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ECBinter-active Bangladesh: Staff Capacity
Building national humanitarian staff capacity is one of the key themes of the ECB Project as it is essential to a strong humanitarian response.
ECB Project agencies are working together to better understand the dynamics of how to best build and retain staff and to test new and innovative multi-agency approaches.
For those humanitarian professionals who attended ECBinter-active Bangladesh (above © ECB project 2012), the event was an opportunity to meet and discuss face-to-face some of the key issues. This page compiles the presentations and learning attendees received, a sample of their feedback, and a set of their suggestions for positive next steps in humanitarian staff capacity development.
ECB Program Approaches Presented
The ECB agencies piloted the Humanitarian Staff Development Project (HSDP) as a more in-depth learning program moving away from the typical single workshop approach.
The project is a leading example of collaborative staff capacity
Oxfam GB is partnering with the ECB Project to implement the HSDP through two ‘on the-job’ staff development programs:
- Core Humanitarian Skills Development Program for staff, and
- Humanitarian Leadership and Management Skills Development Program for mid -level managers and team leaders.
Staff who attended the two courses shared their experience and learning with small working groups during the event.
"Before this training I used to express my opinion first. After the training, I preferlistening first and then expressing my opinion. It was an important attitudinal shift”
Palash Manal, Senior Technical Manager, Humanitarian Department, Care International
"ECB capacity building training pulled out all the positive things and positive attitudes which effectively developed within the participants. It helped us to overcome many challenges and passage his way towards the goal.”
Tapan Kumar Chakraborty, Deputy Food Security Coordinator, ACF
"Before the training, I was unable to utilize my knowledge during a disaster. In the training, I came across the Good Enough Guide. The training enhanced my knowledge and capacity. My overall ability improved after the training. I became capable of taking any quick decisions for any emergency responses.”
Tamanna Ferdous, Deputy Medico Nutritional Coordinator, ACF
The program uses a multi-agency simulation approach that tests learning and encourages further relationship building. In ECB's experience it has to closer collaboration and emergency coordination opportunities among the participating organizations.
The simulation uses practical assessment templates, task sheets, briefing notes, preparation guidelines, and evaluation forms.
ECB Bangladesh has:
- Piloted and tested the simulations guide and materials
- Organized a multi-agency simulation
- Tested and finalized an emergency response protocol.
Download the ECB Bangladesh staff capacity poster - a quick summary of the joint program activities.
ECB capacity building training pulled out all the positive things and the positive attitudes which effectively developed within the participants.
It helped us to overcome many challenges and passage our way towards the goals.
Tapan Kumar Chakraborty, Deputy Food Security Coordinator, Action Contre la Faim (ACF) Bangladesh
Right: A delegate gives feedback on staff capacity in an interactive session: "I will put more efforts in developing leaders in my team". Photo © ECB project 2012.
Flexibility is urgently needed for collaboration and coordination. We need the extension of our knowledge, without which the way we are doing management is not working well.
We are working with the ECB because it is very easy to reach the wider communities by using the ECB as a platform. The idea I have shared with everyone is that the way we do our work has to undergo an enormous change because I can’t do everything with similar tools. So I have to update my tools.
Organizations have also begun to realize that there is no alternative to collaborating to face the uncertainties posed by climate change. One organization can’t do everything. We also need to reformulate the strategy of NIRAPAD by incorporating the learning.
Kazi Shahidur Rahman, NIRAPAD
Benefits and Impacts
Participants identified the following major benefits and impacts of ECB national staff development training:
- Enhances six core competencies, such as flexible leadership, culture of learning of the activities, awareness of humanitarian standards, excellent understanding and good orientation in the community, accountability among all the stakeholders (donors, facilitators, beneficiaries and other agents), and cross cultural awareness among the staff members of international and local partner organizations.
- Ensures a proper selection of beneficiaries and rationalizing priority for immediate, comprehensive and effective emergency responses. The training has also instilled more confidence in making decisions by changing indifference to dedication.
- Strengthen leadership.
- Teaches coaching techniques and feedback as well improved understanding of changes and updates of humanitarian standards which are very important for working in emergency responses.
- Develops the ability to use the learning in different working environments, fulfill internal training needs, develop guidelines and training of trainer modules, and test the learning in simulation initiatives for emergency responses.
Challenges and Difficulties
The participants identified the following challenges in achieving the goals set by the ECB staff capacity project:
- Institutionalizing capacity building mechanisms requires adequate training for staff, gender balance, and needs assessment with focused, immediate and long-term support.
- The involvement of women in leading emergency responses is low. Ensuring equal opportunity for men and women in capacity building is a challenge. This requires more attention on gender issues and scope for women in leadership and managerial position.
- It is not easy to measure the impacts of capacity building initiatives for joint need assessment in the remote disaster-affected areas (e.g. water logging areas).
- Training must continue even after the project period to ensure effective and immediate responses to emergencies.
- There can still be institutional constraints to the incorporation of core competency frameworks and making the case for capacity building based on the Good Enough Guide as well as Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) and Sphere standards.
The ECB project is the most successful program on capacity building in Bangladesh. ECB has done quite an appreciable amount of work as far as advocacy and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material development are concerned.
We will use ECB Project materials rather than inventing them again and going for advocacy alone. We are looking forward to a formal kind of arrangement with the ECB wherein ECB helps in capacity building of our staff, and we implement the program in the field.
Shakeb Nabi, Manager, NARRI Consortium (National Alliance for Risk Reduction & Response Initiatives)
Next steps proposed by the ECB Project and by participants:
- Training should continue even after the time-bound project period in order to ensure that capacities remain strong.
- More can and should be done to encourage the incorporation of core competency frameworks and making the case for capacity building based on the Good Enough Guide as well as Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) and Sphere standards.
- Institutionalizing capacity building mechanisms requires adequate training for staff, gender balance, and need assessment with focused, immediate and long-term support from senior managers.
- Use this program approach to further encourage and develop women's leadership in emergency response. More should be done to ensure equal access to staff capacity building projects for both women and men.
- Consider community and staff capacity enhancement initiatives to cover the hard-to-reach people and areas.
- More capacity building initiatives need to be taken to overcome the cultural barriers and promote sustainable accountability to the local authorities and beneficiaries.
- The ECB will consider organizing training courses at the divisional level for the staff of international NGOs and national NGOs and leaders of community-based organizations.
- More training will be developed for the government, national and international NGOs, and more disaster simulations with multiple sectors of agencies will be staged.
- The organizational capacity development strategy will be reviewed with a focus on how to incorporate the competency development approach, and experienced national experts will be included as co-facilitators.
- The learning should be shared with the staff of the participating organizations and should be applied in developing their action plans.
- Individual learning will be incorporated into the humanitarian approaches and will be applied in staff leadership development, at the workplace, in management decision making at the organizational level, in the development of technologies for humanitarian responses, and in the local government orientation.
- To develop leadership at different levels requires leadership skill development training, institutionalizing capacity building initiatives in the disaster management system and engagement of political leaderships in the emergency responses.
- To link emergency preparedness to development requires eliminating short-term funding and prescriptive funding policies, creating working links between the big and the small organizations, building capacity of small organizations with grassroots links, and also developing leadership at the field level.