Lesson Learning Workshops

Lesson Learning workshops were a forum for NGOs to collectively observe other NGO project activities, reflect on and discuss their own experiences, and to engage in active discussion about the emerging lessons from the shiree/EEP programme. These were organised on a quarterly basis. Field exercises involved receiving feedback from beneficiaries and discussing the key challenges and lessons learnt with NGO staff (both management and field-level), culminating in presentations and discussions.

Goals

  • To gain and enhance our understanding of the learning emerging from the projects.
  • To share observations, experiences and best practices (and explore the possibility of the wider adoption of best practices).
  • To validate recent outputs and set priorities for future lesson learning.
  • To pull together learnings and best practices for future outside sharing and communication.
Lesson Learning Workshops so far

January 2010: Scale Fund NGO partners participated in this Lesson Learning Workshop in Rangpur, jointly organised by Care and Practical Action Bangladesh. This reflected particularly on the Care SETU project’s community based approach and the use of technologies by the Practical Action Pathways from Poverty project. Key findings and observations were recorded in a workshop report.

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May 2010: all Scale Fund NGO partners participated in a Lesson Learning Workshop organised NETZ and partner NGO Ashrai. Lessons were drawn particularly around beneficiary choice of assets, as well as NETZ’s work with Handicap International in mainstreaming disability. Key findings and observations were recorded in a workshop report.

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November 2010: all Scale-Fund partners took part in a three-day workshop organised by Save the Children UK and Uttaran in Khulna. Field visits took place across Khulna and Satkira with participants recording lessons and best practices through observations and exercises. These included the benefits of multiple Income-Generating Activities; combining land and asset transfers; and the use of Community Mentors and group-based approaches for empowerment. Recommendations based on observations and field visit exercises led to a number of recommendations which will be used to improve the interventions.

The event included a presentation by DFID Nutrition Advisor and shiree Nutrition Focal Point, after which mainstreaming nutrition was agreed to be a key priority for project consideration. Best practices arising out of NGO experiences of targeting and selecting extreme poor households were also reviewed. Overall, the event drew attention to the complexity that projects face in working in an area so prone to disaster. Some strong advocacy messages emerged, including the need the need for safe drinking water and a coordinated approach between relief and development activities in the Aila-affected area of Koyra.

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May 2011: DSK organised the 4th Lesson Learning Workshop in Dhaka. This was the first lesson learning workshop focused on an urban project, and was preceded by a half day advocacy event to promote a collaborative approach to address urban extreme poverty and build inclusive cities. The event brought together other non-shiree NGOs and stakeholders working in urban areas to discuss key challenges and ways forward. The Chief Guest was Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Bangladesh.

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November 2011: CARE-Bangladesh SETU organized a ‘Regional Advocacy Workshop’ titled ‘Working Together to Address Extreme Poverty: UP Budget Allocation and Accessing Land’ at CASPIA Restaurant, Rangpur on 22nd November, 2011. In spite of world economic crisis, Bangladesh’s achievement for poverty eradication is being praised by the world economist and practitioners. The objective of the workshop was to ensure ‘collective efforts for poverty eradication. The workshop was honored by Mr. Jasim Uddin Ahmed, Divisional Commissioner, Rangpur as Chief Guest.

Workshop Report
Group Discussion

April 2012: Caritas hosted the sixth Lesson Learning Workshop, entitled “Consolidating Lessons from Phase One” at Holiday Inn, Bandarban from April 22-24. As shiree is currently moving into phase 2, it was a chance for the new partner NGOs to introduce themselves whilst allowing the scale fund round one NGOs to impart knowledge and experiences they had gained working with the extreme poor over the previous years. A number of representatives from NGOs based in the Chittagong Hill Tracts were also able to give their perceptions of project implementation in the region. Members of the shiree team gave presentations on graduation and nutrition – both key issues as we move into phase two.

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September 2012: The seventh lesson learning workshop was organized around the theme of “Sustainable Exit Strategies” and hosted by Concern Worldwide at Hotel Supreme in Sylhet. As the shiree Scale Fund Round 1 projects are currently moving into their second phase, issues surrounding sustainable graduation from extreme poverty have become increasingly important. This workshop gave an opportunity for the NGOs to discuss their experiences and lessons learnt in relation to ensuring that beneficiaries continue to progress even after support has been withdrawn. The wokshop also encouraged dialogue on how both the Private Sector and the Government of Bangladesh could be engaged more effectively through NGOs exit strategies. The event brought together all Scale Fund NGOs and CNRS from the Innovation Fund, as well as DFiD and shiree representatives. To enhance the discussion on the role of the Government of Bangladesh in the process of graduation, several representatives were also invited to attend. Mr Khan Md. Belal, Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet attended along with Ms. Israt Jahan (Assistant Commissioner) and Ms. Tamanna Mahamud (Assistant Commissioner), Dr S.M Abul Hossain (District Training Officer, DAE), Dr Hiresh Ranjan Bhowmik (District Livestock Office) and Mr. Nilendhu Paul (Deputy Director, BRDB).

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February, 2013: The eight lesson learning workshop had a combined theme of “Gender Mainstreaming and Application of Digital Technology” and was hosted by Oxfam at Bangladesh Development Society in Barishal. Gender is central to Oxfam’s REE-CALL project, and in recent months Shiree has conducted a gender audit as part of a more in-depth gender mainstreaming initiative. The Oxfam Lesson Learning Workshop was therefore seen as the ideal place to present the findings from this audit, and have a wider discussion about gendered issues within the Shiree programme as a whole and how interventions could be improved by viewing activities through a “gender lens”. The CMS2 roll-out was the inspiration for the second theme which was centred on the application of digital technology, with M-Power presenting the CMS2 visualisation. Participating NGOs were also invited to present their own digital innovations. The opportunity was also taken for short presentations on the Manifesto for the Extreme Poor and changes to the shiree research process. The event brought together all Scale Fund NGOs, iDE and SCI’s TANISHA project from the Innovation Fund, as well as Shiree representatives.

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April, 2014: The ninth lesson learning workshop had a combined theme of “Climate Change Adaptation and Graduation Enhancement” with gender equality playing an integral part of all discussions. It was hosted by Shushilan at the Shushilan Training Centre in Tiger Point, Munshiganj, Shaymnagar, Satkhira. Climate change adaptation is central to Shushilan’s work in the southwest as well as multiple shiree partner NGOs. As such, it was an ideal theme to share lessons on and present innovative project activities that could be duplicated. Additionally, with a year and half left graduation enhancement is central to programming. Shiree and NGO partners have been engaged in multiple discussions on how to achieve absolute graduation across the programme by 2015. Monitoring tools such as CMS 2 are integral to reaching that goal. Hence, the opportunity to discuss approaches to graduation enhancement was taken during the Workshop. The event brought together all Scale Fund NGOs, DFID, District level Government Representatives and Shiree representatives.

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