ACE Europe, a learning experience ...


ACE Europe wants to support learning processes in organizations. Whether becoming good at something, getting better at what they do or deciding to do things in a completely different way, organizations are invariably engaged in learning – often implicitly and informally.

There is a great deal of creative tension between wanting or having to do something and not knowing exactly how to go about it.  We want to work with this tension and develop and co-create new pathways of change.

We do so by our specific way of working and based on our knowledge of collective learning and capacity building processes.. We structure and systematize the learning process, proceed in a participatory and interactive manner, and support the learning and change processes.

Our enthusiasm for learning takes centre stage in everything we do, from training groups to assessing programmes or coaching organizations.

To that end, we work together with others, because cooperation enables us and our client to learn better and faster..  Furthermore, we want to share what we learn, integrate it in our approach and put it to practice.

Consultants

team member
Corina Dhaene

I was trained as a historian at the university of Leuven.  I have been a consultant at ACE Europe since 1996 and co-director since 2007. I work as an evaluator, trainer and coach of organizations and have more than 20 years of experience in these fields.

In the early years, I worked primarily on the European integration process and the impact thereof on local authorities. As such, I was involved in various European projects in Slovakia, Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia-Herzegovina, in particular for internal evaluation, development of capacity building strategies for municipalities, civil society organizations and the production of manuals. I have experience in policy and programme evaluation in various fields: capacity building, local governance and local authorities, international municipal cooperation, access to basic services (water, healthcare, basic and vocational education), monitoring and evaluation,  development education and lobbying and advocacy.

The training courses that I give are often part and parce of the advice and coaching process for organizations, i.e. NGOs, but also local and central governmental authorities. I always develop customized training schemes (including syllabi and exercises). Training topics have included  strategies for capacity building, result-oriented project management, tools and methods for qualitative data collection and monitoring. I use my experience as an evaluator with these tools.

My training as a historian continues to be relevant down to the present day and is visible in questions that are fundamental in my work:  how have processes played out and could they have turned out differently? What has changed and for whom? How can this change be explained exactly? What can we learn from it? I combine a sense for critical analysis with enthusiasm and a low-threshold approach. I draw my energy primarily from supporting change processes in an organization, giving training courses, and the contact with people  who work for social change day in and day out.

team member
Geert Phlix

I studied adult education and social change at the Catholic University of Leuven [KUL] and embarked on my career as a scientific assistant at the same institution. My interest in cooperation for development grew during my studies.  I was driven by a feeling of injustice to endeavour for fairer North-South relations, in both a professional and a volunteer capacity, so as to give a voice to people who are excluded.  I joined a literacy campaign in Mexico,  worked as a volunteer for the NGO Coopibo (now Ricolto), performed a brief assignment at the VVOB [Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance] and was head of development education at the NGO Fonds voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking (FOS) [Development Cooperation Fund], where I was also responsible for gender policy. In 2000 I got the opportunity to start working for ACE Europe,  which I found fascinating, as it appealed to both the “thinker” and “doer” in me.  I have been the co-manager since 2007. I provide support to various stakeholders who are active in international cooperation: NGOs, social organizations and governments.  

In my work I focus on analysing social change processes with specific attention for capacity building, lobby and advocacy, multi-stakeholder processes, network development and active citizenship. I have gained experience in the following areas over the years:  improving access to basic services, including education, food, water and healthcare; the struggle for fair gender relations and climate justice; the struggle of workers and trade union activists. I have always used a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods and have specific experience in (quasi-experimental) impact assessments of programmes.

What fascinates me particularly in my work as a consultant is putting (scientific) research to practice, and more specifically turning evidence and lessons learned into more effective strategies. I always rely on the principles of appreciative inquiry and invite organizations to analyse their practices and gain greater insight in their work and the results thereof.  I draw a great deal of energy from working together and joint learning.