PSI’s Staff Received Training on Planning: "Plan Ahead: It Was Not Raining When Noah Built The Ark."

The Center for Research Development and Data Management ( PSI ) hosted a training session on institutional planning on February 14, 2023, at PSI.

Dr. Netsenat Jote, RDDM Center Head, said that the training on planning would help the staff develop their skills and knowledge in this area. Dr. Netsanet added that this training will be beneficial to all staff.

The trainers - Dr. Balew Demissie and Dr. Girma Teshome - presented a starting point for institutional planning and M&E, and the staff developed the discussion points. In his presentation on the concept of planning, Dr. Balew said that planning is the most fundamental of all management functions. The objectives of today's training were to understand the basic nature of planning, describe the importance and significance of planning, disclose the steps involved in the planning process, explain the types of plans, and describe planning tools and techniques.

Dr. Balew explained that planning is the process of thinking about and organizing activities needed to achieve a desired goal. This includes setting goals, identifying tasks and needed resources, creating schedules, and deciding how to allocate resources and coordinate efforts to achieve the desired outcome. Effective planning helps individuals and organizations work efficiently and effectively toward their goals.

He also reviewed the basic steps of planning, such as setting goals, conducting a situation analysis, developing ideas and evaluating alternatives, developing and evaluating various options for achieving the goals, setting priorities and making decisions, deciding on the most feasible and effective course of action and prioritizing implementation, developing an action plan, implementing the plan, monitoring and evaluating progress, and learning from the process. He emphasized that the goal of any plan must meet the criteria of SMART. He also highlighted some of the useful planning tools and techniques such as forecasting, benchmarking, and participation.

After Dr. Balew's presentation, Dr. Girma presented more on M&E from a research perspective. Dr. Girma explained how to set a research agenda. He said that policy relevance, participation, practical/problem-solving, and science must be the criteria for setting the agenda. In most planning institutions, there are problems in coordination between different departments inside and outside. Dr. Girma added that although it is very difficult to track planned activities,  monitoring plans in terms of  time, cost, and quality is helpful. He emphasized that research based on urgency, policy relevance, budget, and time is important. He also recommended that PSI should use different M&E software such as achiveit, tanics, etc. to facilitate M&E.

Overall, he said that institutions need to develop a monitoring and evaluation plan that outlines the indicators, data sources, data collection methods, data analysis techniques, and reporting procedures. He added that the institutions should also analyze the data and share the results, share the evaluation results with stakeholders, including program or project staff, beneficiaries and funders, use the results, and adjust the M&E plan.

In conclusion, participants thanked the trainers and suggested that this type of training should be conducted regularly.

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