There has been an increasing drive by development institutions and agencies in West Africa and Africa in general, to upscale the impact they create and the results they achieve in the field of development. In reality, these development agencies are highly complex and organic in nature. Due to this phenomenon, most development organisations face challenges that tend to play down on the sustainability of the programmes and projects they initiate for the interest of the vulnerable African population.
These amongst others are the challenges that most development institutions need to address in order to ensure a concerted, decent and sustainable development framework. Thus, PAID-WA steps in to help development organisations and institutions reflect on strategic questions: Where are we, Why are we there? Where could we be? How do we get there? Are we there or How do we know we are there?. The consultancy works in the international development arena, focusing on organisational and or institutional development and performance management. The products and services of the research and consultancy division of PAID-WA will help these organisations deliver real and lasting changes in their various areas of specialisation and intervention.
The main objective of this division is to develop and improve organisations and institutions, while placing them on a sustainable pathway. We help development organisations and institutions help themselves to become more effective, efficient and to have a more positive and lasting impact in their various domains of interventions. In all, our involvement in the affairs of development organisations helps promote self-awareness of what works and what does not work in the development process. This will be guided by our drive towards development that is ‘concerted, decent and sustainable’
Since its inception, PAID-WA has been involved extensively in capacity assessment and development with a major focus on training, community based participatory research through field studies, needs assessments. The annex table presents a reference list of some recent activities related to the consultancies PAID-WA has successfully implemented and followed –up.
The Research Component
PAID-WA assembles interdisciplinary researchers, partners, students/participants and multi-faceted stakeholders to develop action-oriented approaches in carrying out development research. Our research objective is to examine and explore practical development scenarios and reflect such experiences in current development theories and practice. We are a leading research institution, with high quality training and educational programmes. Through our research and partnerships, we address some of the key multi-dimensional challenges the plague the society like sustainable growth, environmental crisis, global health and social inequalities, gender imbalances and its effects on development projects and programmes, governance and democratic malaise, deficiencies in conservation movements.
Our research priorities include:
- Sustainable communities and growth parameters
- Natural resources management and environmental change
- Local governance, democracy and human rights
- Urban growth and sustainable waste management
- Global health and environmental hazards
- Social inequalities and gender biased development
- Peace and conflict management
Our research team runs a range of exciting events that build the capacities of PAID-WA’s potential graduates and postgraduates through the following:
- Delivering annual graduate and postgraduate conferences that brings together outstanding researchers in the development arena;
- Providing monthly advanced research skills through training workshops. This helps PAID-WA students and provides them with opportunities for new research skills for all aspects of the research process. Key interests are on understanding the entire research process, issues of positionality and reflexivity, practical development fieldwork or research methodology (moving from methods to practice), reporting findings and making credible and insightful judgments and recommendations.
- Working with the Training and Development Division of the institution to provide a range of professional skills essential for the employability of the students beyond the world of academia.
- The entire research, consultancy and publication division provide PAID-WA participants with placement/internship opportunities with their existing partners and clients. This helps in exposing the potential graduates to employment opportunities and provides the forum where our participants blend theory and practice
The Consultancy Component
PAID-WA carries out a range of activities that contribute to the sustainable development of communities through development institutions and organisations. Its cream of development professionals and experts have extensive working knowledge in cross-cutting areas of development. These include:
- Knowledge management
- Strategy development • Natural resources management
- Environmental education and awareness initiative
- Advocacy and awareness raising campaigns
- Performance management and assessment
- Program and project management techniques
- Fundraising from institutions/proposal development for organisations
- Monitoring and evaluation designs and capacity development,
- Evaluation studies and impact assessments
- Gender mainstreaming
- Conflict management
Consulting Package in Brief
- Knowledge Management Knowledge
Management is often seen as the process of capturing, organising, and storing information and experiences within an organisation, and then making it available to others. PAID-WA’s approach focuses on helping clients reflect, understand and utilise what they know to improve their performance. We will combine our strong facilitation skills with a sound technical understanding of the latest tools and technology to ensure knowledge systems are accessible to all as well as focused on supporting and developing effective ways of working in today’s complex environment.
2 Strategy Development
Good strategic development involves developing plans and futures which are challenging, achievable, clear and yet flexible. It’s a mental picture of progress made and a road-map for success Development agencies need to outline both the objectives and goals to be achieved and the resources and processes required to achieve them. Strategies are not outcomes in themselves and PAID-WA’s approach is to work with clients to help them understand and analyse the context in which they wish to operate, to encourage and support them in identifying strategic options and to help gain the commitment of internal and external stakeholders in order to ensure a shared and agreed way forward.
