• CIDT facilitate UNIDO SME Project Development Course in Morocco

    31 July 2018
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    UNIDO Morrocco

    UNIDO Morrocco

    Forty participants from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Palestine, Morocco, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia attended a Project and Programme Design course that aimed to assist the development of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across the Arab Region. The course was taught and facilitated by Philip Dearden of CIDT and was sponsored by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

    The intensive course held in Rabat, Morocco, was organized for the Arab Region by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in conjunction with the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO).

    The vision of the AIDMO is to realise high-quality and sustainable development in the fields of industry, mining and standardization. In recent years AIDMO initiated a capacity strengthening programme, funded by SIDA, with the technical support of UNIDO. The aim of the programme is to enable an accurate assessment and examination of AIDMO’s competences and areas of intervention, leading to a better definition of AIDMO’s position towards a number of themes and challenges to be reflected in their plans and strategies.

    In the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, the capacity strengthening programme is enabling AIDMO to position itself as the key industrial development agency in the Arab region and thus help achieve regional integration, harmonization and effective coordination of industrial development related to trade, energy, climate change and decent work.

    In this context AIDMO and UNIDO jointly organized this interactive SME development initiative for the Arab region aiming at supporting the formulation of inclusive and sustainable industrial programmes to support SMEs in Arab countries with a focus on value chains, clustering in creative industries, innovation and the green industry.

    The course included a series of short technical lectures on SME development with a mix of dynamic sessions on participatory SME Project design taught by Professor Philip N. Dearden.

    Below: The UNIDO/AIDMO programme in Rabat, being opened with welcome speeches and tokens of friendship and cooperation.

    Below: SME Development sessions being delivered by technical experts from a range of organisations.

    Below: Workshop participants working on their development projects and programmes before presenting and sharing them.

    Below: End of Course Certificates being presented.

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  • UK Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report “Measuring up” launched in Parliament

    17 July 2018
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    Philip Dearden, Head of CIDT was invited to a reception hosted by Gillian Keegan MP in the Churchill Room in the Houses of Parliament on 3rd July 2018. At this reception, the report Measuring up: How the UK is performing on the Sustainable Development Goals was officially launched on behalf of UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD).

    A full copy of the report can be downloaded at the UKSSD website.

    Lord Bates, Minister of State at the Department for International Development (DFID) thanked the UKSSD for the hard work in producing the report and announced that DFID will consult on its process for the UK’s 2019 report to the UN on the Goals.

    Oliver Dowden CBE, Parliamentary Secretary (Minister for Implementation) reported on how the UK government is fully committed to the implementation of the SDGs in the UK.

    Emily Auckland, UKSSD Network Director and Co-chair UKSSD and Dominic White of WWF explained the genesis of UKSSD and the production of the report.

    Measuring up is the most comprehensive review of the current situation in the UK conducted to date. It informs us as to what is happening in the UK for people, the environment and the economy.

    Out of 143 relevant SDG targets, the UKSSD found that the UK is performing well on 24%, with 57% where there are gaps in policy coverage or performance is not adequate and 15% where there is little or no policy in place to address the target or the performance is poor.

    Both Emily and Dominic reported that it fully needs to be recognised that the SDGs cannot be achieved by individual organisations or government alone. The Measuring up report reveals the links between the targets and highlights the importance of working together.

    This information now helps organisations identify where they are having, and could have, an impact on the SDGs.

    By looking at the relationships between the Goals or Targets we can also identify organisations whose work relates to our own – even if they’re in a different industry or sector. This opens the door to interesting, and potentially unexpected, opportunities for collaboration.

    Philip, who has often talked critically about the lack of a UK plan for the SDGs  please see example Philip Dearden presents at Going Global and  Philip Dearden presents Civic Mission Summit in Cardiff reports that he is impressed with the quality and depth of the report. He states:

    “On reflection it’s very sad that to date the government has done so little in regards to planning any real implementation of the SDGs in the UK. It’s now good that at least some people realise that the SDGs also cover the UK and that the vacuum has been strongly filled by the newly emerged UKSSD group. They are to be congratulated on producing a quality report that ironically would have shamed most parliamentary parties. I now seriously hope the current government will take up the report and start implementing the required action across the whole country”.

    In conclusion Philip reports “While there’s a lot to celebrate in the Measuring up report it’s very clear that the most vulnerable people and places in our society are increasingly being left behind. If the government is now serious about the SDGs and ‘leaving no-one behind’ then we all have some huge challenges ahead.”

