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Supporting a revolution in results-based project management in the Caribbean
Over 18 months we delivered 2300 hours of training in 19 Caribbean countries, helping to create a step change in results-oriented project management in the region, embedding skills for sustainability and rooting our strong partnership ethos and values across the Caribbean.
Click the arrows to move through the story.
This impact story captures our work with the Caribbean Development Bank over an 18-month period between 2017 and 2019.
In fact, the story of this partnership starts long before, in 2013, when we undertook a large needs assessment across the region. The journey towards an effective and sustainable project cycle management system in the Caribbean took place over these six years and involved many individuals and organisations working together.
The success is down to many people, not least the spirit of determination and focus embodied by local leaders and project managers who were so motivated to increase the quality of their work for their beneficiaries.
CDB = Caribbean Development Bank
PCM – Project Cycle Management
PPAM = Public Policy Analysis and Management
BMC = Borrowing Member Countries
Background and context
The Caribbean Development Bank recognises that sustainable development is significantly compromised by a shortage of well-trained personnel in the fields of Public Policy Analysis and Management (PPAM) and Project Cycle Management (PCM).
In 2013, building on our long and well-respected Caribbean track record of capacity development work, we were commissioned to conduct a Training Needs Assessment to inform the design and delivery of a new programme of PPAM and PCM training.
Several major challenges which currently impact the effectiveness of interventions in Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) were identified.
Two years later, in 2015, we were contracted to provide Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Assistance to Phase 1 of the CDB’s new capacity development programme PPAM and PCM.
The open consultation approach signalled to countries that this was ‘their programme’ not a ‘one-size-fits-all’. It generated feedback that allowed the CDB to make the programme more relevant and effective; and it led to an evolution of the programme design and scope.
Establishing a country-led Monitoring and Evaluation system in six countries and conducting the mid-term evaluation of the first phase of the programme, with a strong focus on lesson learning, led to roll-out to a further 12 countries.
We've been here before...
This wasn’t our first time in the Caribbean. In fact, we’ve been working there for 20 years. Use the arrows to scroll through the timeline below to see our previous projects in the region.
What is PCM and why is it important?
Project Cycle Management (PCM) focuses on strategic, results-oriented design and planning, as well as the use of performance information to improve decision-making, in order to maximise impact while optimising resources.
In practice, we use a set of well-structured, practical tools to guide strategic and operational planning, risk management, progress monitoring, and outcome/impact evaluation.
Capacity gaps in this area had been having implications for development outcomes in the region, with projects being delayed due to late start-up, lengthy procurement processes and extended project implementation.
As defined by the European Commission:
Project Cycle Management (PCM) represents the whole of management activities and decision-making procedures used during the life cycle of a project. PCM helps to ensure that projects are relevant to an agreed strategy and to the problems of target groups.
Designing the programme
The programme design featured an innovative capacity strengthening and transfer model by working in partnership with a cadre of regional associates for sustainable outcomes. The partnership approach was based on a set of well-established CIDT partnership principles:
Supporting the CDB team and its partners to articulate their needs and build their capacity in managing the programme.
Taking a needs-based and flexible approach, CIDT helped manage the provision of demand-led technical assistance. In order to respond to changing needs, we had to work in a highly open and flexible manner with all partners.
Giving priority to Caribbean inputs, notably in the design of the case study based curriculum and the composition of the delivery team. International consultants were paired with regional counterparts and this unique approach was very much appreciated by the training audience.
We focused on building capacity of the CDB staff team and its partners, helping them in articulating their needs, exploring options and ensuring effective programme implementation.
Building on existing Caribbean practices and initiatives by bringing new skills that could add value to existing procedures and systems.
The diagram below shows our capacity development model for this programme.
The CIDT team
A large and diverse CIDT team, led by Project Manager Ella Haruna, were able to work together to keep the programme on track, from the complexities of travel and hospitality requirements, to the design and collation of training materials and in-person training and facilitation.
The crucial role of Caribbean Associates
Our team of selected Caribbean Associates were key to the both the design and delivery of the training programme. The technical training had to be appropriately designed and delivered for a Caribbean audience. The role of the Associates in helping CIDT to nuance the training design to local Caribbean conditions was critical.
