Guest blog written by Rina Arlianti, Stephanie Carter, Murni Hoeng, Siti Ubaidah Idrus, Susanti Sufyadi, Aaron W Watson.
This is a team of six development practitioners working for Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, the Tanoto Foundation, the Australian supported INOVASI program, and Australian Embassy, Jakarta. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
The Harvard BSC’s PDIA course has been an exciting journey for all of us. We began the course full of excitement and hope – with most of group members having not met before. We were one of four groups participating from Indonesia, all focused on the issue of education quality. Over the course of 15 weeks, we navigated the twists and turns of the PDIA process, putting key concepts to the test in the field of basic education in Indonesia.
Early on, once we had settled into our group dynamic, we settled on our problem statement:
Learning outcome quality in Indonesian primary schools is still low (low scores in international standardised student tests)
As we progressed, we gained several key insights and takeaways about our problem and the course. Through group discussion and debate, drawing on perspectives from working both within and outside the government system, we settled on the following six key sub-causes for low learning outcome quality in Indonesian primary schools:
- Measures of learning are weak (including the use of formative assessment, due to low teacher knowledge)
- Teaching/learning process is ineffective (with teachers lacking inadequate skills and knowledge of how to use learning media, to increase student engagement)
- Parents are already satisfied with the status quo (there is often low demand for changes to the system, as parents do not know what good teaching looks like)
- Lack of learning books for children (due to cumbersome book supply processes at the national level)
- Many teachers don’t use digital technology in classrooms (creating missed opportunity for enhanced learning)
- Policies that address education quality are not implemented well (and instead focus on physical infrastructure, or if they do exist, are not socialised well in a decentralised system)
Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Solving the Wicked Hard Problem of Education Quality in Indonesia
Building State Capability (BSC) has been successfully applying its Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) methodology in various governments across the world, including in growth enhancing policy initiatives directly related to the promotion of investment.
BSC has trained several government officials from the Republic of South Africa in their PDIA online course. Two teams from the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD), one team from the Government Technical Advisory Center at the Treasury, and one team from the Office of the Premier of the Northern Cape successfully completed the course that ended in December 2018.
In August 2019, BSC signed an MOU to work with 5 teams of individuals drawn from the Western Cape Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town, with facilitators from Wesgro, to promote economic growth in the region using their PDIA methodology. This was initiated by the Premier Alan Winde.
The teams are working on five priority sectors which include:
- Construction and property development
- Light manufacturing
- Atlantis special economic zone (manufacturing hub that focuses on green energy)
- Information technology and business process outsourcing
- Commuter transport
This engagement entails the creation of an economic war room where BSC provides online learning environment where the teams learn how to apply the PDIA approach to solving their complex problems. The teams report jointly to the Premier and the Mayor of Cape Town.
A recent article by Claire Bisseker in the Financial Mail, entitled, Strategic shift for Western Cape, details some of this engagement. Continue reading Building State Capability in the Western Cape, Step by Step
Guest blog written by Nikhilesh Hari, Poona Verma, Sadashiv N., Vijay Siddharth Pillai
This is a team of four development practitioners working for the PMRDF in India and an M.Phil student in the UK. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
We began the course with a feeling that the approach which we are going to learn is going to be unique. As we progressed through the initial weeks, we realized that it’s a common sensical approach to solve problems. However we realized that the common sensical approach is rarely followed. We also realized while operationalizing the approach that it is not easy at all and requires a lot of perseverance.
Some of the key takeaways from this course are: Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Lack of Student Engagement in Bastar District, India
written by Salimah Samji
Over the past several weeks, the most frequently asked question has been, “when is the next PDIA course?”
In the past 4 years, from November 2015 to June 2019, we have offered 11 online courses and trained 1,264 development practitioners in 87 countries!
Our flagship PDIA online course has been an incredible learning journey for us and for our alumni. You can read some of their stories from Uganda, Nepal, Indonesia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Colombia, India, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, South Africa, Cambodia and many more! We even have some stories from alumni who are using PDIA in their day-to-day work more than a year after they completed our course. A true testament to the learning outcome.
