Retreat of IFAD projects and programmes in Burkina Faso 25-27 September, 2013

By Cristiana Sparacino

The first ever retreat of project staff from IFAD co-financed projects and programmes in Burkina Faso is taking place in Léo, Sissilli. This has been a unique opportunity for project/programme staff to get to know each other and exchange on many themes which affect the day to day implementation of their projects and programmes.

The objectives of the retreat included: (i) to get to know each other and learn about what IFAD and all its co-financed projects are doing in Burkina; (ii) determine whether there are practices and/or innovations which would merit being shared and if so, how to share them; (iii) determine if there are common difficulties in the implementation of projects and programmes and together propose shared solutions and (iv) discuss openly and have fun.

The organizers took on the world café facilitation methodology very seriously. Each table was prepared with colourful local tablecloths, had flowers on the table and made sure that the room set-up enhanced conversation amongst coffee-table guests. Indeed exchanges were lively and frank.

The world-café theme of the first day was "what exit strategy is required that will assure the durability of project investments and the sustainability of the institutions set-up through project support"? Amongst many ideas and proposals, some of the ones which were ranked the highest include: (i) exit-strategies must be developed at project design; (ii) exit-strategies must be in place at the onset of project implementation and they must be prepared together with all the actors involved in project implementation (Government, target group, project staff, etc.); (iii) exit strategies must include the training and preparation of target-group's organizations in order to assure that these will be able to take over certain project activities once the project will have completed; (iv) exit strategies must include the preparation of Government decentralized bodies to take over the supervision and follow-up of certain project activities once the project will have closed and (v) many more.

The conclusions of day two will come tomorrow...stay tuned!