Capacity building will have three main themes: Project Management, Community-Driven Development and Gender Mainstreaming. Capacity building efforts will utilize training courses and complemented and reinforced through the facilitation of interaction and mentoring support to individuals. The process can be shown as a ladder with three thematic areas linked and reinforced by the rungs of facilitation and mentoring as summarized in the following figure. To reinforce this process, a policy advocacy component will assist in empowering project managers by raising awareness of the benefits of improved project management at senior government levels.
A. Formal Training
These can be implemented at a training institution or, preferably, training resources brought to project sites so the theory can be linked to practical examples.
B. Facilitation or Shared Learning
Most countries have a mixture of ‘mature’ and start-up projects. This range of project implementation experience and the professional training of PMU staff provide a resource for sharing experience within a facilitated process to develop agreed outputs.
C. Information Access
A major difficulty most managers experience is that they can access a wide range of information but do not have time to screen it to find the relevant parts. The IFAD-funded Knowledge Networking for Rural Development in Asia/Pacific Region Project – Phase II (ENRAP II) has demonstrated the use of websites and moderated electronic discussion boards to provide access to focused information and to enhance the sharing of ideas and experiences, and APMAS can learn from ENRAP how to utilize websites and online discussion to enhance information sharing and access.
Project managers reported difficulties in applying the theory they have gained through formal training activities in a specific management area. This is due to both the need for project management to adapt their learning to suit the specific needs of their project and to management being diverted by more pressing short-term problems.
Mentoring through telephone and electronic contact – reinforced where necessary with visits to the PMU – would improve the chance of successful adoption and application of the theory within the context of the project. Mentoring requires two-way interaction between the PMU and the mentor to ensure pro-active follow-up and inputs by the mentor when project management is diverted by other issues. The total amount of time necessary for mentoring will depend on how much time needs to be spent working together in the PMU. Much of the benefits from mentoring can come from regular telephone contact with the PMU to follow up what progress has been achieved and initiate further required action.
Mentoring will be provided by a blend of inputs from experienced project managers with similar management interests/ responsibilities and from Facilitators in the country who have specific experience in the management area being supported.
The APMAS Coordinator and APMAS Focal Points at the country level would assist in forming initial linkages between a project and an appropriate mentor and regularly follow up the mentoring process. In some cases, the APMAS Coordinator or, less likely, an appropriate outside resource may take on the mentor role. Once an initial mentoring link has been established, an individual project would be responsible for the cost of the mentoring process.