    Some further scenes at the launch of the SDG report in Parliament. All photos by Philip Dearden.

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  • CIDT participate in a round table discussion on Adaptive Social Protection in Nepal

    16 July 2018
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    Rachel Slater at Round Table in Nepal

    How can social protection be utilised to support disaster risk management in Nepal?  On Monday 25th June 2018, Rachel Slater presented CIDT’s answer to that question to officials of the Government of Nepal, development agencies, and the NGO and INGO communities working on disaster risk management and social protection in Nepal.

    The round table and discussion was the final stage in the consultation process of a technical assistance project that CIDT is carrying out on behalf of World Bank.  The aim of the project is to enhance our understanding of how bringing together Disaster Risk Management and Social Protection could improve risk management, preparedness and better respond to shocks.

    Rachel Slater at Round Table in Nepal

    The presentation brought together the key lessons learnt from a number of reviews – of the social protection system, the disaster management system and international experience – and brought out lessons learned from fieldwork in flood, earthquake, landslide and drought-affected districts in Nepal.  CIDT made recommendations about instruments that the Government of Nepal may wish to consider to achieve better disaster management using social protection tools.

    The meeting was preceded by a week of consultations with government ministries encouraging a two way dialogue to ensure recommendations and options going forwards are viable and within the context and scope of Government of Nepal’s capacity.  The next steps will be finalisation of the recommendations by the end of July.

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  • Philip Dearden presents on Project Cycle Leadership the Caribbean Leadership Symposium

    10 July 2018
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    Philip Dearden with Devon Rowe, Executive Director of the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration CARICAD.

    Above: Philip Dearden with Devon Rowe, Executive Director of the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration CARICAD.


    Philip Dearden, the Head of CIDT, presented a session entitled ‘How critical is leadership around the project cycle in delivering results in the Caribbean Region?’ at the Caribbean Leadership Symposium in Kingston, Jamaica, 28th – 29th June 2018.

    Over 120 senior leaders in the public sectors from across the Caribbean Region and representatives of key regional and international agencies attended the Symposium with the theme ‘Building Leadership Resilience: From Surviving to Thriving’. The event was organised by the Caribbean Leadership Project (CLP).

    The CLP is an initiative funded by the Government of Canada to support the leadership and economic development training needs of national public sectors in 12 CARICOM countries and key regional organisations.

    The Symposium was opened by the Hon. Dr Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service.

    Dr Darran Newman, Division Chief (Ag.) Technical Cooperation Division (CDB), outlined the importance of Leadership in the Caribbean in her remarks at the Opening Ceremony.

    They were both joined by Her Excellency Laurie Peters, Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica and Ms Collen Rossiter, Project Director of the CLP, seen here to the left and right of Phil respectively.

    The first day of the event was lead by Dr Wayne Corneil who lead an interactive session on Crisis Leadership and Change.

    On the second day of the symposium Philip (Head of CIDT) and Claire Fischer (DODS Training Associate) presented sessions on the Caribbean Development Bank’s Public Policy Analysis and Management (PPAM) and Project Cycle Management (PCM) Programme.

    This was followed by a session led by Dr Darran Newman, Division Chief (Ag.) Technical Cooperation Division (CDB), examining the Power of Collective Leadership Impact – Can communities of practice nurture leadership attitudes and behaviour in the policy process?

    These closed door sessions were attended by Permanent Sectretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, and others of equivalent rank from across the 19 countries supported by the CDB.

    The specific objectives of the session were:

    • To provide an analysis and stock take of the main issues, drawing from the perspectives of Permanament Sectrtaries and Deputy Permanagement Sectraries who attended PPAM/PCM face to face training.
    • The enhance the practice of bolder leadership in navigating the political and institutional space.
    • To consider the case for a more devolved leadership model where staff (women and men) in all ministries with project and programme respoinsibiliteis are encouraged and coached to take on a stronger and more proactive leadership roles.
    • To debate the power of collective leadership impact – Can communities of practice nurture leadership attitudes and behaviours in the policy process?

    The sessions heavily focused on how to overcome the key insititutional challenges in relation to policy making and delvery that are emerging from the ongoing CDB training programme.

    Philip’s session concluded that Caribbean development projects and programmes need staff teams and individuals who have the confidence and capability to address the organisational and institutional challenges and appreciate and balance the various tensions that can arise. They also need an ability to draw on evidence and prior practical experience to apply context-specific judgement.  He strongly argued that in relation to addressing the regional implementation deficit, project and programme management is now simply not enough.  Project and programme leaders are now required.

