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This evaluation intends to assess the nature and magnitude of the impact of the INASP/IDS Training Programme 'Pedagogy skills for trainers of policy makers and influencers' that sought to build the training abilities of a group of African ‘master trainers'.
In this direction, the two proposed specific objectives are to:
- help INASP and IDS to understand whether this is a cost effective approach for building the capacity of policy makers to access and use research
- assess external opportunities and areas for improvement for upcoming similar initiatives
For this, it deployed a mix of research methods, including review of documentation relevant to the program and of selected key publications related to capacity building programmes; telephone interviews to selected key INASP/IDS staff, the donor, and direct and secondary participants; and an online survey to direct participants of the workshop, secondary and tertiary participants and non-participants.
Findings are promising. First of all, the CB programme has been very effective in terms of achieving its established goals; the overall reaction of participants to the programme is very positive. Among positive outcomes, we should note an increased confidence in training and increased knowledge on participatory tools and other skills such as planning and how to deal with different participants. In this sense, it must be highlighted that the design of programme has been relevant since organisers made clear efforts to support meaningful change with a constant commitment to adapt the original design to contextual, organizational and individual complexities. It also very well understood that this type of activities need to focus not just on the capacities needed to produce technical results but also on what it takes to build more effective and dynamic relationships between different actors.
Second, the programme has had a wide reach, by directly training 23 participants from diverse countries, which in turn have trained approximately 459 individuals.
Third, positive impact is reflected through diverse achievements:
- enhanced attitudes in terms of how to better transmit the importance of research form policy to trainees
- the motivation to continue working in this field by trainees, including the willingness to start teaching specific pedagogical skills
- a strategic partnership built between INASP and IDS that can be further expanded to other activities
- the development of content for this training as well as lessons learned by organisers that can be used by other organisations and donors in similar initiatives
Fourth, management has been efficient by effectively transforming available resources into results, from a planning stage that built on previous experiences and training materials to careful consideration to ensure that the training costs remained below the average in this industry.
Building on these achievements, there is a set of suggestions that could be considered to further strengthen the programme or similar activities in the near future:
- Developing an explicit theory of change that clearly represents an overall INASP vision of success, including its preconditions and the link between different CB interventions so as to enhance evaluation and learning.
- Engaging policy makers in a certain stage of the process could strengthen the political skills needed by participants to assess what is important from the policymakers´ perspectives, and what changes they should individually make to conduct more effective trainings.
- Rethinking the duration of the whole process as well as combining diverse capacity building strategies, especially to strengthen follow up, by using virtual tools that allow trainees to share their progress and obstacles with the rest of the group and receive additional mentoring.
- Consider joint trainings with local experts to incorporate their knowledge of the context, potentially decrease costs, and strengthen local capacity.