Harvesting 2016

Outcomes of the Harvesting 2016 workshop


The overall goal of Harvesting is to discover what works well in our daily work, what gives strength to SOS co-workers and what we can build on within SOS Children's Villages. Furthermore, sharing of knowledge on the organisational level of the worldwide federation is a central aim of the Harvesting workshops. Harvesting is about mobilising and spreading the fire of enthusiasm and strengthening the feeling of belonging through getting to know the many faces of the organisation. For each workshop we invite a group of long-standing co-workers from different hierarchical levels and functions, from various backgrounds and countries.

In 2016 nineteen participants came together to discover the treasures of their rich work experience and knowledge through a particular process. SOS co-workers tell stories that deal with issues that are of particular importance to our vision: Every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security.

photo: Stefan Lechner Photography

Focus on what works well

Systems and human beings grow in the direction of their focus. In HARVESTING we focus on what works well in achieving our mission: We build families for children in need, we help them shape their own futures and we share in the development of their communities.

What happens during Harvesting workshops?

How does a Harvesting workshop look like in concrete terms? Designed, developed and carried out by the education team of Hermann Gmeiner Academy, the Harvesting workshop programme consists of the following parts:

  • Learning and practising the Harvesting methodology: Appreciative Inquiry (AI) forms the bedrock of Harvesting. "It is a process of search and discovery designed to value, prize, and honour. It assumes that organizations are networks of relatedness and that these networks are 'alive'. The objective of AI is to touch the 'positive core' of organizational life. This core is accessed by asking positive questions." (Cooperrider, Sekerka 2003:228). In Harvesting we guide participants to focus on their circle of influence during the process cycle of AI. We combine the AI approach with methods that foster open dialogue like Storytelling, Circle of Influence, World Café and World Kitchen.
  • Knowledge sharing: In Harvesting, knowledge sharing refers to the exploring and sharing of tacit knowledge. This can be seen as the body of intuitive knowledge rooted in context and facilitating action. To explore and share tacit knowledge, presupposes a conducive culture of attitude and atmosphere. During the workshops we provide space for social interaction and teaching sessions (e.g. World Café).
  • Capacity building: We foster a process of equipping Harvesting participants with the understanding, skills and access to knowledge that enable them to perform effectively. During this intensive group process, participants learn and discover their strengths. This helps them find identity, meaning, and purpose in (work-) life through connections to the bigger picture: SOS Children's Villages active in 133 countries worldwide.  We also support ex-participants, and offer them virtual exchange on a regular basis.
  • Incentive: Harvesting is one way to increase overall employee performance, to reduce turnover, boost morale and loyalty, improve employee wellness and increase retention. Harvesting offers participants the opportunity to get to know the origins of the SOS Children's Villages idea during a topic-guided city tour through Innsbruck explaining the roots and history of SOS Children's Villages. Furthermore we offer a visit of the first SOS Children's Village in Imst. Harvesting workshops allow participants to share their experiences with others and thereby reinforce the spirit of reciprocity and solidarity
  • Networking: Relationships are the catalyst for success. Networking is about making connections, building enduring and mutually beneficial relationships. It is about meeting the "right" people at the right time. Continually connecting new people by linking yearly emerging Harvesting groups with one another we leverage the network and cultivate emerging relationships. 

We also offer a "Post-Harvesting Workshop" at the International Office of SOS Children's Villages International in Vienna to network with even more colleagues.

The agenda consists of the following parts

  • Appreciative Inquiry and Storytelling process
  • SOS-related excursions and programme visits
  • Joint leisure time activitie
  • Conversation and dialogue sessions



Generating and sharing knowledge

Knowledge sharing takes place within and beyond the workshop participants group. Harvesting participants tell their stories in a variety of settings. In the workshop process we aim at extracting the tacit knowledge of participants embedded in their individual experiences.

"People carry knowledge within them that involves such intangible factors as personal beliefs, perspective, instinct and values (...) It is more of an 'unspoken understanding' about something, knowledge that is more difficult to write down in a database." (Roumiana Iordanova, Knowledge Management Toolkit, 2014)

Harvesting Workshop Facilitation Replicability and Outcomes

For a coherent understanding of the Harvesting Workshop facilitation, we offer two concise documents called "Harvesting Curriculum" and "Harvesting Handbook". These two documents together with the "What inspires us in our work for SOS Children's Villages" booklet, which is published after each Harvesting workshop, offer a deep insight into the process, methods and output of Harvesting workshops.

Have a look at the story trailers and realise which story you want to start reading in the story booklet 2016! 

Trailer to the stories

Rabin Nepali, Nepal
»Open Youtube

Sonia Zhivkova, Bulgaria
»Open Youtube

Ruffin Balifio, Central African Rep.
»Open Youtube

Igor Georgi, Russia
»Open Youtube

Sarah Nayiga, Uganda
»Open Youtube

Vanna Hout, Cambodia
»Open Youtube

Rajneesh Jain, India
»Open Youtube

NS Peranginangin, Indonesia
»Open Youtube

Maria JD Freire, Cape Verde
»Open Youtube

Kapila RWA Don, Sri Lanka
»Open Youtube

Gyöngyi Novák, Hungary
»Open Youtube

Eghosa Erhumwunse, Nigeria
»Open Youtube

Damien P. Barindogo, Burundi
»Open Youtube

Aime Eudes Yaka, Burkina Faso
»Open Youtube

Ahmed EG Picado, Nicaragua
»Open Youtube

Information material

Read all about Harvesting Workshop 2016 and the inspiring stories of Harvesting participants:



For more information please contact:

Mag. Irene Gleirscher
+43 512 3316 5671