Oxfam-LogoTME provided a bespoke mindfulness-training package for Oxfam’s Leadership Development Programme in 2012/13. As part of the 10-months programme, 36 Oxfam leaders came together from all over the world three times for a week to develop their leadership thinking, explore facilitative leadership and apply their learning, to the real life challenges they are facing.

TME provided training on Oxfam’s Leadership Development Programme during the second and third modules, with one-hour trainings each day in both weeks. The standard eight-week programme based on Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World was adapted to fit these ten one hour slots, five in Module 2 and five in Module 3, with a four month period in between.

This was a wonderful opportunity to bring mindfulness to an international group of leaders working in all kinds of challenging contexts involved in development work. The difference in interest in a group of non-elective participants in the mindfulness training created additional challenges for TME beyond adapting mindfulness training to fit the time slots available. The feedback highlighted the advantages of selecting participants that are well informed and and make an active choice to participate in mindfulness training.
From feedback we could see that the TME mindfulness training had different impacts with two separate populations in the trainees. Roughly half the participants found the training very useful and the other half found some of the ideas interesting but it didn’t appear that mindfulness was something that was going to have a big impact on what they did from day to day.

Non-elective groups that participates in mindfulness training are likely to fall into this kind of pattern. However, to gain uptake of this proportion is still an excellent result. Considering results from research about mindfulness, TME are confident that leaders who continue to practice mindfulness will observe significant benefits in reducing stress It can also be expected that this will have positive impacts on the teams they lead, their relationships with colleagues and other stakeholders. TME hopes that if these benefits are recognised, this will create more engagement in mindfulness. TME look forward to potential impact of mindfulness becoming embedded in Oxfam’s organisational culture and the benefits this promises to bring to their important work towards a world without poverty.