Project Design and Management Workshop Reflection
On May 18-23 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, IRIS hosted a three-day Project Design and Management (PDM) workshop for YES alumni from Tanzania, Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya, and South Africa. The workshop was a collaborative effort between IRIS and American Councils for International Education and was the first YES alumni event ever hosted by IRIS.
The workshop aimed at providing participants with the necessary tools to develop and implement great alumni projects in their home communities. During the workshop, participants were able to develop a shared understanding of concepts, strategies, and skills for project design and management, as well as utilize those skills to develop successful projects in their communities.
YES alumni met with one another and worked in an active workshop setting to develop a community project. At the end of the workshop, teams of two presented their plans for their community projects, with the goal being to implement the project within six months after the workshop.
The YES alumni first learned how to develop a project from the planning stages. Other stages included budgeting, monitoring, and completion of the project.
Christine Odera, one of the participants from Kenya, was able to understand how she could use her skills, talents, and resources in her own community project, “Many are times, we (YES alumni) have good ideas but we don’t understand how to implement them. It is difficult because we really don’t know that we have assets as individuals that we can use. The workshop helped me identify just how valuable I can be. I have a laptop, I am literate and fluent in English, and that’s even before combining the other assets from other local and national partners.”
Not only did the workshop allow the YES alumni to understand the tools and resources they already have, but it also taught them how to assess their community needs and determine how best to address them in their project. Alumni were able to combine their personal ideas for community change with the actual needs of the community. At the end of the workshop Christine states, “Now I am confident in distinguishing between my own desires and what is really needed in my community.”
Workshop attendees also learned ways to implement their projects from the planning stages by developing clearly laid out plans with both quantitative and qualitative goals. Furthermore, YES alumni learned about resources and budgeting. Christine states, “Resources and budgeting are the reason why so many people have problems implementing their brilliant ideas into the community. From the workshop, I was taught how to effectively write a budget and how to ensure that cost sharing is put in place.” Alumni were also able to understand how to write proposals through workshop activities.
Ultimately, the PDM workshop was able to give YES alumni the skills and knowledge they need to confidently pursue their community projects. Christine says that because of the workshop, “I will challenge myself to open myself to new challenges and more community projects. I am currently working on a reproductive health project that I am hoping to implement in a years’ time.”