Positive Vibes

Looking In, Looking Out

Looking In, Looking Out (LILO) is a series of curricula and methods designed to support people from marginalised and vulnerable groups.

It functions as a vehicle for the activation of Positive Vibe’s Inside-Out process which is the foundation of PV’s approach more broadly. LILO method and materials are a core strategic component of PV’s work at a regional level and combine the Freirean theory of personalisation and conscientisation with aspects of positive psychology to create a workshop-based experience that is both therapeutic and activating.


The LILO Identity workshop is a personalised approach to exploring identity and sexual orientation. It responds to high levels of self-stigma in KPs, working therapeutically with individuals to raise awareness of the self, to reclaim and reframe personal narrative, and promote self-acceptance of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. The workshop aims to move individuals towards a positive identity, a strong self-concept, and a high regard for themselves as individuals. Participants are encouraged to integrate their identity with their other qualities and roles – and to see themselves as complex, multifaceted human beings with many strengths and skills. Topics cover language, the emergent development process of exploring sexual orientation and gender identity, relationship skills, creating a circle of positive support, skills for coming out and understanding the impact of prejudice and discrimination. The process allows for individuals to start addressing discrimination. Importantly, as the rollout of the workshop programme will be facilitated by local partners, it builds the organisations, as it engages the membership in a focused activity, adds to service provision and helps build a ‘consciousness’ among KPs to formulate joint approaches to address discrimination.


The LILO Counselling Course is designed to train individuals and allies to counsel their peers. The approach used is based on Carl Rogers client centred (or person centred) therapy. Central to this approach is the belief that we all have a remarkable capacity for self-healing and personal growth leading towards self-actualisation. Of utmost importance, however, is the quality of the relationship between client and counsellor. And counsellors should be warm, genuine and understanding. Trainee counsellors are selected based on their having exhibited these qualities in their relationships and work. They are encouraged to project these more strongly in the counselling training. Techniques or skills are also taught in order to build the important trust relationship with a client. These fundamental building blocks of counselling include listening, reflecting, probing and problem management skills. These develop empathy, enable the counsellor to assess the emotional state of the client while encouraging them to name the problem(s) and prioritise these in order to explore options. Counsellors are trained to address these issues, to agree on a plan of action for the client, to organise follow-up sessions and refer when necessary. These basic counselling skills are taught within a framework of the development or “Emergence Model” and trainees are encouraged to consider the particular challenges associated with the various stages an individual moves through, towards full acceptance of self. Time is provided for counselling practice within the group, using a variety of training techniques for observation and feedback. Essential to this is the opportunity to be counselled by a peer within the group. In addition, common counselling scenarios that have arisen in other LILO workshops are provided for practice. Once a trainee counsellor has completed the basic counselling training week they are expected to conduct a number of counselling sessions with observation and feedback from another peer counsellor. As a “probationer” they are under regular supervision of a more experienced counsellor and will meet regularly with other peer counsellors for group supervision and further training to deepen skills and consider particular cases common to the communities they serve.


LILO Connect methodology, which has been developed to deepen understanding of KPs in general, and specifically to provide tools for stakeholders to incorporate KP-endly practice and policy, and be more effective and constructive in their work in addressing discrimination and rights inequality among KPs. The workshop process for both train the trainers (TOT) and participants goes through a set number inputs and presentations which address key elements. These include, where our attitudes and beliefs come from; prejudice, discrimination and prejudice; the concepts associated with KPs; issues of disclosure, coming out and self-acceptance in the context of heterosexual and other privileges. The workshop concludes by looking at what this new information means for participants and how to take this forward in their organisations.


LILO Leaders is a one-on-one personal coaching and mentoring process based on Positive Psychology approaches. A coach supports an organisational leader or an emerging leader through a personal-formation and development process with applications to organisational leadership practice. The coaching programme is designed to be delivered over a period of five months, with a session conducted remotely by phone or on Skype every two weeks. Leaders who embark on the LILO Leader Coaching Programme are provided with a pack of materials with reading, video clips and activities which guide the process. In addition to a focus on the concepts that are embedded in the materials, coaches are encouraged to deal with the daily issues that emerge for the individuals they coach. Activities are provided for trying out in their lives and organisations between sessions.


