Nascenta has led an effort of adapting the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation’s acclaimed diversity workshops to a US setting. We have been at the forefront of delivering flexible, feedback-oriented training that addresses inherent biases.
Nascenta is a nonprofit organization that runs diversity workshops based on a proprietary lesson structure, that was influenced by a program developed in South Africa in the late 1990’s by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR), to address the challenges in post-Apartheid South Africa and to build understanding of prejudices that drive decision-making and relationships. The methodology behind the workshop has garnered IJR the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education. We focus on US schools and organizations with a carefully developed workshop curriculum, and partner with organizations in developing training materials and messaging.
WHAT MAKES OUR WORKSHOPS DIFFERENT?
Proven history and adaptive technique.
Since 2009, Nascenta has led an effort of adapting the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation’s acclaimed diversity workshops for US organizations. We have been at the forefront of delivering flexible, feedback-oriented training that addresses inherent biases.
It is a powerful program that has a proven history, consistently adapted to integrate the most useful and impact-driven structures. Read more about the essential elements in our methodology below: diversity across different categories, teambuilding and open discussions, workshop materials, and self-analysis and reflection.
Diversity across different categories
Nascenta’s workshops teach participants about diversity across different categories, such as age, body type, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and more — as well as the discrimination and prejudice that is sometimes generated around them, and the best ways to understand and fight them.
Teambuilding & open discussions
Through careful teambuilding techniques and open, nonjudgmental discussions, the Nascenta program cultivates a safe environment while encouraging people to understand their own inherent biases as well as the reasons underlying them. We then teach participants how to overcome the biases, both within themselves, as well as within society. Through feedback and a flexible approach, we customize the program to adapt to specific communities, new techniques or current issues.
The deep dive
The Nascenta program is highly interactive. There are 3 phases to the program:
- The creation of a safe communication environment
- Education and topic coverage, and
- A deep dive discussion into beliefs and prejudice
This third phase is not part of most diversity programs due to the potential for conflict, but in our experience, it is the most necessary. The deep dive allows people to customize and confront their own issues. When established in a safe environment within the first part of the workshop, this leads to the most positive outcome. By seeking the fracture lines, we encourage honesty and directness in dealing with uncomfortable issues. We don’t just tell people what to believe, we examine why they believe things, and contrast it to natural human empathy; this allows us to dig deeper into inherent biases.
Talented and diverse trainers
Nascenta’s trainers are a talented and diverse group of people, from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities. We match people with similar attributes or backgrounds to groups that we train to facilitate better communication. About 50% of our trainers are people of minority backgrounds, and our goal is to assign trainers that mirror the population of the school or organization with which we are working; due to our network, we can assign trainers that have close experience to the groups attending.
Our workshop materials provide educational understanding of differences across culture, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and other areas in which human beings differ. By increasing our awareness of these differences and understanding inherent bias, we build tolerance and make society function more effectively in the presence of diversity.
In addition, it’s not just a one-off experience. We continue the relationship with participants as they carry their lesson and experience into the rest of their lives through continued communication and ongoing support. Alumni have access to our Alumni Portal which houses a repository of workshop materials and other educational resources.
Self-analysis & reflection
During the workshops, we keep the lessons interesting by frequently breaking into groups and encouraging participants to analyze their own ideas:
- How do you generally find friends?
- Do you seek out diversity in your life or actively avoid it?
- How is society structured to support diversity?
These breaks allow participants to think more deeply, and build friendships and understanding with fellow attendees.
Partners and program contributors
To find out more about our partners, check out the Partnerships page.