    The 7 Simple Steps in CIDT’s experiential Leadership Capacity Development Programme (a programme designed for both female and male leaders at all levels) were outlined and briefly discussed in relation to the perceived needs in the Caribbean region.

    Philip also highlighted the need for sustainability in relation to the needs for further ongoing capacity development across the region.

    A series of suggestions/recommendations were put forward by all speakers. These were discussed in small groups and feedback collected.

    Despite the challenging nature of the many difficult delivery issues discussed during the closed door session, the early feedback from participants is very positive.   All of the participants who completed the evaluation survey forms gave a high rating for the session in terms of its contribution to their learning ( i.e. either strongly agreed or agreed).

    The closed door session was facilitated by Karen Hinds,  Chief Executive Officer, Workplace Success Group seen here leading the final “Call for Action” session (and paying tribute to both Jamaica and Usain Bolt!).

    Please click here on this link to see Philip’s presentation.

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  • CIDT supports development of Macedonia Decent Work Country Programme with the ILO

    26 June 2018
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    There is increasing pressure on policy makers to define tangible and quantifiable results of policy interventions and to monitor them. This holds true for the International Labour Office (ILO) as well as for its constituents including Ministries of Labour, employers, and trade unions.

    Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is an important management tool that helps to track whether programmes are on track or need to make changes.  Good M&E helps to answer the public’s frequent requests to know which programmes work and which do not.  The recently review of the ILO’s last Decent Country Work Plan (DWCP) for Macedonia highlighted the need to strengthen M&E.

    In view of this ILO requested Philip Dearden (Head of CIDT) to provide refresher training on key concepts of M&E applying them to the planning of the Decent Work Country Programme for Macedonia (2018 to 21).  The training was targeted at some 27 specialists and mid-level managers of the Ministry of Labour of Macedonia, the Employers’ Confederation, and the key Trade Union staff in the country.

    The specific learning objectives of the two day event were to provide a refresher on key concepts of results measurement and practice its application in actually preparing the new DWCP for Macedonia.

    Sessions were held on the

    • Rationale for results measurement,
    • Key concepts of results measurement and its application to the planning of the new DWCP,
    • Improving the M&E frameworks of key outcomes proposed under the new DWCP.

    The results of the workshop were that the:

    • M&E skills of ILO constituents in Macedonia were refreshed,
    • Key DWCP outcomes are complemented by solid indicators of achievement and the key deliverables per outcome are clearly defined,
    • There was agreement on the way forward how to complete the DWCP including monitoring mechanisms.

        Some participant comments from the end of Clinic Evaluation:

    • Very good educative training
    • Interesting and useful lessons – excellent lecturer
    • Excellent facilitation
    • Good ways of sharing experiences, knowledge and skills and bringing many thoughts together for improvement of country general
    • Well done – very good!
    • Excellent presentations
    • Very good workshop format
    • Good concrete discussions
    • Comprehensive agenda
    • Motivation – very good!
    • Well-grounded workshop
    • Excellent high quality trainer/facilitator.

    Photos from the training

    Below: Maria Borsos presenting the findings of the Review of the last Macedonia Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP).

    Below: Clinic participants working on planning the new Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP)

    Below: Clinic participants working on planning the new Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP)

    Below: Clinic participants working on planning the new Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP)

    Below: End of Clinic certificates being presented by Markus Pilgrim

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  • A map, a photograph and a chance encounter in the Nepal Himalaya

    18 June 2018
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    Nepal social protection project

    CIDT’s Rachel Slater reflects on a surprising fieldwork experience in Humla, Nepal, during a recent visit as part of the project ‘Review of policies, systems and programs in social protection and shock response for adaptive social protection’

    Nepal social protection projectWe’ve walked for about 90 minutes along a gravel track from where are staying – a small town perched on a steep slope, nestled below the triangular peak of Chhote Kang and with a perilous drop off to the mightly Karnali River below. We are there to interview people about their experiences of disasters – especially drought and landslides in this remote part of Nepal – and are trying to work out whether we could ‘piggyback’ disaster response funding on existing systems like social security to get money out to households in need as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    We climb ladders – old tree trunks with notches cut out of them for steps – to the roof of a villager’s house, and settle down on a tarpaulin as the house owner calls across the village for her neighbours to join us.  I gaze across the valley at snow covered ridge, for a moment wishing I was here trekking rather than working.  I pull out my map, wondering what route I could take up to the highest point and then something remarkable happens.  The house owner snatches the map from me excitedly and exclaims ‘that’s me!’

