Curtains raise on the workhsop on project implementation and financial management

DAY 1 - Monday 5 May

At 8h Monica Chelagat, Patricia Wills-Obong and Faith Nwinee, Programme Assistant from the CBNRMP, Nigeria, were busy with the registration and ensuring the set-up of the conference room is completed. The workshop is being organized in Valencia Hotel situated in the heart of Abuja, at Blantyre Street in the Wuse II District.

Patricia Wills-Obong made all arrangements with the hotel before our arrival.

Setting the scene

Perrin looks better, thanks to the goat pepper soup of last night. He was red while eating his soup but he has “good heart” as we said in Africa, meaning he is strong and he participated in setting the scene.

Seven round tables were set up in the large hall of the conference room. On each table were six bottles of water, table number and two large post-it papers. At the side of each table is a flip-chart and markers. Sitting arrangements ensure a good mix of participants from at least 3 countries.

A long table on the right hand side with the tie-dye skirting just as one entered the room served as the registration desk. A sinister one at the back is used by IFAD staff, WARF and consultants. Another flip-chart is placed at the center of the room for the facilitator’s use.

Finally IFAD posters were placed on the wall as well as a notice indicating non-use of cell phones and dark curtains to ensure minimal distraction.

Opening ceremony

Official opening is delayed, our host is late. While waiting for officials, Martin presented the objectives of the workshop and outcomes.

The workshop is designed to provide standards procedure, checklists, reference materials and practical tips so that participants may better organize and manage implementation activities and time. The workshop will draw mainly upon participants’ experience and perspectives regarding implementation to ensure that there is appropriate knowledge sharing and best practices are identified and shared.

The experiences from the Abuja workshop will be valuable. PA is planning to publish a user-friendly training material on project implementation. Tips, checklists and best practices, including from participants will also be published.

Our host, Dr. S.A. Ingawa, Executive Director, National Food Reserve Agency, has arrived finally. On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Nigeria, has arrived.

Dr. Ingawa welcomed the participants. He brought the felicitations of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Nigeria, Dr. Sayyadi Abba Runa, who is also the current Chairman of IFAD’s Governing Council Bureau. He gave a brief overview of the partnership between IFAD and Nigeria for the last 24 years. IFAD and Nigeria have collaborated in the implementation of the Cassava Multiplication Programme (CMP) from 1987 to 1997. With the collaborative efforts of Nigeria, IITA and Nigeria, Nigeria became the number one producer of cassava in the world. Subsequent and current programmes include CBARDP, CBNRMP and RTEP.

He also urged IFAD to further promote country ownership and capacity building. Encouragements were sent to participants to participate fully in the workshop.

“I wish to also request you all to double your efforts in the commitment to achieving the First Millennium Development Goal of global poverty reduction which incidentally is IFAD’s main objective in the rural areas. This is more so in view of the global food crisis that has led to the return of Agriculture to the centre. Furthermore, our commitment to IFAD must be doubled especially with the recent election in February in which a Nigerian was elected with a landslide victory to the post of President. Dr. Nwanze, is the first African South of the Sahara to head IFAD and with this we, developing countries and Africa in particular owe IFAD our increased commitment to its goal of enabling the rural poor overcome poverty” concluded Dr Ingawa.

Perrin at the podium, on behalf of IFAD, started by saying “PLEASE DO NOT THROW SHOES AT ME”. Then he continued “It is a great day for PA and for IFAD projects as we set out to drastically improve project implementation performance and financial management. This workshop provides the opportunity to confirm our engagement to capacity building in a multi-country training programme which shares with you IFAD’s perspectives”.

Perrin expressed his real pleasure for having leaded the organization of this workshop which comes at a time when millions of poor rural men and women in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia face unprecedented challenges which compound the persistent threats to their livelihoods. He underlined the progress made in portfolio management in a difficult socio-political environment, and is looking forward to further progress in key implementation and financial management areas, as a means to improve performance further.

He finished his remarks by thanking the Federal Government of Nigeria for hosting the workshop and hope that participants will enjoy Nigeria hospitality, the Valencia Hotel facilities, over the next five days and that the training contribute to efforts in rural poverty reduction, IFAD’s ultimate goal.

Martin took over again to present:

The general rules of the workshop: lunch, coffee break, timeless, no cell phones, question box – participants may use cards at their tables to note questions regarding the materials, presentations or other issues.

Quick overview of binders to get participants comfortable with with the binder’s layout and sections.

He continued by asking the participants to write-up their expectations on flip-chart. That was the first group activity. The outcomes will be compared with these expectations at the last day to see if expectations have been met.

We have also assigned participants to review subjects for final day – stress 3 to 6 bullets regarding the key points and/or issues, which will be followed by discussion to site additional points or questions.

Participants were asked to sign names on cards with assigned subjects. For each group of 3, we try to keep groups mixed between countries and responsibilities.

Participants were also introduce to the quiz, which purpose is to ensure that the curriculum is delivering demonstrate value to participants. The same quiz will be given the last day to see what has been learnt.

After the coffee break – we have chicken for coffee break- Martin continued by introducing IFAD policy framework and the on-the-ground implications which provide an overview of key elements of project implementation, including specific detail of responsibilities.

Guess speaker: Dr. NURALLAH ABUBAKAR IFAD COORDINATOR, NATIONAL FOOD RESERVE AGENCY, FEDERAL MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER shared his experience on project negotiation and start-up from the perspective of IFAD as it really occurred in the case of four projects in Nigeria. After presenting a typical project cycle consists of Conception, Formulation, Appraisal, Negotiations, Implementation, /M&E/MTR, and Implementation Completion Review.

He finished his presentation giving 8 keys to successful coordination of a project from conception to effectiveness

  • Constitute a team where possible
  • Identify Interlocutor Ministry
  • Determine responsible agency
  • Identify a dedicated Officer
  • Network extensively
  • Thorough understanding of the programme and national procedures
  • Determine key points, selling points
  • Stay healthy

After the guess, 3 topics were presented by Perrin and Stefania:

  • Negotiating the loan agreement
  • Case study- start-up workshop
  • Letter to the borrower

We wrap-up the day 1 with questions and answers.

More to come tomorrow from participants!

By Zoumana Bamba


John Maszka said…
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