personally torn between the happy ending (which I also enjoy!) and bringing up the rotating peer assist. I agree that it might be too much to digest in one go and that it might confuse viewers... but at the same time, it would be great for them to know that multiple peer assists are possible with a bigger group. Could we have an animation of multiple groups doing them, with a voice-over saying that it's possible to do so and that it'll be explain in Part 2? This would be a kind of teaser. Then, within the same flash, could have a second section where Assefa is organizing a workshop and - because he was so happy with the results - decided to use rotating peer assists WITHIN the event? This demarcation might ensure that people don't get confused. I'll defer to you guys on this, as I'm not really which way to go.

The Rotating Peer Assist

Narrator: Explains that the peer assist methodology can be used as standalone events but can also be used as a session during a workshop or network event. Logistically, it is more difficult to manage but it can easily be done and has proven to be rewarding for both peer assistees and the peers.

We can outline the steps...

Prior to the Meeting

  • Determine how many Peer Assistee volunteers are needed. This is calculated based on the number of people attending the workshop and an ideal number of 8-10 people to address each Peer Assistee’s issue. For example, if there are 50 participants at the workshop, 5 Peer Assistee volunteers would be ideal.
  • Calculate the amount of time needed for the session based on a 10-minute introduction to the process, 2 or 3 30-45 minute break-out sessions and a 10 minute wrap-up. An ideal scenario is to use a full morning or afternoon to conduct the Peer Assist sessions.
  • Solicit Peer Assistee volunteers who would be willing to share with others a particular challenge or problem. Ask the Peer Assistees to provide a title for their session. Let the Peer Assistees know that they will also be asked to share their insights with the group following the workshop and 6 months down the line.
  • For each Peer Assistee, identify a facilitator. This person should be comfortable taking notes on a flipchart and supporting dialogue.
  • Arrange a meeting between the Peer Assistees and Facilitators. Discuss how the process works, the possible roles and tips for the facilitators and address any concerns. Leave a minimum of 10 mins for a discussion between the Peer Assistees and their facilitators to ensure that the problem is well understood and communicated, to write the title of the session and 3 points to outline the problem on a flipchart and to agree on respective roles.

On the day of the Meeting

  • Create break-out spaces which are far enough apart so that participants don’t need to shout to be heard. Keep everyone in the same room if possible.
  • At each break-out space, organise chairs in a circle. A flipchart should be included within the circle.
  • Participants are asked to take a seat wherever they feel most comfortable. The following instructions are provided:
  • Explain the purpose of the Peer Assist. Thank the Peer Assistees for their willingness to share their problem. Explain that the sessions will begin with a round of introductions (if necessary) and outlining the role of the facilitator. The Peer Assistee will explain his/her problem or issue to the group. Questions for clarifications should be asked before moving towards idea generation.
  • Let the groups know that they will be exposed to more than one challenge or problem since the Peer Assistee along with his/her facilitator will rotate from one group to the next. The number of rotations will depend on the total time available for the session. After 40 minutes, a ‘bell’ will indicate that it is time for the Peer Assistees, along with their facilitator (and flipchart) to move to a new group to share their challenge/problem once again.
  • Let them know that the Peer Assistees have been asked to report back on the results of the Peer Assist session.

Conducting a Peer Assist

Session 1 - Time: 45 mins

  • Peer Assistees present their situation to their respective groups. The problem or challenge should be articulated as clearly as possible.
  • Participants ask questions to bring out details of the situation.
  • Participants then make suggestions based on their experiences of how the situation might be improved.
  • The facilitator (i) keeps track of the discussion on the flipchart, and (ii) provides an environment conducive to sharing experiences.
  • Sound the ‘bell’ when the session is finished

Session 2 - Time: 40 Minutes

  • Peer Assistees, along with assigned facilitators, rotate to a new peer assist space. The flipchart moves with the Peer Assistee.
  • Peer Assistees re-present their problem and summarize suggestions from the previous groups.
  • Further suggestions are solicited from the group. Dialogue ensues.
  • Facilitator continues to support the process.
  • Sound the ‘bell’ when the session is finished

Session 3 - Time: 30 Minutes (Time and energy permitting)

  • Repeat steps in Session 2