    Nepal social protection projectIt takes me a while to understand but it turns out our respondent is one of four women in the photograph on the front of the map. We try and work out the odds – that we visited this village, in this rural municipality, in this one of 75 districts in Nepal.  They are long odds indeed.  The photo was taken maybe five years ago as Nepal sought to open up tourism in Humla district to trekkers. Anita, our Nepali research partner, and I immediately change the plan for the interview.  We ask how much has changed in the last five years: weather; access to services – especially children’s education; and whether making a living is getting easier or harder.  There’s a recognition that ‘all good things don’t always go together’, for example, more children are attending school but that means there’s no-one available to tend buffalo, goats, and zhos / zhomos (yaks bred with cows) so less manure for people’s fields. But the overwhelming story is of changes to climate: less snow and more drought (the barley and wheat around the village are about two months behind in their development); and unpredictable weather including devastating hailstorms that destroyed crops three years ago.

    As we return to our guest house later in the day we follow the road newly constructed as part of a programme to guarantee households 30 days of paid work each year.  And although we are still struggling walking at this altitude we have renewed energy for our work.  Given what we have heard about the climate-related disasters that people in Humla are increasingly facing, our attempts to use social protection to support disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery seem all the more important.  All this thanks to our change encounter over a map and a photograph in Nepal’s remote Himalaya.

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  • CIDT and Palladium deliver a Support Fund Proposal Writing Workshop in Myanmar

    11 June 2018
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    CIDT was invited by Palladium to co-develop and run a 5 day Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) Support Fund Proposal Writing Workshop on the DFID FLEGT Facilitation Project in Myanmar. CIDT’s Rachel Roland teamed up with Palladium’s Marc Pavey and James Pilkington to run the participatory training during the week of April 23rd to 27th.

    The 42 participants on the course came from three major groupings who had successfully expressed interest in a grant from the VPA Support Fund. These were sixteen people from  the civil society organisations involved in forest legality issues from all around Myanmar;  fourteen people from the private sector timber associations and a number of people from other types of non governmental organisations such as small registered NGOs and research institutes and consultancy organisations. Several of the participants also belonged to the Multistakeholder Group (MSG) involved in the FLEGT preparation process. The workshop organisers also welcomed a number of people from the MSG’s Grants Sub Committee who observed the workshop during the entire week. Trainer Rachel was delighted to meet some alumni from the CIDT Improving Forest Governance course, who were part of this group.

    The training workshop was divided up into three sections

    • A first day of information about global and national FLEGT processes, and how to access the grants, eligibility criteria and grant agreements
    • 2.5 days of Results Based Management principles adapted for the prospective grantees to support their proposal writing
    • A day and a half of preparations for presentation to the grants subcommittee and then the presentations themselves.

    The training and workshop was organised at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MNREC)’s International Business Centre on Pyay Rd. All workshop IT and lighting plus catering support was provided from the IBC at a high standard.

    Furthermore, given that the trainers do not speak Myanmar’s language, all materials were translated into Myanmar and simultaneous translation in both directions was undertaken for every aspect of interaction during the timetable. The Simultaneous translation was of a very high quality such that there were few barriers to communication during the week.

    The participation in the training was extremely meaningful and good, especially since participants are not used to this intensive kind of workshop. Whereas at the start of the workshop one person asked if it was really necessary to come all week, there was a tendency to actually increase the number of participants as the week went on and people frequently stayed working after the formal end of the day – in short there was a real eagerness to learn about Results Based Management tools and techniques for proposal writing. In addition some real progress was made in discussions between the various parties about their participation in the national FLEGT process, afforded by having personnel from different parts of the country in the same room together for five days.

    From a level of very few participants having ever had interactive training or training on proposal writing, five very credible proposals were presented at the end of the week. Feedback about what had been learned was very insightful and showed a great appetite for learning. One participant lamented that “I needed this training 20 years ago”. He then revealed his age to be 76!

    The workshop ended and was deemed to be a great success. The grant proposal window will shortly open and the real measure of success is if proposal writing course participants present high quality proposals that can be funded by the UKAid funds available.

