Eberhard Bärenz
CEFista from Germany

What is the difference between a beer made in South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia or Germany? ‘Huge!’, many people will say – ‘a beer is a beer’ some others. And almost everyone would have a favorite, defending it fiercely: ‘you cannot compare!’ Would you bet to identify your famous national beer in a blind test when compared to 4 from other countries? Or would you prefer that all beers on earth should be brewed the way you prefer it? May be, the best beer from Germany (whichever) is not meeting the demand in Chile, Indonesia or South Africa. Eventually, people just buy it there because it’s labelled ‘German Beer’? Probably, a locally made a local one matches better with the domestic kitchen? At the end, a beer is a beer, if certain production rules are respected.

CEFE is a development brewery, using experiential learning as a method and aiming at improved entrepreneurial competencies as its objectives. That defines the CEFE identity. So, should every training course be the same, taste alike, no matter where it is done? Within the CEFE community and outside, we find the discussion about equalizing training courses so that they are almost identical wherever you run them. Advantages would be:

  • the same curriculum is applied, and delivery can be compared,
  • the customer knows what he/she gets, preparation time and costs are reduced,
  • standardized training and learning material can be used.

There are other entrepreneurship training programs – e.g. SIYB, Business Edge, Business Loop – going this way. They are more standardized, admitting some percentage of adaptation to the trainer in charge. Beautiful. We love at CEFE that they also promote entrepreneurship development. And we prefer to cultivate an enormous variability, because:

  • learning contexts and target groups are so different that they deserve thorough customizing.
  • CEFE is an open approach towards learning and development, not a fixed recipe.
  • a CEFista learns from each execution and should use this learning for the next measure.
  • so many challenges ask for creative answers; trainers and advisors must have the freedom and mandate to use the CEFE toolbox for developing innovative modules.

The CEFE community is not a register of trainers, it is a community of development practitioners. As a result of all this, we experience a wealth of CEFE applications, modules, manuals, most of which elaborated at the places where a development obstacle shaped a demand for it and creative, entrepreneurial CEFistas invented it. CEFE Green had its origin in Tunisia, the Applied Climate Change Action (ACCA) comes from Thailand, Strengthening Cooperatives from Sri Lanka, Venezuela created a weekend for couples in business, CEFE lean start-up is tested in Albania… The exchange during the global CEFE meeting 2018 in Cologne was like a storm coming from around the world, sharing so many new tools.

We don’t want one global corporate brewery of CEFE, we foster the creation and sustainability of many mini-breweries. The CEFE globalization is much more a diversification than a standardization. Well, we insist and have agreed on minimum standards regarding application of the experiential learning cycle and the delivery of ToTs.


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