Working hand in hand, CIDT staff incrementally transferred the curriculum and implementation of the training programme to our regional expert counterparts, whilst maintaining quality assurance (QA) oversight and continuing to manage the process of continuous improvement. This approach promoted sustainability, cost-effectiveness, consistency of methodology and efficiency.
The diagram below demonstrates how the programme was gradually passed over to the Caribbean team.
Susan Branker Greene, Barbados
Alexa Khan, Trinidad
Nana Hesse Bayne, Trinidad
Yolanda Alleyne, Barbados
Joy Mapp Jobity, Trinidad
Mark Lee, Jamaica
Sergei Prozarov, UK
Wouter Hijweege, Netherlands
Claudia Nicholson, Grenada
Vasantha Chase, St Lucia
Teddy Charles, Jamaica
Lennise Baptiste, Trinidad
The eight training modules covered 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. The menu of face-to-face (F2F) training courses was tailored to offer maximum impact within a fixed delivery schedule in each country.
CDB’s four cross-cutting themes were fully mainstreamed across the curricula: Gender; Climate Change; Governance and Environmental Sustainability.
Module 1: Introduction to PPAM (delivered by DODS)
Module 2: Advanced PPM (delivered by DODS)
Module 3: Principles, tools and skills for PCM
Module 4: Project appraisal
Module 5: Project planning and implementation
Module 6: Monitoring and Implementation
Module 7: Risk Management
Module 8: Managing Technical Assistance Projects
Module 9: Procurement
Module 10: Train the Trainer
We were documenting the journey...
The programme in numbers19Countries25Webinars conducted to follow up on Action Plan implementation34-104People trained in each country75Staff trained in Masterclasses facilitated by CIDT’s Head of Centre in September 201897%Average satisfaction rate in feedback on training style and delivery120Senior Leaders participated in a Regional Leadership event in Jamaica in June 2018213Participants accessed CIDT’s online courses in Results Based Management255Trainers trained340Webinar participants1273Individuals trained2300Hours of training2860Module participants trained by CIDT staff, some taking multiple modules
Sustainability of the Programme
CIDT trainers Ella Haruna and Susan Branker Greene facilitated a workshop with national training coordinators from 18 countries, including Heads of Civil Service Training Departments and Units. The event aimed to explore the scope of future Public Policy Analysis and Management and Project Cycle Management training and support training coordinators to action plan to meet training needs in their respective country contexts.
Reflections and discussions around training needs and challenges were a key theme of this sustainability focused event with regional representatives commenting on the importance of ownership and buy-in from senior levels, strengthening capacity and competency of trainers, understanding institutional limitations and challenges. Find out more about this sustainability workshop.
In the final programming phase, Des Mahony and Dani Baur delivered a series of facilitated virtual clinics with the aim of enabling Training Coordinators with the aim of deepening Training Coordinators’ confidence, encourage them to take ownership of the programme and to encourage Coordinators to support and learn from each other by building and sustaining their own community of practice.
What did we learn?
In the Caribbean Region, delivering results is one of the greatest challenges facing policymakers. In 2017 the rate of successful project implementation in some countries was just 20%.
Delivering training to such a wide audience was challenging. Each country provided a unique audience and context, and each group were coming in with different levels of understanding and prior training. Another challenge was adaptation of the materials and delivery to reflect a very regionally specific gender picture in the Caribbean.
The use of online training before face-to-face training was very useful to get people up to a similar level of understanding. Additionally, having senior leaders champion the activities was very powerful for getting engagement from participants.
Voices of the Programme: A quote from each country"It was very educational and rewarding. The sessions helped us identify real problems and provided tools through which proper analysis and risks should be evaluated among other things."
Anguilla"It was really refreshing to undertake this training session. I have learnt so many concepts and tools that can help me improve the quality of my work and my decision making capacity. I am grateful for the knowledge gain and I am eager to share it with colleagues."
Antigua and Barbuda"It was enjoyable and although it was intense, it created a thirst for more knowledge in the areas and a desire to put the knowledge into practice"
Barbados"The programme is a very effective one. It also comes with very high standards and tried and proven information."
Belize"It gave me an insight of the importance of evaluation projects/programmes from inception in order to detect issues and prevent over spending. The aspect of monitoring… was very useful to me."