    Photos taken by Kho Phyo Htet, FLEGT Secretariat, Myanmar

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  • CIDT supports the Government of Rwanda to secure $32.79m to Strengthen Climate Resilience of Rural Communities

    24 May 2018
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    Rwanda landscape

    Many congratulations to FONERWA, The Green Fund of the Government of Rwanda (GoR) which on 28 February 2018 become one of the first African country ‘Direct Access’ entities to receive funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

    CIDT has a long history of supporting the Government of Rwanda (GoR) environment and climate sectors over several successively won contracts. As a recent report quoted:

    “CIDT has strong experience and a solid understanding of Rwanda’s development context, having supported DFID assistance to the GoR, particularly in relation to planning and the development of sector M&E frameworks for the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) I, since 2006. This track record in Rwanda gave CIDT credibility, relationships and understanding of the Rwanda context, enabling it to play a catalytic role in supporting the creation and operationalisation of the FONERWA fund” [1].

    CIDT gained greater experience of the way that GoR was developing its climate change policy through secondment of a CIDT staff member to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) and through UNDP (Belgian Technical Cooperation funding), in 2009-10.

    In 2011 the Rwandan government invited interested organisations to submit proposals to design a national climate and environment finance mechanism. CIDT’s proposal was selected by the funder Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and CIDT was tasked with recommending the optimal design and scope for an operational fund. Through competitive tendering processes in 2012 CIDT was awarded the 2-year DFID contract to support the operationalisation of the FONERWA fund, with a further extension granted in 2014 the project was extended by a year until September 2015.

    From 2013-2015 with funding from CDKN, CIDT also ran the Rwanda FONERWA Capacity Building Project to support the capacity strengthening of districts to enable them to put in strong proposals to the Green Fund. This project resulted in 38% of the allocated FONERWA funds going to district projects.

    From 2015-2017 CIDT managed a funding pot from CDKN to support emerging requests from FONERWA in a number of ways. These included inputs to support the management of the Fund and support to the GoR participation at COPs 21 and 22, enhancing and enabling opportunities for key meetings between GoR and Green Growth funding agencies. This helped GoR and FONERWA gain international exposure, better understand of the international climate funding architecture and meet key Donors to whom resource mobilisation requests could be submitted. Through CDKN, CIDT also supported provision of national and international consultants to assist Rwanda with successful resource mobilisation efforts to enhance access to Climate Funds. In particular:

    1. CIF/SCF: $800k Scaling Up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP) funded through the World Bank (WB)
    2. CIF/SCF: $250k Forest Investment Programme (FIP) development plan funded through the African Development Bank (AfDB)
    3. CIF/SCF: Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) funded through the World Bank (WB)
    4. A first concept note to Green Climate Fund (GCF) and then $1.4m Project Preparation Funding
    5. Funding proposal of $8m to The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

    In 2016 CIDT won a public procurement exercise to access the very first Project Preparation Funds awarded by the GCF to lead the design studies for the project. CIDT worked with Paul Watkiss Associates and Light Earth Designs to undertake a series of studies in  Sustainable Forest Management and Watershed Protection; Resilience of Tea and Coffee; Low Carbon Green settlement on two sites in Gicumbi District; Economic and Financial Analyses; Gender Study; Environmental and Social Impact Assessment; Legal study. These studies led to the revision of the project proposal that has now been granted funding of $32,8m by the Green Climate Fund.

    More project details can be found at the Green Climate Fund website.


    1. CIDT (2016). Creation of the National Fund for Climate and Environment (FONERWA): Support to the Fund Management Team. Final Report. P12. Accessed http://cidt.org.uk/final-project-report-establishing-fonerwa-national-climate-fund-rwanda/

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  • Project Cycle Management Training delivered across six countries in the Caribbean

    23 May 2018
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    CDB training

    CIDT have provided services to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) since 2013, most recently the design and delivery of Project Cycle Management (PCM) Training in 19 of the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).

    Since November 2017 the CIDT team has delivered a suite eight modules in six countries  – Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The next round of training is scheduled to begin in late May 2018 in Belize, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia.

    CIDT pair international trainers with regional associates in a delivery model that has been very well received across the region –  an average of 97% positive participant feedback in the recent quarter. The training modules cover a wide range of tools and themes around the project cycle, including project design, management, monitoring and evaluation to more specific PCM approaches, such as project appraisal, managing technical assistance projects and procurement. Each module is contextualised with regional case studies and examples.

    Participant feedback has been very positive, as quotes from Trinidad and Guyana show:

    “The delivery of the module was exceptional, coming from a background where I had no prior knowledge of M&E and still be able to fully grasp all concepts, tools and techniques relating to M&E in 3 days, speaks to the quality of the materials delivered by the facilitators”.

