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A group photo of the training participants

Community World Service Asia organized and hosted a four-day training on Project Planning for development and humanitarian organizations in the third week of September in Murree. The training focused on enhancing capacities of participants on project planning, its tools and their application, and donor-specific planning approaches and frameworks.

Thirty-five participants from eleven organizations including Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKDN), Helpage International, Malteser International, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Multan Discoes Trust Association, Sungi Development Foundation, Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI), AAR Japan, AWARD, The Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) and Helping Hand for Relief & Development (HHRD) took part in the training. The training was facilitated by Zeeshan Noel, a development professional and trainer with expertise in project management, policy research and advocacy, and emergency response planning. Noel has been working in the development sector for almost ten years, and has been associated with development agencies, human/civil rights bodies, NGOs, and public sector offices.

Comprehensive project planning and effective compliance with the requirements of donor agencies is often one of the key challenges faced by humanitarian and development organizations. Many small and medium scale organizations in the region lack these formal skills or have very limited focus on this significant aspect of project management.  Whereas, it is the efficiency and effectiveness of  a project’s planning that determines its true success. Applying accurate planning tools help in the smooth execution of a project, continuous tracking of progress and towards readjusting implementation approaches at any stage of the project, needed to achieve the desired outputs.

The prime objective of the training was to create a conceptual clarity on the subject of and improve Project Planning skills, specifically in development phase of projects. This four days training was designed for mid-level managers with interest and prior experience in project planning and execution of development sector organizations. Participants, with prior basic knowledge on project planning and management, were selected for this training. Key concepts of pre-planning stage were introduced in the training, including understanding on Project Cycle Management (PCM), key results, problem tree analysis and Logical Framework Analysis (LFA). It helped the participants to thoroughly understand and provided a base for practically applying these tools.

On the first day, many participants were new to the concepts of PCM and Logical Framework Analysis, specially those who did not have any prior experience in the planning phase before. The timing of the training had to be adjusted and duration of some sessions had to be prolonged to make sure that all participants are on the same page and planned topics are fully covered. However, by day two the concepts were much clearer and actual practice on developing the plans was initiated.

By the end of training, all the participants were able to develop project planning and implementation tools for their organizations. Through group exercises, they developed problem tree analysis, LFA, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Performance Management Framework (PMF), Work plan and budget and costed work plan. In addition to the planning tools, M&E plans were developed and the concept of GSMART planning was also explained.

As a concluding exercise, an action plan for the participants was drafted in which each organization identified the gaps in their project planning and committed to introduce the newly learnt tools to overcome these challenges. Besides all learning, one of the key activities of the training was its fun night in which all participants, coming from different corners of the country, exhibited their cultures and tradition. They sang folk songs, danced and played games.

Muhammad Fazil Sardar, General Manager-Monitoring, Evaluation & Research, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), participated as a chief guest on the final day of the training and awarded certificates to all the participants. Addressing the training, he talked about the importance of project planning tools especially problem tree analysis to identify the root causes.

Project planning tools carry equal significance in project cycle management and day to day life as well.

Community World Service Asia held the second joint standards training, ‘Enhancing Quality and Accountability throughout Project Cycle Management in humanitarian action and non-emergency,’ in Asia from January 19-23, 2015. Thirty participants representing 21 organizations from thirteen countries attended the five-day training in Bangkok, Thailand. The training was designed and facilitated by Sylvie Robert and co-facilitated by Community World Service Asia’s team member, Rizwan Iqbal, and Go Igarashi from Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan.

The main quality and accountability initiatives were introduced to participants which helped them understand the significance of linkages between various standards. With the launch of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) and an increased pressure on agencies to adopt joint standards, the training provided an opportunity to identify key quality and accountability initiatives. Participants were able to select existing quality and accountability tools unique to their context and apply them throughout the project cycle, from the initial assessment phase, through the implementation, and finally the evaluation and learning phases. The training also assisted participants with opportunities to collaborate and coordinate with other agencies to improve quality and accountability in humanitarian response. This was achieved through various participatory learning and sharing methods, and a resource kit for each participant helped enable analysis of existing tools with fieldwork.

An active methodology allowed for creative learning and sharing throughout the training. Through a specific group activity, participants identified the implementation of quality and accountability initiatives by sharing examples from the field. Work in pairs formed after a brainstorming session allowed the groups to prepare short presentations on some quality and accountability initiatives and deliver those in plenary to share information with their colleagues.

Participants benefited from various types of practical exercises, such as a case study and a field school (real life exercise) to explore and understand the use of the quality and accountability tools in distinct contexts as well as the crucial need to select and adapt them.

 “The case studies were quite useful, they allowed us to concretely apply the standards and consider them during PCM stages.”

“I learned about quality and accountability – the theory and practice during the group exercise.”

“Review of the tools was exactly what I needed. It was really helpful to use them in practice.”

Presentations on key approaches such as the rights-based approach and accountability to beneficiaries, as well as on more transversal themes including disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), resilience, and the link between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD), enabled participants to deepen their knowledge and share experiences from the region.

As the training concluded, participants agreed that a need exists to increase knowledge on quality and accountability approaches, initiatives, and tools in preparedness to ensure its effective use at the time of a disaster. The participants highlighted the need for future training on: Core Humanitarian Standards; training of trainers (ToT) on Sphere, quality and accountability, and complaints response mechanism (CRM); and separate training on each of the quality and accountability initiatives.

Participants were encouraged to collaborate with other agencies to improve quality and accountability in humanitarian action and agreed to seek future coordination, information, ideas, and other requirements.

DurationJan 01, 2012Dec 01, 2014
LocationPakistan and Nepal
Key Activities
  • Development of curriculum and workbooks to enhance the knowledge, understanding, and skills of teachers and students relating to the Do No Harm approach and Local Capacities for Peace tools
  • Conducting training for teachers to enable them to engage students in activities that encourage cooperation, consensus building, and reflective listening
  • Organizing youth camps for students to explore these themes in-depth and train young people as peace ambassadors
  • Regional exposure visits for young people from Pakistan and Nepal to develop linkages and learn from each others’ experiences.
Participants 60 teachers
135 Pakistani youth
5 Nepali youth

I had a conventional way of teaching previously. During the training, the trainers treated us as school kids which helped me build perception of understanding the student’s point of view. I was highly moved by the problem sharing exercise where the teacher has to listen to every student’s problems individually. I am now more aware of child psychology.

Ghazala Gill, a primary school teacher at DAWS Allied School Burewala.

I was a scared girl once at home, but teaching brought me to a challenging world and believing in myself. This workshop has given me another perspective to teach through interactive methods, keeping the students energized. I stayed with people of different religions and culture and developed a sense of living through no discrimination and interfaith harmony.

Fatima, a school teacher at ARM Child and Youth Welfare, Karachi