Through a structured process, the intention of this methodology is to ensure that the partner organisation has capacity, systems and an organisational culture which allow it to effectively develop and maintain its funder network, is reasonably diversified in terms of funding sources, and is able to continuously secure an appropriate level of funding. Through the process it ensures that the different elements of resource mobilisation are anchored in the organisation and staff and board levels. It also assists in developing strategy, development and submission of funding proposals. It also explores that context for organisations including adequate systems and staff for project management and also those to grow the donor pipeline.


LILO Work starts with the telling of participant’s own personal story of the circumstances that have lead them to sex work through the metaphor of the tree of life. Their occupation as sex worker is contextualised within the wider understanding of a more layered, nuanced self. The thread of sex work as work, is pulled through into a session that looks at the daily “occupational hazards” of sex work and the need for safety mechanisms to be put in place to protect against violence, and to ensure sexual health. An awareness of the environment and the structures that should, but often do not, support sex workers is surfaced. The workshop focusses on what an individual can control to mitigate against these challenges. Individuals’ dreams for a future are explored, business skills are shared and the final sessions of the workshop are geared toward actions aimed at realising these dreams.


The LILO Dialogue training is a five-day process that prepares experienced facilitators to conduct community conversations and dialogues on issues of gender and sexuality. The starting point is personal readiness to facilitate the dialogue process, including self-awareness activities to enable the facilitator to explore their own deep-seated values and the underlying principles that guide them. Participants reflect on and recognize what attitudes and behaviour from others might trigger a negative response in themselves. Emotional intelligence skills are covered, particularly around managing self, containing emotions and using empathy to connect with others to gently change attitudes. The workshop shifts at this point from managing self to managing others.
Deep listening, using levels of listening and holding emotional space for others are included in the listening skills section. There is in-depth coverage of designing and asking good questions; essential in dialogue preparation. Facilitators learn how to manage conflict. Various pieces are introduced as the inspiration or starting point for a dialogue. A unique Positive Vibes model forms the acronym “T-chats” and frames the dialogue process. The final days of the workshop provide opportunity for dialogue design, facilitation practice of both the conversation and the dialogue modalities, and feedback from peers and master trainers.
Beyond the formal training, master trainers accompany and support the dialogue facilitators through the planning and experience of the first few dialogues either through face-to-face supervision or on skype.


Allied to the LILO Identity session, is LILO Voice, which is more focussed on developing advocacy, both at the personal and organisational level. This methodology responds to the need for an alternative form and place for advocacy, working with individuals from KP groups and communities to increase consciousness of power and rights, and stimulate action towards interpersonal influencing of attitudes, norms and standards in their proximal relationships and environments. This is a three-day workshop curriculum to strengthen the confidence and competence of KP groups to engage in influencing work with family, neighbourhood and community. The material explores early socialisation, internalised and alternative narratives, human rights, power and privilege, agency and choice, and relational circles of influence. It exposes participants to skills for negotiating power and claiming agency and supports participants to develop strategies for close-to-home local advocacy.


Data from 400 counselling sessions carried out in Tanzania alone points to the fact, that discrimination starts in the family. The data Positive Vibes collected has been backed up with stories on what the counselling sessions were about, and a high percentage of the people seeking counsel “about being a LGBT+ person” is about problems related to their close relatives). This has formed the rationale and background for the development of LILO Family. For many people there is a significant process that leads to an acceptance of their identity, and an integration of this into all spheres of their lives. Similarly, family members embark on a parallel journey towards understanding and accepting a member of their family who identifies as a KP. LILO Family will attempt to meet family members where they are on this journey and will provide information, support, reassurance, opportunities for introspection and insight that will lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the experience of their son, daughter, sibling or grandchild. For parents, often with their own ambitions, dreams and desires for their children, there is a need to realign these with the reality of this new identity. The workshop will address issues of stigma and discrimination within families through the development of empathy skills, and will encourage members to be supportive, not only of family, but also to become allies in the wider community. At the same time it will provide tools and practice to build communication within families to talk about important and challenging issues.