    “As a graduate of a Masters Degree in Project Management since 2010, I haven’t been using the Project Management tools in my workplace.  So over the years, I have lost my interest in Project Management. The learning experience I have gained from participating in Module 5 has renewed my interest and passion in Project Management.  Now I am motivated and energized to work in a project oriented environment.  And I hope to be soon shifted to work in a department that is project oriented and focused on effective project planning and implementation.”

    CDB trainingCIDT’s project coordinator, David Meechan, visited Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana in April 2018 to deliver the Train the Trainer module, working with Nana Hesse-Bayne, a long standing regional associate based in Trinidad. The training unpicked methodologies of training delivery, encouraging participants to try out participatory style training through peer-based training practice.

    Eight weeks following completion of the face to face modules, participants are invited to attend a follow-up webinar. The webinar serves as a refresher and checks in on progress towards implementation of participant action plans. The ambitious training project has ten more countries to reach before the end of 2018 but is now off to a flying start!

    More on this project

    The Caribbean Development Bank is driving a wide transformation agenda to catalyse the change needed if the Region is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. To enable more effective management of policy, programmes and projects and contribute to addressing the regional implementation deficit, the Bank is executing a Public Policy Analysis and Management (PPAM) and Project Cycle Management (PCM) Training programme, to which CIDT are contracted as the PCM training consultants.

    Related news and media

    Find out more about CIDT’s work with CDB in the following news articles:

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  • ‘Women in Leadership’ workshop makes an impact for African Union staff

    11 April 2018
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    'Women in Leadership' workshop

    CIDT has delivered a first ‘Women in Leadership’ training workshop for the African Union (AU), comprising 22 senior female staff from across the African Union Commission and including two from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the AU Advisory Board on Anti-Corruption (AUABC). The training took place from March 19-23 in Arusha, Tanzania.

    The AU is concerned about the representation of women in the African Union Commission (AUC). It is well recognized that the Commission must reflect the continent’s diversity, in terms of gender and, of course, geography. Despite Article 6(3) of the commission’s statutes stating that “[a]t least one Commissioner from each region shall be a woman,” women currently make up only a very small proportion of all those contesting positions as commissioners. Moreover there are other internal structural and cultural barriers to women’s leadership that are still pervasive. Overall the staffing in the AU is 65% men and 35% women.

    The ‘Women in Leadership’ workshop was designed to address the unique challenges women face in leadership positions and to create enabling conditions to address them. It recognises the role of the social construct of gender roles in influencing perceptions, creating stereotypes and limiting opportunities for learning and growth into leadership. By catalysing and harnessing the power of women leaders, the AUC can realise the true potential of some of its best people. The ultimate goals of this workshop were, therefore, to:

    • lay the foundation to grow a cadre of strong leaders within the organisation; and
    • identify and start nurturing those with highest potential.

    Over the five day programme participants were exposed to new knowledge as well as having the chance to practice some leadership skills. In particular participants had the opportunity to reflect on their own leadership styles, needs and opportunities. To achieve the unique blend of enquiry and practice the facilitators used participatory approaches to foster meaningful reflection and adult learning, drawing on and valuing participants’ experiences. In working through the programme, real-life examples were used as well as a wide variety of methodologies such as group work, role plays, participant presentations, informal coaching, reflection and personal journal writing and more.

    Participants considered different leadership and management styles and qualities, shared their personal views and experiences on a range of topics and reappraised their own skills in the light of their learning. The range of skills discussed and practiced were:

    • Communication: Listening
    • Communication: Public Speaking
    • Communication: Body language for power and influence
    • Negotiation
    • Assertiveness

    The workshop was co-facilitated by CIDT’s Deputy Head of Centre, Rachel Roland, and Senior Lecturer, Kimberly Kane. The sessions were highly interactive, practical and tailored to the context of the AU.

    During the week an excellent bond built up between participants, many of whom exercised for up to an hour before breakfast each day. Towards the end, a number of hashtags were proposed to help take forward the ambitious programme of work on women’s leadership that is planned in the AU.

    Some feedback from participants included:

    • “Very practical to the context of women in general and at AU.”
    • “There were many group exercises and simulations that made content easy to understand.”
    • “Allowed me to reflect on my current situation.”
    • “The workshop was really informative, educative, practical. The facilitators are really current.”
    • “More time [should] be allocated as the content of the workshop is important.”
    • “The workshop was a very practical one and I am eager to go back and put them in practice.”
    • “I have previously attended a number of trainings on leadership, but none has ever spoken so directly to me as CIDT Women in Leadership. Now I can lead.”

    Photos from the workshop

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