3. Advocacy and Awareness Raising Essentials
In an increasing complex society, the gap between the poor and rich, the underprivileged and the privileged and the proportion of vulnerable and severely affected individual community members to include, men, women and children is evident of the concept of social inequality. PAID-WA emerges with the passion to share advocacy and campaign strategies that can change existing status quo, cause certain voices to be heard as well as identify and analyse some of the risks involved in carrying out advocacy campaigns. Furthermore, some critical weaknesses of advocacy and campaigning are capitalized as well as an in-depth view of the advocacy and campaigning cycle. Strategies that influence the change of action are explored for the interest of clients that are involved in advocacy. In addition to this component, PAID-WA engages in the provision of psychosocial support to the vulnerable and the severely affected of the society. We also take a step forward to build the resilience of vulnerable communities, making them self-reliant and reducing the dependency ratio on external intervention. This is the angle to which we view the concept of sustainability in the social dimension. In the environmental perspective, there is the increasing need for communities to co-exist with wildlife and the environment in the broader context. This requires firm understanding of the importance of a stable environment and the adverse consequences of environmental crisis on human livelihood. The solution can to an extent be provided by PAID-WA environment and development advocates who embark on issues of behavioural change and extensive impartation of sound environmental knowledge to the local communities.
4. Natural Resources Management
Man has always and will continue to depend on the natural environment for livelihood purposes. The ecosystem remains the life-wire of humankind but the paradox in human-environment interaction is that man cannot be separated from the environment but yet there is the increasing need to conserve the natural environment. The solution lies not in denying local communities access to the natural environment but requires the provision of guided ecological knowledge and consideration. PAID-WA cream of environment and development experts intervenes in the conservation agenda of most development organisation by complementing their approaches to the protection of the natural environment. Some of these include capacity development on the part of the local communities on the sustainable management of natural resources, development of valuable green projects or income generating activities for the communities as way to leverage the pressure on the natural resources, provision of basic management skills and the development of business plans.
5. Performance management and assessment
Understanding what works and why is fundamental to both good policy and programme design, and effective implementation. PAID-WA thus undertakes evaluations in the development sector and other institutional contexts. Central to our approach is the ‘Rights-Based and Results-Based Approach’. Our work ranges from small project based impact evaluations through to wide range assessments of multi-donor partnerships and complex global institutional arrangements.
6. Gender Mainstreaming
Women are disproportionately represented among the world’s poor. The feminisation of poverty has been attributed to gender biases that pervade every aspect of social life that deprive women of the means to make a living. PAID-WA critically examines the evolving conceptual approaches to gender and development that underpin policy and practice and specifically the move from Women in Development (WID) to Gender and Development (GAD) approaches that include consideration of men and masculinities. We explore the ways in which gender relations are produced and reproduced in different institutional settings and at different scales ranging from the family, household and community to the State.
7. Systems Development Designing
new systems is not just about technology - it depends on a strong understanding of organisations, teams and individuals. PAID-WA looks at Systems Development as the design of tools and processes which may utilise technology where necessary, but our fundamental aim will be to support organisations to develop the new routines, behaviours and ways of working that will help them to maximise their performance. Our main systems development focal areas include Learning and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, and knowledge capture and development and most importantly the aspect of understanding the individual roles and responsibilities within a development intervention. Here, we underscore the importance of the RACI model and emphasis the need for organisations to function as ‘teams’ and not ‘groups’.
8. Programme and Project Management
As managing overheads becomes increasingly important, one way for large organisations to minimise cost and focus on areas where they most add value is to bring in specialist project management expertise. PAID-WA’s approach is built on their ability to engage with clients to ensure that work is delivered effectively and efficiently with minimal transaction costs, yet still ensuring their clients are able to learn lessons and develop institutional memory for future action and decision making. We combine high level financial management and planning skills with the interpersonal and engagement skills you would expect from an outstanding half a century sustainable development player. Our consultancy programmes in this theme focus on projects and how to plan, budget and manage them, and the techniques and ways of working that are important for good development work. We make use of different standards in articulating ‘project Concept Notes’, particularly those of DFID, EC, AfDB, UN development agencies and the World Bank. Key interest is on the following:
8.1. Project Planning Using a Logical Framework Approach
Our clients will learn how to get the best result from using a logical framework to plan a project. They will gain an understanding of the different formats and terms used by funders as well as have a firm grip of the logic. They will also understand how to make it work for them through practical working sessions on an actual project.
8.2. Project Budgeting
Beneficiary organisations and institutions will be able to use practical examples, learn how to plan, develop, monitor and report on a budget for funding proposals and projects, keep track of grants from multiple donors and monitor cash flows.
