OPINION: Decision-makers need local case studies, simple language, and interaction in training materials
Karen Sutherland, CDKN Project Manager at SouthSouthNorth, gives an overview of the AMCOW Capacity Building Programme and feedback from a workshop in Kigali to test the on-the-job training materials that will form the basis of the programme.
Government leaders across Africa are looking for guidance in making climate-resilient investments and planning effective development strategies in the water sector. Some of the pressing questions on the minds of decision-makers include: What planning and design modifications to traditional hydro-power development should be considered to account for the impact of climate change on hydrological regimes? What changes should be brought to the management of vulnerable coastlines to protect the tourism industry and low-lying farming areas? What policies must be in place to help safeguard the agricultural sector in water-insecure areas? Billions of dollars and millions of livelihoods are at stake.
In order for governments to fully integrate climate resilience into water sector plans and investments, they need tools and trained professionals to undertake economic analyses and to evaluate potential investment strategies for increasing climate resilience.
The AMCOW Capacity Building Programme is designed to address this gap in knowledge and expertise. It responds to the decision in November 2010 by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) to roll-out a Water, Climate and Development Program (WACDEP) in eight countries across Africa (Cameroon, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Rwanda and Tunisia). The Capacity Building Programme builds on the development of the Framework for Water Security and Climate Resilient Development, supported by CDKN in collaboration with the Global Water Partnership (GWP). The Framework and supporting Technical Background Document is designed to assist decision-makers in developing programmes and investment plans to promote water security for climate resilient development in Africa and can be used as a tool to guide decision-making in developing practical adaptation measures in the face of uncertainty.
The Capacity Building Programme serves to move WACDEP into implementation and will deepen the knowledge of methods and concepts outlined in the GWP Framework documents. The programme aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of planning departments in Ministries and local governments in participating countries to apply the Framework in their real life programmes and projects. It’s based around the concept of action learning, including on-the-job coaching and support and creating a community of practice for participants. The programme provides support to mid- and senior-level planners and decision makers across the life-cycle of project development, from understanding the problem and identifying and appraising options, to delivering solutions and monitoring results.
NIRAS and their partners have developed a comprehensive package of learning material and guidelines for the on-the-job training and workshops. This material, which will form the basis of the Capacity Building Programme, was tested in Kigali, Rwanda from 26-27 September 2013 with a wide range of government, non-government and academic participants from Rwanda, including climate change advisers, economists and water planners.
Participants had the opportunity to review and test the learning materials first-hand and begin to reflect on its application in the Rwandan context. In highly interactive break-out sessions, participants discussed how accurately the learning materials capture the Framework and supporting documents; their general applicability across Africa and scope for drilling down to local issues; and the teaching methods and approach used.
Key areas of feedback to the project team included:
- The need for more explicit links back to the GWP Water, Climate and Development Program and its intended outputs
- The importance of local case studies for each of the eight pilot countries
- The need for simplified language to ensure the learning materials are accessible to a wide range of participants, and
- Less text and graphs to allow for greater discussion in the training workshops
The next stage in the AMCOW Capacity Building Programme is the upcoming Training of Trainers workshop in Addis Ababa, from 25-29 November 2013. The workshop will bring together the eight Capacity Building Teams, tasked with delivering the training programme in their home countries, to review the revised learning materials and ensure they have the necessary skills and capacities to start implementing the training workshops.
We occasionally invite bloggers from around the world to provide their experiences and views. The views expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of CDKN.
For more information on CDKN’s current support for the AMCOW Capacity Building Programme, please visit the project page.