Barbados, Grenada commence CDB-funded training to improve public policy and project management

Explore, collaborate, analyse and act. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is encouraging Regional policymakers to build on these keystones in order to develop and implement more effective policies and projects. Over the next six weeks, public officials in Barbados and Grenada will gain knowledge, tools and skills to systematically and effectively move from the idea stage to drafting and implementing policies that will help the Region achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The two nations are the first of CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) to participate in the face-to-face training modules of the Bank’s Public Policy Analysis and Management (PPAM) and Project Cycle Management (PCM) Training Programme 2016-2018.

CDB’s Darran Newman, Acting Division Chief, Technical Cooperation Division, delivering opening remarks.

Darran Newman, Acting Division Chief, Technical Cooperation Division, CDB noted during opening remarks in Barbados, “The curriculum for the face-to-face modules has been deployed with the unique circumstances and challenges of our Region in mind. We have consulted widely with public officers in the Region and with CDB staff to ensure the material reflects the needs of our countries; and we have asked that participants come to the training with policies, programmes and projects on which they are working to ensure that face-to-face discussions are particularly specific.”

The training aims to minimise disparities between policy commitments and the implementation of projects and programmes, build capacity, and assist BMCs to increase the rate of project completion across the Region. It will focus on the areas of Policy Development and Implementation, Risk Management, Project Appraisal, Monitoring and Evaluation and other critical topics, including cross-cutting themes such as gender, energy efficiency, sustainability and climate change.

“I think we have recognised that in the past, people have been labelled policy analysts and economists, and asked to develop policies without a formal imparting of what this should entail. There is sometimes a deficiency in the skills and knowledge of the personnel involved,” Juliet Melville, Regional Consultant, Dods Training said.

“We are seeking to alert people that they must overcome these pitfalls if policies are to be successful, and it starts with defining the problem. You are moving from definition based on evidence and credible analysis, to developing options, and finally, delivering a particular solution,” Melville told participants.

Dods Training and the Centre for International Development and Training are delivering the PPAM and PCM modules, while MindBloom will independently monitor and evaluate the Training Programme.

Professor Philip Davies and Dr. Juliet Melville delivering training in Barbados.

While there is much work to be done, Prof. Philip Davies, International Consultant on Evaluation and Public Policy, Dods Training, described the open-mindedness of Caribbean public sector workers with whom he has interacted as “really impressive.”

“Instead of talking about policy in an abstract way, there is a willingness to tackle real problems. They are focused on how to rejuvenate the economy, eliminate crime, and reduce health and social inequalities,” Davies said.

Attendees participating in the Barbados training session.

More than 1,000 public officers from countries across the Region signed on to participate in recommended online courses that assist in establishing a common base of knowledge prior to the start of the PPAM/PCM in-person training. The response has been positive, with participants reporting that the courses were informative, relevant, timely, and that they have been immediately able to apply much of the skills and knowledge gained to their work. The online courses covered topics including Project Management, Procurement, Public Policy and Monitoring and Evaluation.

Attendees participating in the Grenada training session.

The face-to-face training sessions will continue to be rolled out to the remaining 17 BMCs and to CDB staff in coming months.