8.3. Managing the Project Cycle
Our major partners/collaborators will find out all they need to know about how to plan, run and manage an international development project with specific focus on the practical implementation phase. They will learn about the tools that are central to success, including Gantt charts and critical path analysis, PEST analysis, ZOPP approaches as well as Microsoft project professional and how to apply them.
8.4. Building better inter institutional partnerships
No development intervention is truly sustainable without concerted and decent efforts. As a tree can never make up a forest, so for one development organisation to individually seek solutions to societal problems is suicidal. Here, we take a critical look at the latest thinking on working with global partners. Using the experiences of our clients, PAID-WA examines the principles and values that underpin effective partnerships and underscore the need to put them into practice. Our clients are exposed to the different styles of partnership and explore how to face up to tensions and challenges evident in partnerships, whether at the local, national, regional or international levels.
8.5. Participatory Approaches in Practice
The concept of participation has become a development bandwagon, with a highly vulnerable meaning to different development stakeholders. To some, it means cash and or kind contribution by the beneficiary communities and to others; it ought to embody decision-making options for the local beneficiaries. This is the basis of sustainability. The major question of how to get people engaged in the process of development and change is our key concern. In this interactive developmental practice, we get into an in-depth analysis of the more rigorous and robust approaches (RRA and PRA) and other contemporary approaches, their pros and cons, and the principles and types of participation. We also share what participation means to our different clients, their success stories and lessons learnt with others in the field. Finally, we build on hands-on experience by practicing the tools and techniques our partners will use.
9. Monitoring and evaluation
9.1. Monitoring and evaluation design
Sound attention to monitoring & evaluation (M&E) at the design stage is still a challenge for many development agencies. Better still, this component in every project or programme is like a policing mechanism. PAID-WA views M&E design as a part of the quality assurance process that will help development institutions clarify objectives and prepare a realistic outline that clearly articulates what resources are required, what outputs will be produced and how those outputs will stimulate change. Attention to basic principles will help teams make sure that development objectives describe real changes and development institutions formulate measurable indicators that represent those changes. Our preferred way of working is clutched in the concept of participation by a mixed group of implementers and representatives of the target groups.
9.2. Process monitoring
Process monitoring is a relatively recent development in the broader field of monitoring and evaluation. It provides a means to assess the quality of project and programme implementation, complimenting quantitative, input-output progress monitoring. It is a tool for institutional learning and taking corrective action in innovative and adaptive projects. PAID-WA’s experience in process monitoring focuses on two particular areas: First is mainly linked to Community Driven Development (CDD) projects. Combining both monitoring and learning expertise, we develop and manage innovative process monitoring approaches. Our process monitoring will be tailored to key CDD processes of community mobilisation and community based project management. The second concerns developing log frame-based monitoring for process projects, particularly where behavioural change is an objective.
9.3. Evaluation studies and impact assessments
Impact assessment attempts to measure social and economic changes and attribute them to specific programmes and activities. PAID-WA uses a structured approach starting with an evaluation framework that specifies hypotheses of change and identifies the 'counterfactual' or what would have happened without the activities. A big challenge for methodology is in designing the means of comparison to measure change 'before and after' an intervention or by comparing 'with and without' an initiative. PAID-WA provides practical solutions and keep abreast of current research thinking about the suitability of assessment and evaluation approaches. We advocate integrated approaches to quantitative and qualitative field studies using both participatory and questionnaire-based data collection. This component also introduces us to PAID-WA’s capacity in undertaking baseline studies at the early stage of every intervention. The institute has an extensive track record in carrying out ‘needs assessment’ or establishing reference points for various organisations. This makes PAID-WA partner or stakeholder in every development intervention within the implementation cycle of any organisation that strives for results and impact.
10. Environmental Education and Awareness Initiative
Environment and Development is PAID-WA’s home turf, as firmly inscribed in our drive towards sustainable development. Our experience is stretched over diverse dimensions of environment, stakeholder dialogues, trainings and capacity development. It ranges from services in environmental management, environmental governance, pollution prevention and control, and natural resource management by conducting research, policy advocacy and providing value add to reviews of Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental monitoring, and environment audits. In our interventions we have partnered with some international and national institutions, as well as key donors providing support in environmental and/or social issues.