British Virgin IslandsThe program has injected an important element into government’s operation that should make it effective, accountable, flexible and responsive. This is made possible by the tools and models trained."
Cayman Islands"I learnt immensely from the facilitators who all seemed well versed in their areas of delivery- I believe all aspect of work in the public sector should have the structured approach that was taught during the exercises."
Dominica"The training was truly an eye opener and very timely from Grenada's point of view and it captured a very wide cross section of the public service."
Grenada"I do believe that this training was a wonderful experience. It created an environment for the exchange of ideas and the airing of problems that plague our society. It also allowed officers to provide solutions to those problems. Good Job!"
Guyana"This program is very important for civil servants. I think that from this training we will be able to implement what we have learned and so we can deposit our little stone for the advancement of our dear country"
Haiti"I must reiterate the importance and significance of this initiative. The usefulness of the initiative was to have varying practitioners around the table to have meaningful discussion and perspectives. Thanks again for the training."
Jamaica"Very deep appreciation for the wealth of knowledge shared by the facilitators. Encouraged by the experience shared by the local participants who have done significant work with the various aspects of projects ranging from report writing to monitoring and evaluation."
Monserrat"Training was practical and applicable. It helped strengthened the need for better project planning, and highlighted the challenges faced in the implementation of projects and the need for finding workable solutions"
St Lucia"I had fun first. The group dynamics were great to bring out different ideas while the facilitator was excellent at getting the point across. Content was great and I really cannot wait to implement on my return to my work place."
St Kitts and Nevis"The training was helpful to me in more ways than one. I think it should continue and be offered to more individuals since it would not only help with the development of one’s personal skills but also the development of the government service."
St Vincent and the Grenadines"It was like given us a brighter and bigger world perspective again, with out of the box thinking and problem solving that we as government officials often forget in time and procedures and challenges we meet."
Suriname"I found the training and the facilitators to be of high standard and great value. If these principles are generally accepted, then they should be affirmed and chartered at the highest levels of government and supported and affirmed throughout the public sector as the new, normal and standard way of operating."
The Bahamas"This training programme was perhaps the most impactful and enjoyable training that I have ever received, thus far, while working in the country's public service. Thank you for taking the time to share the knowledge and approaches with us."
Trinidad and Tobago"This programme has rejuvenated me and gives me the opportunity to truly think outside the box and stretched me. I am already passionate about what I do but I am more motivated"
Turks and Caicos Islands
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This month we catch up with Professor Marcel do Nascimento Botelho, who undertook a PhD with CIDT back in 2003. This was made possible through a DFID-funded partnership between CIDT, University of Wolverhampton and the Federal Rural University of Amazonia (Portuguese: Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia, UFRA) a Brazilian public University located in Belem, Pará state, Brazil.
In 2017, after an election process, Marcel became Rector of UFRA. Since then, he has put into practice all the knowledge acquired from the Pro-UFRA project and his PhD course at CIDT-University of Wolverhampton, to establish UFRA as a key player in the sustainable development of the Amazon Region.
Leadership of higher education responses to combat COVID-19 in Pará state
Under Marcel’s leadership, UFRA has implemented important COVID-19 research initiatives and is now leading a research group conducting a series of analyses on COVID-19 to support state government in its decision-taking process. UFRA’s contribution has helped to reduce the number of deaths in Para state by 45%, and positively impacted upon the wider Brazilian economy. Through a single two-week period UFRA interventions reduced state death rates in Para’s population of 8 million by 14%. The research team are using Artificial Neural Nets to predict new cases, deaths and hospital infrastructure, using data in different ways for each region to help optimise use of resources.
In a recent letter to the UK Secretary of State concerning the success of COVID-19 initiatives, Marcel commented,
“Back in 2001 your Department generously supported a project run with the University of Wolverhampton and Harper Adams University College to support the strengthening of the Federal Rural University of the Amazon (UFRA) in Belem-Para-Brazil, of which I am the current Rector. As a consequence of that support our institution has become a key player in the development of the Amazon region.
“As I write, we are providing vital scientific advice to the local and state governments about the Corona Virus (Covid19) outbreak in our region. Our ability to do this is in no small part due to the support which we received from DFID, and I would wish to acknowledge this contribution and express my thanks for it once again.”
When did you attend CIDT and what you were studying?
