So my work has now been broken into four different sections. I apologize for the lack of communication on my work. It’s not that I am trying to be secretive, simply that some things I chose not to put on the blog. I will try to get better at that.
1) Computer Training- I won’t spend too long explaining this because it is obvious. This breaks down into training co-workers in MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and just general skills. This is important because the change I am shooting for and much of the development industry, will eventually require some computerized form of reporting. Imagine doing all finances with a paper & pen and calculator instead of excel. Imagine simple reporting taking 5x longer than it should. Through computer training the efficiency of the office can hopefully be improved and workers will be equipped with the proper skills to use manage large amounts of data. (This one I have been working on since the beginning of my placement)
2) Training local contractors. One problem of development is the construction of infrastructure. Usually contracts will run far late of their expected date of completion. For the rural citizen, this means waiting way longer for their school, well, or particular infrastructure project. Also, the quality of these projects is in question. Roads that get washed away the year after they are constructed, or schools that quickly fall into disrepair. In response, the district works department have come up with a way to address this through workshops and increased monitoring. This doesn’t address all the causes of this problem, but more importantly it enables implementing staff to execute a plan of their own, and hopefully prove to decision makers that it is worth it to invest in implementing staff.
3) More Rigorous planning based on reliable information. This is the main focus of my effort right now. Working with the district planner and other departments such as education, water & sanitation, and health; we will be working on creating a more transparent and rigorous way of selecting communities for infrastructure. This will include using monitoring and evaluation to acquire essential data, and developing a ranking system for deciding which projects go where. What this means for the rural people is that the communities that need services the most will be next in line, as opposed to select communities accessing service upon service. Essentially it is a fair way to select communities for infrastructure
4) Last I will be working on a better monitoring and evaluation system and increased commitment to M&E by government staff. This means that the link between the people accessing public services and the government will be stronger. Not only will there be a better system for learning from implementation and being in tune with community needs, but also the accurate information will be made available to decision makers to make better decisions.
In a nutshell that’s what I’ll be working on for the next 6 months. Feel free to email me questions or post comments.