Top-Kaya experts help build the capacity of civilian security sector representatives

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In May-July 2017, two experts of the Regional Development Centre ‘Top-Kaya’, contracted by the European Union Advisory Mission in Ukraine, conducted a series of trainings on project development for representatives of international cooperation units of ministries, departments and other agencies of the civilian security sector.

The project development methodology offered to the training participants was previously tested within prior projects implemented by ‘Top-Kaya’ and is based on the best European experiences in project preparation and development. Particular attention was paid to interconnections between different levels of planning, to understanding of the system of donor support, and interaction of diverse institutions and stakeholders. Awareness of planning and decision-making mechanisms was important to help participants look at their own ideas and projects not only from the point of view of their own institutions and proper methodology but also through the eyes of potential partners and benefactors.

Two-day trainings included theoretical elements and many practical exercises. Tailor-made materials, interactive presentations, examples and exercises, alongside the overall flexibility and openness to discussion, created favourable conditions for the development of participants’ capacity to prepare and manage projects funded by international donors, including the EU.

Throughout the trainings, participants learned to analyse issues, context and stakeholders related to their project ideas, work on defining their problem, construct hierarchical structures of problems and related objectives, select the project strategy and convert this strategy into the project intervention logic. Participants mastered the logical framework matrix approach, an important and complex project development tool, which is an integral part of EU project applications, and is now increasingly being used by other donors and finance providers, including Ukrainian government agencies. In addition, attention was paid to planning time and resources for project activities, and preparing budget that reflects the planned objectives, results and activities. Particularities of application and donor interaction process were also discussed, and related advice was provided to participants as potential applicants.

A few weeks after the last training session, all participants were asked to fill in an anonymous questionnaire. The results of this evaluation confirmed participants’ satisfaction with this capacity building experience: the training met their expectations, the information provided was clear and understandable, the trainers were competent, and the knowledge and skills had good prospects of being used. The participants highly appreciated all the components of the training, but noticed that some elements could be made better: more time could be allocated for certain topics, additional good and bad examples could be used, and some extra practical exercises done. In general, all respondents expressed their willingness to suggest such training to their colleagues and partners; most would even recommend it if the training is financed from participants’ own pockets.