Guest blog written by Adetunde Ademefun, Lois Chinedu, and Suleiman Oluwatosin
This team is made up of of experienced Programme, Research and Communication Staff and Assistants who work at the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF). They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in December 2018. This is their story.
Amazingly, when we were asked to be part of the PDIA course and were told the members of our team, concerns were raised about tight schedules, especially how in Nigeria, we are preparing for the elections and it would not be seemingly possible to dedicate time for meetings to ensure a coordinated flow of information. But, we did it!
For a fact, this course has appeared to be both a fascinating and an emerging field. The PDIA course was very well done and we enjoyed it. The instructors were really good and instrumental to our success as a team. The first part of this course that really brought us closer as a Team was Module Five where, we learnt about “People as the Source of Capability”. This particular module helped reinforce the importance of team work in an organisation
Two very vital modules that got our critical thinking caps on, and as such revealed to us that we have not completely explored all the alternatives to solving one of the Key Goals of our Organisation (Enhancing Women’s Participation in Governance) were Deconstructing Problems and Identifying the Change space. It was while studying this module that we identified entry points to solving problems such as advocating through lobbying, creating voter sensitization programmes through policy makers, etc.
The learning outcomes from the PDIA is on going and has been incorporated into the programmes department of our organisation. More recently, during meetings, when a challenge is shared, you find members asking the WHY question over and over again. What we do next is to deconstruct the problem and begin to look for potential entry points that were not identified initially.
The module on the Fishbone Diagram taught us how to identify key problems as well as the sub causes which was a very valid learning point for us. In fact, members of the team confessed that the diagram helped them to see and understand the problems on Women’s low representation in Governance in Nigeria.
Furthermore, from the PDIA, we have started voter sensitization programmes for women alone, to get more women to commit to what we call a “Women’s Agenda” – Vote for a woman, support her Aspiration, fund her Aspiration and Pray for her. Through the Learning by Crawling, we also saw a potential entry point with the media and we have been engaging the media to portray women’s political participation positively with a lot of spotlight. One key lesson we learnt from this engagement was that most times, as CSO’s we assume a lot and that we may most likely be wrong in our assumptions. These entry points helped us to decide and design our first iteration which we improved on subsequently and are still implementing till this day.
Finally, we can boldly say that after 15 weeks of reading various articles, watching videos, individual and group assignments, participating in the online graded discussion and individual reflections, it was worth all our time. We enjoyed it so much that we looked forward to seeing what the next module will be like the following week.
Thanks to the PDIA team, we can and are now thinking outside the box at the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) when it comes to project implementation! Rest assured, we are not only using the knowledge gained from the PDIA now but will keep using it in the future and we will definitely be referring others to take part in this course!