Attitude change is the main focus of work with faith leaders. LILO Faith has been developed as a methodology to engage in faith dialogues. Essentially this is a targeted and structured process undertaken by trained facilitators to reach out to faith leaders on issues linked to religion and sexuality. The dialogue meetings will explore issues related to dignity and inclusion of KPs with space for reflection on and personal attitude change on these issues. In the process, KP people of faith participate in the dialogues to represent their issues and lived experience.


This workshop is designed to strengthen the organisational structures of support groups. It encourages the introduction of more formalised processes to create greater accountability and so that these groups can better serve their members, and move towards sustainability. At the same time, the curriculum is designed to build capacity in the individual – to strengthen their relationship and communication skills, to make them more conscious of their leadership skills, and to encourage them to use very simple record keeping in their own lives to improve, for example, personal financial management.


LILO Core Skills bridges the individualised personalisation of LILO Identity into the area of organisational development. Delivered in-country at organisational level to the team of activists, staff and volunteers making up each organisation, it is also the entry-point to LILO Leaders, the Positive Vibes mentoring/coaching process. Over two days, Core Skills guides teams in organisations towards greater organisational literacy, taking the personalisation initiated through Identity and extending it so as to apply to organisational development: the working culture, internal community-relationship and environment of the organisation.
The curriculum aims to cultivate amongst team members a shared understanding of the organisation’s immediate goals and functioning;
to enhance knowledge and skills related to communication, organisational awareness, analysis and process-thinking;
to stimulate teams to envision and articulate conscious choices for organisational change, learning and development; to encourage teams to plan to implement changes together, and demonstrate commitment to applying the new skills; to expand the collective understanding of leadership (as a concept, and as a practical function), and to promote more broad-based leadership practice, especially at the middle-management levels.


Fit for Purpose is a methodology to support organisational development and institutional strengthening of KP-led organisations. The process guides staff and stakeholders through an exploration of the minimum needs of organisations in order to be fit for purpose, and how to develop to maturity. Over a three-day participatory workshop, organisations reflect on their core identity and purpose, and on their unique organisational typology; they self-assess their capacity across 35 organisational competencies and plan strategically for progress on their organisational development priorities.


LILO Facilitate is a five-day training programme to prepare facilitators to conduct LILO workshops. Prior to the training, participants should have experienced a LILO workshop first, ideally some weeks before being trained as a facilitator. It is important that they have the time and space to explore their own identity first before they consider facilitating the process for others.
The training provides a deeper understanding of why LILO processes are designed as they are. Participants unpack the therapeutic and emotional rhythms of the workshop and understand the intention behind the individual activities as well as the overall process. Some of the philosophical underpinnings of LILO are shared.
The training then progresses to considering the roles and tasks of a facilitator and developing the qualities and skills needed. Listening and empathy skills are introduced and facilitators learn to manage the multiple relationships in the group as well as difficult participants. Transactional analysis skills are taught. It is common for participants on a LILO workshop to have experienced previous trauma and facilitators are trained in basic trauma understanding and response. They learn to “hold space” for individuals and the group, and when to refer for further emotional support.
Self-reflection is a key element, as is the development of emotional intelligence skills. Many places in the workshop encourage facilitators towards good self-care. Practicalities around selecting safe venues and workshop set-up are covered, as is how to use the facilitators manual well, report writing and the use of M&E; tools. The final day and half of the workshop is used to try out facilitation skills and receive feedback from master trainers and their peers. A simple evaluation is conducted by the master trainers at this point and new facilitators are selected as “lead” or “support”. There is a further accompaniment process beyond this training where master trainers support newly fledged facilitators to conduct their first LILO workshops in teams.