A Different Way of Doing By Hermenegildo Teotónio (Angola)

Hermenegildo Teotónio is an Angolan lawyer at Mosaiko Instituto Para Cidadania. Mosaiko is an institution for the promotion and defense of Human Rights in Angola through trainings and organizational strengthening of groups. Teotónio was enrolled in a TFT course from 2019 until 2021.

TFT: How did TFT impact you? 

Teotónio: TFT impacted me significantly; I am now more mentally and emotionally strong and prepared to work in any organization. After the training, I started doing meditation and marathons. This year, I did meditation and marathon for 21 days as a spiritual journey. I do prayers and centering every morning before starting my daily activities the same way we center ourselves at TFT before the sessions start. It is a good exercise for self-reflection and planning. The way TFT helped me a lot in my personal life, I am now more organized, and my values and beliefs are linked to how I manage myself.

TFT: How did you apply the learnings in the organizations you worked with?

Teotónio: I applied the skills I gained at TFT in a project called People in Need. The project is about democracy and elections aimed at discussing Municipalities, Citizenships and Political Participation. As part of this project, we conducted a training focusing on citizen participation in public life using TFT’s methodology as we engaged with people in discussions- sharing ideas and using problem posing techniques. All the participants were teachers as we created a learning environment where all contribute. An example is when we told the participants to recreate a definition of Democracy where each one had to write his/her own definition. They are now aware that the students have knowledge that they can share with their teachers and teachers should not be spoon feeders that always feed their students. We tried to make them understand that there are lots of ways for knowledge sharing.

TFT: How did Covid-19 affect the way you work?

Teotónio: COVID-19 is a big challenge because of its many difficulties such as social distance. For example, it was difficult discussing and sharing information in the training we organized because we constantly had to alert them not to touch each other and to wash their hands frequently during the training. In addition, the training was short because it was difficult spending four or five hours wearing a mask. During this time, as a way of adapting and as suggested by our TFT trainers (Ginoca and Naftal), we had to plan just two activities in each day; one was in the morning and another one in the afternoon. This was a great experience because we had enough time to go deeper into each activity. 

TFT: How did the method help the community?

Teotónio: Well, I strongly believe that the community is deeply impacted, especially through the debates and discussions we had. TFT is formative and informative. After the training, we created a group of people that can engage with the community on certain issues using TFT methods. In Bairro da Graça, we organized a workshop where the participants were the facilitators. They talked about the State Budget (ST) based on TFT methodology where everyone could understand the issues easily regardless their level of education because the method brings integration and create discussion.