11. Value Chain Development and Post-Harvest Valorisation
PAID’s interventions build on private sector development strategies that seek to strengthen enterprises, common initiative groups, business relationships & services, market structures, and the business environment so that they channel more benefits to the poor and create lasting impacts in the field. Relying on PAID-WA's strong knowledge background in developing business service markets and its tools to improve the business environment (Market Information Systems) as well as drawing from best practice conceptual thinking and participatory methodologies, PAID-WA's Value Chain Development methodologies are state of the art tools for job creation. Our work on value for money aims to help our clients to measure the effectiveness of their programmes and demonstrate how they represent good value for money, to share experiences of applying different value for money methodologies and to engage in dialogue with others on their interpretation of value for money and how this translates into practice.
12. Local Governance and Decentralisation
Decentralisation policies and processes have shifted the locus of decision-making and management to the local level. This is accompanied by more responsibilities and resources but with limited capacities to handle its eminent challenges. This component is aimed at empowering and strengthening municipal capacities for the sustainable management of resources and ensures the engagement of local councils in feasible income generation activities for the interest of the masses. It further seeks to mainstream good governance practices in the management of local structures as a mitigation mechanism for corrupt activities in the face of the decentralisation process. This improves the local level accountability and credible community-oriented decision-making mechanisms. Decentralisation move in Africa has witnessed the transfer of resources and responsibilities to local institutions and local councils but they have remained helpless in managing the resources and responsibilities that go with decentralisation processes. With this current scenario, there is increasing need for local administrative efficiency and an improvement in service delivery, while stepping-up the quality of participation and democracy (decision-making). This in effect will lead to local empowerment and ultimate move towards poverty reduction. Without this valuable support to the local councils, the cardinal goals of good governance and decentralisation will remain elusive. PAID-WA therefore intervenes by employing the rights-based approach as a credible means through which sustainable development efforts will be realised in the decentralised structures. PAID-WA focuses on issues of good governance, democracy, public sector reforms, accountability, transparency, participation and equity.
PAID-WA has envisaged the production of the Pan African Journal of Development Studies (PAJDES). This will encompass the publication of upcoming events in the institute, presentation of case studies, articles and newsletters. Annual reviews, manuals of procedures and standardisation of the institute’s brochures will form an integral part of the publication. PAID-WA will work with partners and clients to enrich the quality of the publications.
In order to meet the needs of our clients, our work ranges from global evaluations of development policies and professional practices, through one-to-one coaching and support. We strive to fully understand our client’s areas of intervention, the different perspectives various actors and stakeholders bring into the development agenda and the objectives they set out to achieve. To do this, we first and foremost develop a strong, open and robust relationship that allows for support, guidance and constructive challenge. Our approach to improving organisational performance is multi-faceted. We converge on experience and expertise to understand and engage with the technical aspect of any organisation’s operation. However, this professional and practical acumen is matched by our people-focused and community-centred approach to development.
The consultancy team members of PAID-WA have the necessary communication capacity and they are proficient in English, French and Pidgin. The team members can successfully interact with the diverse and multi-cultural communities of Cameroon in particular and those of Africa in general
Research and Consultancy Track Record
- The capacity for PAID-WA to deliver research and consulting services could also be buttressed by PAID-WA’s recent activities/experience: PAID-WA participated in a number of village studies for the development of Council development Plans for Mbonge, Muyuka, Njinikom and Fundong
- From 2010 – 2012, PAID-WA in collaboration with selected local governments in the South West and North West regions and Community-Driven Development Programme (PNDP) provided technical assistance for the implementation of decentralization policy by preparing long, medium and short-term development plans. The proposed project is intended to consolidate and ensure the sustainability of these plans with emphasis on inclusive governance and participatory development which can make local councils to better assume their roles and responsibilities for decentralization and sustainable development.
- From 2005 – 2007, PAID-WA in collaboration with Gender and Development Unit, Canadian Cooperation, developed and implemented a project titled “Promoting Women and Youth Participation in the Democratization Process in the South West Region of Cameroon’. The impact was very significant in that it changed the mindset of women and youths about their role in society. The quantitative and qualitative involvement of women and youth before, during and after elections as well as accession of these groups into decision-making structures also increased significantly.
- Between 2004 and 2009, PAID-WA contributed in enhancing planning and management capacities of Senior and Middle level managers of the public and private sector of Cameroon through training courses in Project Management and Evaluation with the support of the Commonwealth foundation.
- From 2002 - 2005, PAID-WA ran a good governance and development programme in Cameroon and Sierra Leone targeting civil society organizations, traditional leaders, local governments and non-governmental organizations. The prime concern of the project was to provide a link between governance and development. vi) Currently engaging in the development of business plans with for the green business enterprises of WWF supported CBOs in the Bakossi landscape, capacity building on business plan development, and provision of livelihood support options for the CBOs.