UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Project Planning -- India – January and February

Denny Hamilton had the opportunity to work with personnel from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai in two districts of Tamal Nadu State in south eastern India.  The assignment was part of process to review all of the projects supported by UNDP during this five-year program cycle.  He found the U N personnel to be open and interested in improving not only the quality of project documents, but also the management of projects.  He managed a process in which the annual work plans of each of the 66 projects was reviewed and language of the objectives, activities and indicators revised to more accurately reflect the intent of the projects as well as how progress could be measured. 

 

Three projects stand out among the ones he worked with.  One was an environmental conservation project in the Gulf of Mannar, an unusual body of water between the southeast coast of India and the northwest coast of Sri Lanka.  India has established a large marine reserve which covers a thousand square kilometers of the sea and a ten kilometer wide perimeter park around the reserve.  What was interesting was the way the management of the park was assigned within the government bureaucracy, which placed it under the Department of Forestry.  Little was going on inside the park.  To compensate, the project had focused on developing livelihoods for fishing families, particularly women, who have been cut out of the work force by modern equipment.  A most extraordinary set of livelihood development activities focused on women and children he has ever encountered were underway.  Included were:  small scale fish processing ( pickling, drying);  sewing  (clothes for women and children, purses, bags); vocational training : bicycle repair, computer training, carpentry, welding, small marine engine repair, accounting;  adult education

(literacy, reading); weaving (bamboo mats and baskets).

 

The second was a poverty reduction project focused on what is called “Financial Inclusion.”  In India there are groups of people called “Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”  who tend to be among the poorest and most vulnerable social groups and this project was designed to get financial assistance to these vulnerable groups.  It was early days in this project and one challenges was moving the implementation from the national level down to the district level. 

 

The third project as a joint UN agency project on convergence involving UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA (the United Nations Fund for Population Activities).  This project had a good work plan on paper.  Its aim was to assist district governments to improve planning and implementation of projects at the district level.   What Mr. Hamilton discovered and tried to help the partners work with was the challenges associated with three large agencies collaborating on a single project.  It would be like Weyerhaeuser, Boeing and United Parcel Service working together on a project to merge their efforts to improve public services in the western United States.      

 

 

The Humanitarian Field Coordination Program  -- Kenya and Thailand – April and May

Denny Hamilton defines a training program as, “a multi-faceted set of training events, which together focus on improving human performance in a specific range of activities. He began working on this one program back in the spring of 2008.  In this case, the program had three components: a 12 week-long distance-learning component during which 65-75 participants each read one chapter every two weeks on topics related to humanitarian coordination.  DH contributed to the writing of all six chapters, which covered: (1) humanitarian coordination; (2)  information management; (3)  emergency response and contingency planning; (4) advocacy; (5) humanitarian protection ; and (6) humanitarian financing.  At the conclusion of each chapter participants had to complete and submit  a set of exercises.  At the conclusion of the 12 weeks, those participants, all of whom were staff of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Activities (OCHA), who had successfully completed the distance-learning component were invited to participate in a training workshop.  In all, Mr. Hamilton facilitated nine (9) of these workshops, the last two of which were conducted in Kenya and Thailand at the end of April and in early May.  The workshops focused on developing competencies required to perform the functions of humanitarian workers in the field.  These included Planning and Organizing, Analyzing, Creativity, Communication, Facilitation, Networking, Negotiation, Teamwork, Client Orientation, Commitment to People in Need, Building Trust, Accountability and Leadership.  He conducted training sessions which created the opportunity for participants to learn more about these competencies and to practice them.  One highlight of the workshop is a simulation of the response to the Russian incursion into Georgia in 2008.  Since the participants all come to the workshop with a common background based on their work on the six chapters, and since the training course was initially designed and then modified to respond to specific needs identified by the participants, the response to this training event was unbelievably positive. 

 

Largest LOOP GROOP Ever at Olympic College

Forty five students participated in the largest LOOP(ette) ever at Olympic College on December 28.  These students, part of the Workfirst program, worked in groups of 4 or 5.  Some of them had been in the program for several months, others had just been accepted.  Brianna Baker, the program's coordinator, Denny, Joe Teisan and Lorie Waggett acted as coaches, answering questions and providing encourangement and guidance.    Some of what the students said about the experience follows.   “Fun and thought provoking!  I liked the social interaction.  I liked the color post-its.  I liked that the activities that keep you involved.  I liked that it helped me remember the life goals I have which sometimes are easy to forget.  I liked EVERYTHING!  I liked hearing other people, the goal setting,  and realizing I have the power to make things happen for me.  My direction is clearer,   One said, “How in depth this workshop was!  All the areas of improvement I need to plan for.”  And another said, “I liked Loopette because you can draw out your present and future instead of writing.  It helped me a lot.”   

 

Idea Cards" Good Idea for Meetings  

Participants who came to the early morning “Intro to the Card and Chart Technique” workshop on Thursday July 30 were graciously hosted at the NM Chamber of Commerce offices because the Theler Center was just too hot to handle. They learned how to make meetings more effective by using visualization techniques for brainstorming, decision making, action planning, and task assignments. Not only did they discuss materials, preparation, questioning and instruction techniques, they practiced collecting, clarifying, posting and clustering “idea cards.” They expected to learn how to: “be a better facilitator, make a meeting run more efficiently, manage a contentious meeting, and help participants clarify the task or issue. What they said at the end of the 90 minute workshop was that the C&T technique : “was a clearer way of doing mind-mapping; was a very useful tool for facilitating a meeting or conducting a training; could easily be adapted to a database structure, will help bring clarification in meetings; and it was a good demonstration of excellent facilitation techniques.” One person said, “I like the card idea better than the leader doing all the writing. It seems the leader would be less harried.” The workshop was facilitated by Denny and Marcia Hamilton from TAP Training Associates Pacific. All participants received a Card and Chart Start up kit. Come to an early morning 90-minute workshop facilitated by the Hamiltons, Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 7:30 am at the Theler Center in Belfair, 360-275-4898. Make your presentations more effective. Learn to use your voice, your hands, and visual aids to better communicate your message, convince your listeners, and sell your product! Coffee, danish, and juice will be presented. Call 360-275-6701 or register on line at www.tap-trainingassociatespacific.com.

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TAP (Training Associates Pacific, LLC) is a human resource development organization registered in the U.S. in Washington State. TAP associates form a global network of professionals who advise on, design, and facilitate state-of-the-art participatory live- and on-line learning events, customized courses, and training materials in the United States, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Europe.