Learning for all in a conflict zone

A guest post by Terver Kuegh, PM specialist at ACF Nigeria

Action Against Hunger Nigeria is using a social learning platform called Curatr to improve the capacity of many of its field staff. Curatr enables organizations to deliver online courses and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The platform is built around proven gamification principles and allows users to learn from, and with, other people. Curatr also allows the facilitator to monitor individual activity and progress, hence making learning more measurable.

Learning can be a challenge in conflict situations and this case study focuses on north east Nigeria, where Boko Haram attracted international outrage after 276 or so Chibok girls were kidnapped from their school in 2014. The region has witnessed widespread displacement and heinous violations of human rights since 2009, plummeting it into a deepening humanitarian crisis. According the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, up to 2.1 million people fled their homes at the height of the conflict, 1.9 million of whom are currently internally displaced and 200,000 or so who are in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. In the three most affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, almost 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 50 per cent of them children.

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The fundamentals of financial management: The Guide to FMD Pro

The Guide to FMD Pro (Financial Management for Development and Humanitarian Professionals) is a downloadable manual containing the full body of knowledge on which all of the FMD Pro materials are based. It focuses on the fundamentals of financial management and provides tools and guidance for all team members to manage their project finances effectively.

 

FMD Pro starts with an overview of the key concepts financial management – an essential leadership skill for a competent project manager and an approach that should be embedded within the processes and understanding of all project teams. Five easy-to-read sections underpin the overall approach. These are:

 

  • Accounting essentials
  • Financial Planning
  • Financial reporting and monitoring
  • Safeguarding assets
  • Tackling incidences of fraud and bribery

 

FMD Pro concludes with a Summary that provides a ‘minimum standards’ checklist for easy reference as well as advice on how to build an action plan, and further reading and resources. This is followed by a Glossary and Appendix, with information to supplement some of the chapters.

Who is it for?

The Guide is a resource that is intended to enhance the professionalism and standards of anyone working at a project level. Some staff will have more responsibility than others for managing resources but at a minimum everyone should understand the basics.

A Project Manager would, ideally, use the Guide to set clear standards and ways of working at the start of a project – but it can also be used for reference or to enhance processes that are already in progress. Other project team members will be involved in numerous financial transactions and reporting for a project to succeed.

By working as a team, expectations can be set and clear systems implemented to deliver a successful project. The Guide, and related certification, is a great tool for professional development and developing a firm foundation in the practice of financial management.

How should it be used?

It’s likely that organizations will already have some financial management procedures in place – such standard forms for purchasing supplies and routine reporting mechanisms. FMD Pro is intended both to complement that which already exists and as a means to substantially improve the financial accountability of all projects.

 

It really is a case of just getting started. It’s important to work through each section, step-by-step because the body of knowledge in the first is then built out in the next sections. It is tempting to take a shortcut and to dive into an area that is most needed. Resist this if you can!

 

Take some time to read and reflect. You don’t need to implement everything at once! Try out a tool that you haven’t used before. Share it with others to see what they think. And if you want to enhance your skills and career development, set aside a week to learn, take the exam and gain certification in FMD Pro 1.

How do I find it?

The full Guide to the FMD Pro is available for download at:

http://fmdpro.org

Creative in Conflict: Project Management Training in Syria via WhatsApp

The war in Syria has created one of the most challenging environments for NGOs to operate in. Financial resources are extremely limited, communication networks are poor and electricity is in short supply. The security situation has forced almost half the population to flee to safety which means there are fewer skilled people left in Syria and those trying to enter the country face numerous risks and problems. As a result, NGOs are in desperate need of project managers but are struggling to recruit or train them.

Marifah for Social Entrepreneurship in Turkey decided to tackle this problem by utilising one of the most reliable free communication tools it has access to: WhatsApp. With the organizational motto, ‘Creative Investment in Creative People,’ they came up with the idea of providing training in Project Management for Development Professionals (PMD Pro) using WhatsApp to engage trainees directly through their phones or computers.

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Improving our induction program: A case study from Medair

 

A guest post by Gillian Withell, Talent and Development Officer, Medair

Most organizations know that inductions help new recruits settle in and give them the information and support they need to perform their role. But how long is your induction program, what does it cover and could it be improved? When the HR team at Medair asked these questions, they learned more than they expected. 

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Giving everyone a chance to succeed

We all know that social change happens when people have the resources to succeed, and that’s what’s driving our member organizations to deliver learning to their staff. The LINGOs Learning Platform (LLP) makes it simple for any organization to manage their staff’s learning. However, most organizations depend on the help of people who may not be working for the organization, but in some way, help the organization to achieve their mission. The LLP can be used to reach those learners.

Recently, I had a chance to hear from LINGOs members who have been offering courses to an external audience including partners, fellows, interns and others. Their testimonies are truly inspiring and get to heart of what LINGOs is all about – delivering the right training to the right people at the right time.

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Five ways to embed Learning in your organization

 

The year is now in full swing and I’m really excited about the learning innovations that LINGOs has in store, but then I’m a Learning and Development professional – and perhaps you are too! What we really need is for people across our organizations to get excited about using learning to make a bigger impact.

In this blog I’ll be sharing five ways to make learning relevant to your whole organization. With increasing pressures on funding and a greater scrutiny on performance, many support functions are coming under the microscope. Information systems, finance, legal, HR and Learning all need to deliver clear and sustainable value or they will be given a mandate to change, be eliminated or be outsourced.

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