TLP Participant Story: Tiwalade, Storehouse NI and ANAKA Women’s Group, North Belfast, Spring 2021

20 Jul 2021 Mary McCaughey    Last updated: 21 Jul 2021

Tiwalade volunteers with Storehouse NI and also ANAKA Women’s Group.

She completed the TLP course in North Belfast in April – May 2021 alongside participants from Newington Residents’ Association, The Executive Office, Deanby Youth Centre, North Belfast Interface Network, ANAKA Women’s Group, Homeplus NI, PIPs and many others.

“The best thing I got out of the course was experience, an understanding of leadership and all the skills…I would encourage people to do the course because it actually takes you somewhere…I would definitely recommend it


  1. What motivated you to sign up to this particular programme?

I wanted to do the course because sometimes when you go into a new environment, as Northern Ireland is for me, you might think you know it all – but things can be different in a new part of the world. I came here from Nigeria not quite 2 years ago and I was keen to find ways to integrate into the system, fit into any job I eventually get and have experience.  I also wanted to learn more about myself and what kind of leader I tend to be.

Experience and Learning

  1. What topics stood out for you?

I really liked the session looking at the various leadership styles. And I also liked the session on Collaboration – learning how to carry people along. Sometimes in life a leader might not know they are carrying whole load on themselves – and in fact you need to delegate and work with others. Sometimes we just go ahead and do it ourselves – I do this at home with the children! I have realised that if I jump in and do things for people, how will they learn and gain experience – so you have to delegate.

  1. What are you likely to ‘take back’ to your life/work in the community?

I meet different people every day – Storehouse has people from other parts of the world, so for me a leader has to be patient and also at times firm. What you need to do is be calm, learn about other people’s culture and see what works for you, and deal with what doesn’t.  It’s important to be aware of difference, for example, here in Northern Ireland, everyone is on a first name basis. In Nigeria, if a woman for example is older than you, they would be addressed as Mam rather than by their first name. I’ve had to get used to it being different here.


  1. Is there anything you could or would do now that you wouldn’t have felt able to do before?

Yes – most of the leadership skills – everyone has a little to learn. For me, delegating was the challenge. I feel that now I would ask myself “Am I allowing that person to learn, especially if they are a junior colleague?” I see that I have to work on that. If they don’t understand, I need to explain it better.

  1. Are there people/agencies you feel able to talk to and work with now that you weren’t before?

The course has helped even in my confidence to deal with day-to-day issues. For example my internet had to be moved from my first to second house. I have learned here that if you are paying for a service, you have a right to have it, and if there is a problem, you can complain and expect it to be dealt with. I have learned here I can speak up and get things done. The course has also helped me to make connections – e.g. with Belfast City Council. I didn’t think  I could just walk up to them – they are open and you can work with them. I met amazing people and will reconnect with them and remember  them – people shared experiences, I met different pockets of people with different experiences doing different things which was good.

  1. What difference will this make to how you engage in your interface area?

Definitely it will make a difference – you have to be aware there are different people, with different cultures, temperaments and backgrounds, and you need to get to know them and walk with them. Some people are fast learners, others need time, and to have things explained. People learn differently – I know this from my previous role as a teacher in Nigeria. You can see that with children, some are visual learners and some prefer words, others learn through play. I have to take that into consideration with adults – they are all different and learn differently.

  1. What difference will the course make to the interface area overall?

Yes, as long as we work together as a team on the project – we need to keep the team spirit and ensured we are not segregated but unified.  


  1. How will you apply new ways of working, ideas or approaches?

I will apply these new ways of working once ANAKA, our women’s group, opens again, I will be able to use all the things I have learned to help the community and to help women from different parts of the world who are living here in Belfast.

Best thing?

  1. What was the best thing for you about the course?

The best thing I got out of the course was experience, an understanding of leadership and all the skills – I loved the exercises that helped you think about what kind of leader you are. I would encourage people to do the course because it actually takes you somewhere, what you get from it could help you work with others, get a job etc. I would definitely recommend it. If there is another course at a higher level I would love to attend it.'s picture
by Mary McCaughey

Programme Support Officer (TLP)

[email protected]

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