Reflections on Capacity Strengthening and Training — past, present and future

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Presentation by Ponniah Anandajayasekeram to the ILRI Annual Program Meeting (APM), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 16 April 2010

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Reflections on Capacity Strengthening and Training — past, present and future

  1. 1. P. Anandajayasekeram Annual Planning Meeting (APM) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 16 April 2010
  2. 2. 2010 1971 1982
  3. 3. 1 2 3 6 7 4 8 9 10 11 12 5 My Journey to Addis
  4. 4. My Journey Through CGIAR <ul><li>A shift in the research paradigm </li></ul><ul><li>Some aspects have shifted along a continuum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focused with long-term commitment Broader agenda with greater uncertainty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global public good Regional/national public goods with potential for scaling up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best Practice Best Fit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NARIs AIS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some aspects have come full circle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact Collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publish or Perish Competition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other observations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of autonomy of individual centers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More players in the system, growing interdependency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Image as a “trusted partner” has eroded, at times viewed as competitor </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Human Capital One of the Prime Movers <ul><li>A critical constraint to development – New generation of change agents </li></ul><ul><li>As a development input must always be present but context specific </li></ul><ul><li>Viewed as a system – Focus at all levels </li></ul><ul><li>CGIAR is a very small player </li></ul>
  6. 6. Clientele Private Sector CBO NGO Public Sector AET Systems (Universities, Schools, Colleges and non-formal education organizations) The AET System A sub-system of rural development system <ul><li>Individuals, Groups, Organizations </li></ul>
  7. 7. Current Status of Agricultural Research and Training Capacity <ul><li>Erosion of staff </li></ul><ul><li>Skewed age distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Weak linkages – Tertiary education and R&D Institutes </li></ul><ul><li>Poor organization and management of existing capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of systematic reinforcement </li></ul>
  8. 8. Constraints of the AET System <ul><li>Distorted enrollment pattern </li></ul><ul><li>Isolated and fragmented AET institutes </li></ul><ul><li>Obsolete and disassociated curricula from the economy </li></ul><ul><li>Crisis in staffing </li></ul><ul><li>Inadequate teaching facilities and out dated teaching methods </li></ul><ul><li>Others </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unsustainable expansion and pattern of expenditure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher unemployment and lack of relevance of curriculum </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Training in CGIAR –Evolution <ul><li>Started in 1962 at IRRI </li></ul><ul><li>Evolved from RF Experience in Mexico </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial focus on Food Crops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research alone is not enough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skilled manpower is vital </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Simple Strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify Crops and Livestock affecting Livelihood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical Mass of Scientists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>device ways to overcome constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide ample funds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Public Goods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research based </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. CGIAR - Trends in CS <ul><li>Decentralization </li></ul><ul><li>Informal and Short Training </li></ul><ul><li>25% of trainees are from SSA </li></ul><ul><li>% of degree training </li></ul><ul><li>% of women trained </li></ul><ul><li>Thematic areas covered expanded </li></ul><ul><li>Significant impact </li></ul>
  11. 11. Issues of Concern CGIAR CS Activities <ul><li>Major reliance on project funds </li></ul><ul><li>Incomplete and incompatible records (investment, volume, type) </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of systematic need analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Weak quality assurance </li></ul><ul><li>Unclear fit between training and poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced capacity to collect, adapt, translate and disseminate existing training materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Very little collaboration among CG centers in CS </li></ul>
  12. 12. Collaboration and Partnership in CS <ul><li>Is not a choice but a must. But the reality is </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary groups of individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Priority accorded is not the same </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Level of commitment by Senior management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure, modalities of operation and resource allocation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of clear strategies and priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Agenda dictated by what each center is doing </li></ul><ul><li>“ Reactive” rather than “Pro-active ” </li></ul>
  13. 13. Change Process Experience from the region <ul><li>Largely externally driven </li></ul><ul><li>Tension between structure and content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content dictates structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure dictates content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New boxes but try to fit in the existing faces </li></ul><ul><li>Repackaging existing projects / activities </li></ul><ul><li>End result </li></ul><ul><ul><li>same faces with new title </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>same agenda in a different format </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Business as usual same results </li></ul>
  14. 14. CS Platform <ul><li>Contribute to: </li></ul><ul><li>Enhanced participation of national scientists in global innovation system </li></ul><ul><li>Effective participation of NARS in Mega Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Development and use of new ICT and knowledge management tools </li></ul><ul><li>Greater engagement of Universities </li></ul>
  15. 15. Some Suggestions <ul><li>Mega programs with explicit CS Components </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Context specific training needs assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities, resources, outputs, outcomes and indicators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coaching and mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>Contribution to CS in staff performance assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability consideration – building capacity of partner institute </li></ul>
  16. 16. Some Suggestions (cont) <ul><li>Common capacity needs and soft skills coordinated by the platform </li></ul><ul><li>Open and competitive Fellowship Program </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanism-record keeping, M&E, feed back, quality assurance, best practices </li></ul><ul><li>Providing input for bilateral and multilateral donor programs </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance co-ordination and linkages </li></ul>Walk the Talk – Learning institutes
  17. 17. Where is ILRI - CS <ul><li>Has a Unique “Niche” </li></ul><ul><li>A Strong Foundation in Place </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A strategy in place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Training Policy and Procedure manual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Completed two sets of training needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assessments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active engagement in recent consultative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working on a Need based M&E system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But need innovative and strategic partnerships </li></ul>
  18. 18. Grateful to Africa <ul><li>Giving me the opportunity to learn and serve </li></ul><ul><li>A comfortable home for my family </li></ul><ul><li>For treating me as part of the “family” </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>“ We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We must learn to love change. It is the only thing that is certain.” </li></ul>
  20. 20. Thank You

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