I was a University Lecturer at UFRA when I was selected to attended CIDT for the MPhil/DPhil programme.
I started my course at CIDT in 2003 and returned to Brazil to conduct my field research at Universidade Federal Rural da Amazonia (UFRA). Essentially I studied several aspects of institutional and professional development applied to institutional strengthening, comparable to the ‘Rural Extension’ field of research.
I completed modules in: Development in practice; Effective Communication; Project Management; Research Methods; Advanced Research Skills; Social Perspsctives in Development Practice; and Research Methods and Project Design.
The following photos show Marcel during his time at CIDT
How did you find your time studying with us?
During my studies in CIDT I was exposed to an environment of International Development focused on building professional capacity for change. Thus, all classes, discussions with my professors and classmates and of course, the findings from my PhD research, helped me to understand the need to address change as a process that must be based on internal motivation rather than external factors and that the time for it to occur depends on the level of success in creating this internal motivation.
How has your career developed?
Following my studies, I returned to Belém, the capital of the state of Pará in Brazil in order to resume my work as a university lecturer at UFRA. In 2007 I was invited to be the International Advisor of UFRA when I supported two international agreements with the United States and France.
In 2009 I was elected Director of the Socio-environmental and Hydro Resources Institute (at UFRA) for a four year mandate. During those years I implemented a participatory management strategy to develop the actions and projects within the Institute. As a main result of this management strategy it was possible to triple our research and extension budget with high impact upon the academic community and civil society. Some of our professors earned local, regional and even international prizes for their work during this time. The use of action research, which I had introduced as part of my PhD studies as a tool for professional development, allowed our professors to enhance their classes with clear benefit to our students.
Following this I was appointed Teaching Pro-Rector from 2013 to 2017, with a focus on implementation of a course assessment and development program, and an academic control system. The first, was a huge success so that our undergraduate courses were, for the first time, ranked level B according to the national exams. The second, brought an accurate control to academic activities, but more importantly, brought the tools for online interactions amongst professors and students.
During this time, I was elected President of Teaching Pro-Rectors of all the Federal Universities of the Amazon region and Vice President of the National Group of Teaching Pro-Rectors. These two groups were focus on developing strategies to strengthen undergraduate course policies.
After becoming Rector of the Federal Rural University of Amazon via an election process, some achievements in Marcel’s tenure so far are:
- The second best university in the region according to Ministry of Education
- The best university in the use of public funding in the Amazon
- 80% of the undergrad courses classified at B or A rank
- The best Agronomy degree course in the Amazon
- Permanent member of most boards of Agrobusiness in Para
Individually, and as a result of the performance of UFRA, he received recognition including:
- Agronomist of the year in 2017
- Personality of Agribusiness in 2018
- Commendation Order of Merit Cabanagem 2017
- Commendation Honor to Merit of Education 2018
- Commendation Merit of Civil Defence 2019
The following photos show Marcel in his role as lecturer and Rector, as well as receiving an agronomy award:
You can view some of Marcel’s publications using the links below:
- Rocha, J. E. C. ; Souza Junior, G. N. ; Brito, S. R. ; Folador, A. R. C. ; Ramos, R. T. J. ; Braga, M. B.; Botelho, M. N. . Redes Neurais Artificiais Na Previsão De Contágio E Óbitos Por Covid-19: Um Estudo No Estado Do Pará, Brasil. International Journal Of Development Research, V. 10, P. 35416-35421, 2020.
- SOUSA, Adriano Marlisom Leão De; ROCHA, Edson José Paulino Da ; Vitorino, M. Isabel ; Souza, Paulo Jorge De Oliveira Ponte D ; BOTELHO, M. N. . Variabilidade Espaco-Temporal Da Precipitação Na Amazônia Durante Eventos Enos. Revista Brasileira De Geografia Física, V. 8, P. 13-24, 2015
- Sousa, Adriano Marlison Leão De ; Vitorino, Maria Isabel ; Castro, Nilza Maria Dos Reis ; Botelho, M. N.; Souza, Paulo Jorge Oliveira Ponte De . Evapotranspiration From Remote Sensing To Improve The Swat Model In Eastern Amazonia. Floram – Revista Floresta E Ambiente, V. 4, P. 1-9, 2015.