Tag Archives: Project Management

Themes from our Capacity Building Workshop

In October, the ESAR Office hosted a T4D Capacity Building workshop which brought together programme and ICT staff from 19 of our 21 country offices to discuss the both challenges and possible solutions for managing and scaling T4D and innovation projects. The workshop served as a good platform for information sharing and learning between country offices.

We are pleased to share the post-workshop report which serves as a summary of the sessions and discussions during the workshop. It offers a brief analysis of the common challenges met by Country Offices during T4D implementation, some practical examples and opportunities for integrating T4D into programmes, and a summary of the tools proposed to assist with T4D project management. Finally, it summarizes the key outcomes and offers a roadmap for future support from the Regional Office: ESARO T4D Capacity Building Workshop Report

To learn more about the individual sessions, check out the presentation put together by our facilitation partner for this workshop, ThoughtWorks, which highlights the main points of each session: T4D Synthesis-FINAL

We would like to thank all of our participants, especially those who shared case studies from their offices. Whether or not you attended the workshop, we hope this report will serve as a learning opportunity and spark discussion for those working on T4D and innovation initiatives.

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Weekly T4D/Innovation Insight & Update #1

In an effort to support and advance learning and knowledge about T4D in the region, the Regional T4D team is beginning to share articles and links on a weekly basis to stimulate discussion and thinking.

To begin, here is a link to a blog post that talks about the challenges within the T4D community. http://www.kiwanja.net/blog/?s=ICT4D+challenges.

I am also including a link to an article outlining some of the opportunities that T4D can offer the humanitarian world. http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/jan/04/technology-make-difference-2012 .

These two links highlight some important points when thinking about the opportunities, as well as challenges, when integrating T4D into programme delivery. Applying T4D tools and strategies is much less about the technology and much more about the programming, and some even venture to say that T4D is only 5% technology and 95% programme. Therefore, thinking through all the stages of programme planning is necessary to design, implement and scale a successful project.

The Kiwanja blog outlines some important questions to think about in their post “ICT4D Challenges”:

  • How do we replicate and scale?
  • How do we measure impact?
  • How do we stop the reinventing of wheels?
  • How do we avoid being “technology lead?”
  • How do we break out of silos?
  • What is the business/sustainability model?
  • How do we make sense of the countless pilots?

Some of these questions are easier than others to answer. But, as ESAR becomes more comfortable with T4D,  we should continually refer back to some of these larger issues and challenges to help inform how we move forward.

Stay tuned for more weekly insights and updates!

 

T4D Capacity Building Workshop – Nairobi, Kenya

Between October 22 and October 25 the Eastern and Southern African Regional Office facilitated a T4D capacity building workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. Participants came from 19 countries in the region as well as the Western and Central African Region and ICT Headquarters, representing a mix of both programme and ICT specialists. Over four days we learned about the essentials of the T4D toolbox, challenges that arise when integrating technology into programmes, and moreover, how we can advance T4D across the region, and ultimately, better achieve programme aims and meet beneficiaries’ need.

Common themes that emerged throughout the workshop and were discussed frequently: the need for cross-section and cross-country collaboration, thinking about scale from the beginning, sound project management, leadership, local and government ownership of initiatives, evidence-based approach, and technology choice.

Below you can find a brief overview of what was discussed each day and some key take away points.

Day 1: Setting Context and Sharing Experiences

The first day of the workshop was used to set the scene about T4D and Innovation initiatives throughout the region. We spent a lot of the day exploring the challenges surrounding T4D through case studies on specific projects that “failed.” Through a variety of sessions and activities we began to better understand why projects fail, and moreover, what lessons we can take away from the mistakes to help develop successful initiatives in the future.

Day 2: Opportunities for Integrating T4D in Programmes

After sketching the T4D landscape through learning about the challenges that arise when trying to integrate T4D into programme delivery, we spent the day talking about the bigger picture of how T4D can complement and not hinder programme delivery. The day’s sessions focused on some of the basic nuts and bolts of T4D in programmes by looking at the processes behind T4D. Take away from the day? Progamme comes first. Only after the programme section knows their needs, can one think about integrating the tech.

Day 3:  Working with External Partners and Vendors

During the third day we got down to the nitty gritty and really began looking at the basic roles and techniques used in business analysis and software development. We learned that the most successful projects have well-defined programme objectives and a clear project management plan. There are a host of external partners and vendors in the T4D spaces, and choosing tools and technology must be based on context. Learning about the various internal and external tools and technologies is crucial when designing a project, and can be the difference between a project that is successful and one from which we can learn lessons.

Day 4: Alternative Solutions

On the last day we looked beyond the traditional T4D initiatives and widened our horizons about T4D potential. The Intro to Human Centred Design was an excellent closing session for us to reflect back on what T4D can help programme sections accomplish. Lesson learned: programmes should be designed around the end-users. We closed the workshop with looking at the Regional Office next steps and received feedback on how we can best support T4D within country offices.

We hope everyone had a great week and a huge thank you to our facilitators and participants!