Key AAP participants from around the continent gather for stage two of the Professional Development Programme
By Victoria Donaldson and Keith Cundale
Pictured: The Burkina Faso team describing recent successes in their ‘rich picture’ during the introductions module at PDP2 in Mombassa, Kenya. (L to R) Bobodo Blaise Savadogo, AAP Burkina Faso Project Co-ordinator; Mr L Ouédraogo, Cabinet Representative of the Government of Burkina Faso; Aki Kogachi, UNDP Focal Point for AAP.
The second workshop in the AAP’s Professional Development Programme (PDP), designed to empower those working in climate and development-related positions, was held in Mombasa, Kenya from October 3 to 7.
The workshop was attended by around 60 AAP managers, UNDP specialists and government focal points from almost all AAP countries. Presentations and discussions were conducted in both French and English, with the occasional break-out group breaking into Portuguese.
The PDP is designed to develop specific technical skills that will enable effective and efficient implementation of AAP projects while also supporting the longer-term professional development of the programme’s participants, who are all seen as key to the success of the local AAP projects.
Module 2 of the PDP is built on learning from the earlier module around the core programme themes, for example optimising the effectiveness of project implementation, developing personal efficiency and growth and adopting a holistic approach to support and information. New material was developed to meet specific needs identified by the participants in Module 1 or raised through queries addressed to the AAP Helpdesk.
The first three days of the workshop were facilitated by Dr Mark Manley, a specialist in leadership, transformation and strategy who had worked with PDP groups in Zanzibar and Casablanca. Dr Manley’s philosophy is that personal and professional development should focus on practical changes in behaviour resulting from exposure to new information. This information in turn can affect beliefs, values, attitudes and, therefore, help to change the behaviours of the learner.
Dr Manley presented challenging materials on, among other topics: leadership, effective project management, inspiring passion and helping to bring about transformational change. Group exercises were structured to help participants apply these ideas to their own situation and provided invaluable opportunities for information sharing between countries.
The remaining days were dedicated to information sessions on critical issues such as knowledge management, the realities of mainstreaming, practicalities of influencing policy making and ensuring that the gender dimension of climate change is adequately addressed. These sessions were facilitated by colleagues from the AAP regional support team in Dakar. The final part of the module was focussed on ‘looking ahead’ and included an ‘Action Planning Exercise’, an informal commitment from each participant as to what he/she will change in their workplace. A key observation from this exercise has been to ensure that the professional development strategies are strongly linked back to national project environments, thus making the learnings more meaningful for participants as they set about the process of turning knowledge into skills and experience through applied actions on the ground.
Module 3 of the PDP is anticipated to take place during the first quarter of 2012. Until this time the AAP regional team will remain in regular contact with PDP participants to provide any support that is required and to help maintain momentum on their personal development plans.