“Informing and inspiring your team to be brave and to contribute to things that matter.”
Program 1 - Helping Hands
Did you know there are still more than 100 million active landmines in the world today, and around 2000 accidents per month with over 300-400 thousand land mind related amputees; many of which are children - who could all use a prosthetic hand?
The Helping Hands Program is a truly unique opportunity for organisations to get involved with a worthwhile cause at the same time as super-charging employee engagement.
More than just a team building or training activity, participants in our programs build prosthetic hands that are then donated to amputee landmine victims throughout the developing world.
By choosing to sponsor the Helping Hands Project, your team can participate in an active workshop, building prosthetic hands and become part of the solution.
The activity empowers every participant in just a few hours to make a real and lasting contribution and in doing so reminds people what it feels like to be engaged in a truly purposeful activity.
To get the full picture, tune into the video below.
What can you expect on the day?
Professional facilitation is key to ensuring that you get the most out of the activity. Andrew Melas has received specialist training in running this particular program and can deliver to your team, large or small.
Activity Kick Off
At the start of the activity, participants are provided with a bag of parts. They typically feel a little overwhelmed and are usually less than motivated to participate as they remember past team activities that were less than satisfying.
THEN, we show a video which normally hits participants for six! All of a sudden, they realise that the activity they are engaged in today has a purpose. They realise that if they work well together, they will literally be changing someone’s life on the other side of the world….. Needless to say, at this point normally energy levels immediately go through the roof!
In groups of 3, the teams then go about building the hands. There are detailed instructions provided, so all groups are set up for success. As an added challenge, normally participants bind one of their hands during the build process to further remind them of why they are doing the activity. Often individual participants will take on unique roles within the team and, as with any team, there will be interesting team dynamics that emerge to debrief at the end of the activity.
Decoration of the packaging
Each hand is put into a container which has been uniquely decorated by participants. This is a critical component of the activity. Some people will feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of building a hand and will prefer to use their artistic skills during the exercise. BUT it’s way more than just an outlet for those of us that are more artistic than others… finish reading til the end of this article to find out why!
The help desk
During the activity a help desk is setup, where participants can go to ask technical questions if they are having trouble putting together the hand. The person behind the help desk needs to be fully trained in building the hands before the activity commences.
Completion and photographs
Once groups complete the task, they bring their decorated container up to the front of the room and have a photo taken with it as a team. This photo is then put with the hand so that the recipients can see a picture of the people that made their hand for them.
It is critical to ensure that there is a detailed discussion at the end of the activity. This activity can be a particularly emotional and exciting experience for many people and we find that you just need to provide people with the space to share this with their fellow team-mates. A thorough debrief is also important as it ensures that participants are reminded of the unique challenges that their organisation faces. As with most team building activities, the range of behaviours or mindsets that can be debriefed at the conclusion of this activity is diverse and depends on what your organisation’s intentions are. This is where expert facilitation can really make the difference!
Once the debrief is completed, a ‘post build’ video is played. This video really drums home how much of a big difference the hands that have just been made will make to their recipients. It also is a fantastic way to complete the activity as it ensures that all participants are left energised and with a renewed sense of purpose.
A momento to remember the activity by
At the conclusion of the activity, each participant is left with a small metal key-chain style clip that they can keep. It’s just a little thing. But it’s important as it ensures that once the participants go back to their day-jobs, they still have a little reminder of the overwhelming sense of purpose that they experienced during the activity.
Once the activity is completed, all hands are shipped back to the company that designed them to ensure that they are built properly. This company does a range of quality checks and then ships them to where they are needed most.
Feedback from recipients
Wherever possible, pictures of the actual recipients, holding the hands they have been given (along with their uniquely decorated packaging) find their way back to us and we then post these pictures on our Facebook page. This part of the process is not something that can be guaranteed all of the time. Some of the locations in which the hands are distributed are not technologically advanced. We also rely on a range of separate charity organisations to distribute these and if we had a choice, we’d always prefer that they ensure the hands are distributed and fitted correctly than taking pictures for our own gratification.
SOME OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
There is a range of spare parts and tools that are distributed as part of this activity. These spare parts are returned, along with the hands and are recycled for the next group that builds the hands. This ensures that nothing goes to waste and that the impact of our resources and efforts is maximised within our global community.
Helping Hands works best when there are 3 people in each group. Having smaller numbers ensures that each person has to take an active role in building the hand. Organisations can choose to have larger teams involved in the activity, but we find that this is less than ideal.
Duration and integration of the activity into your agenda
The activity takes between 2 to 3 hours to complete and is the perfect conclusion to a 1 day off-site or workshop. Participants are left feeling energised, inspired and filled with a sense of purpose. Our advice would be to NOT try and stretch this activity out to take any longer than this. Keep it as a high impact component of your broader agenda and make sure that you spend the rest of the time getting through other content as you wish.