Guest blog written by Jaynnie K Mulle, Meital Tzobotaro, Rosemary Okello-Orale, Stephen Brager, Warren Harrity.
This is a team of five development practitioners who work for USAID and Strathmore University in Kenya. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
The course provided a number of valuable tools, principles, and practices that are already being put to use. Additionally, a great takeaway is our team that was formed for this course, I am not sure how if it all we would have come together to work on something in a way that this course brought us together, but we are glad for this opportunity to create this team. Specific key takeaways include the emphasis on defining and deconstructing a problem rather that “applying solutions”; assessing the AAA’s and including the development of the authorization space as part of the activity; crawling the design; and appreciating that this practice is hard but rewarding. In many regards this course was a gift that enriched our thinking, refueled our enthusiasm, and helped us to look at our problem in a new and exciting way. Allow us to offer you a gift in return, if you’ve not done so already, read about one of the earliest PDIA practitioners in the “Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.”
Other take-aways from the course include:
- Instead of adopting the solution that other people have to solve a problem, the course helped us to learn how to search for solutions to our problem,
- The 1804 metaphor of taking small steps to solve complex problems,
- The use of the fishbone to identify the cause and effects in problems and how they are interconnected. Most importantly how fishbone allows for prioritizing relevant cause so that the underlying root cause is addressed first,
- The importance of using iteration, and,
- How people are at the center of all PDIA elements
Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Girls and Poverty in Kenya
Guest blog written by Ime Michael Mukolu, Oluwaseun David Oshagbami, Rashidat Jogbojogbo, Sodipe Oluwaseun Oluwasegun.
This is a team of four development practitioners who work for the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in Nigeria. They successfully completed the 15-week Practice of PDIA online course that ended in May 2019. This is their story.
With the processes and strategies learned from PDIA as well as anticipated support from critical stakeholders, we can say we are on the right track towards achieving effective coordination of the National HIV response.
The following were progress made thus far:
- We conducted a fishbone analysis of our problem and that gave us a better understanding of what we are dealing with.
- We also conducted two iterations under which we accomplished the following:
- We finalized a concept note to review the National Policy on HIV/AIDS and got the approval of our Authorizer to hold a two day Policy Dialogue meeting.
- We brought critical stakeholders together for a Policy Dialogue meeting, where we had discussions towards providing a clear direction to the HIV response.
- We documented policy recommendations required to improve funding and coordination of the HIV response and shared same with all critical stakeholders.
Overall, PDIA has re-orientated the team to see problems differently. To use problems as a launch pad to build state capability especially in the field of HIV/AIDS coordination in Nigeria. The course helped sharpen our skills on how to approach problems by simply identifying the causes, sub-causes, relevant stakeholders that are critical to solving the identified problem and how to engage them. Continue reading PDIA Course Journey: Coordinating the National HIV Response in Nigeria
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
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