While we have achieved so much in a short time, we strongly feel that it is time for us to take a little break to review our course content, results and impact. We plan to return with a new offering in 2020. In the interim, to ensure that you get your weekly fix of PDIA, we are launching a 12-part podcast series on the Practice of PDIA. We will release a new episode every Wednesday. The first episode is below and you can also subscribe and listen on Simplecast, iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify.
Thank you to all the 1,264 alumni who have been real partners in our learning journey. It is your hard work and commitment to making the world a better place that inspires – we could not have done this without you!
Guest blog written by Alinnor Doris Chibumma, Daniel Ayako Filibus, Emmanuel Philip Chorio, Mohammed Barma Adam, Patrick Egie Ederaro, Felix. O. Ogbera.
This is a team of six development practitioners working for the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) in Nigeria. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
The journey of our PDIA training was like the 1804 journey where the destination was quite unfamiliar and the terrain very challenging. But the journey had to be made to achieve success. PDIA is about matching your capability with your challenge. Therefore, the composition of our team was made up of people of diverse backgrounds.
Owing to our diversity, we started by building our team, agreeing on the problem we aimed to solve; setting the ground rules for our team’s operations and success. We agreed to accept our differences, our idiosyncrasies and agreed also on common ground to promote unity as a hallmark towards achieving our goals of carrying out a successful PDIA training by finding and fitting the contextual solutions to our problem – Low Acceptance of PPP’s by MDA’s in Nigeria.
Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: The Thrills and Bliss of Working on PPPs in Nigeria
Guest Blog by Lucy Peace Nantume, Robinah K Manoba, Maurice Olupot, Rebecca Kukundakwe.
This is a team of four development practitioners working for the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) in Uganda. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
As employees of a donor agency aimed at building state capability in various areas, PDIA had become for us a catchy frequently used acronym in the organization although honestly speaking most didn’t know exactly what it entailed. Some focused on cramming what it meant in full so that when called upon we would appear to know it while others had resigned to viewing it as the new “in thing” till it gets dropped and a new concept comes along.
Against that background, an opportunity to get more insights into PDIA was thus an idea worth pursuing. The past 15 weeks of the PDIA course have brought out a mixture of feelings both individually and as team ranging from the positive (excitement, joy) to the negative (disillusionment, disappointment).
It wasn’t hard to agree on a name for our team and sign up. Since initially it seemed like the four of us were the only ones interested, we adopted the organization acronym and thus the name “TEAM DGF”. Later we learnt that other colleagues also formed a team thus the organization was privileged to have two teams signed up. This came with added advantages as teams consulted, shared and motivated each other.
Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Deconstructing ‘PDIA’ a Catchy Acronym in Development
Guest blog written by Cara Myers
Cara Myers is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Mozambique School Lunch Initiative (MSLI). She learned about the PDIA approach by taking two courses at the Harvard Kennedy School as part of her Master’s in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) program. She then began applying more of the concepts directly with the MSLI team. This is her PDIA story.
It was March of 2016 and the rains had completely failed for a second year in southern Mozambique. Farming families had no crops. Children were missing school to dig up river roots to eat. Teachers were sending students home because they were “too hungry to learn anything.” Even in normal years, child malnutrition and poor school participation are major issues in Mozambique. This is one of those big, complex problems that is caused by a myriad of interrelated causes and sub-causes that are difficult to disentangle and prioritize.
So there we were, myself, Talvina Ualane and Roberto Mutisse, all of us former colleagues who had worked together for a disaster relief nongovernmental organization in Mozambique in the past and felt deeply motivated to do something to help people affected by this crisis. But, where did we even begin?
We started with what we could do. This is one of the key aspects of the triple-A framework used in PDIA, which stresses that the space for change must include three key factors: authority, acceptance, and ability. PDIA also emphasizes moving to action quickly rather than taking a long time to try and plan everything out before starting to work. By deconstructing the problem into small, manageable bits, it creates points of entry whereby you can start addressing one of the causes or sub-causes of the problem and build the capacity to do more from there.
Continue reading PDIA Journey: The Mozambique School Lunch Initiative