What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

  • dorothee.spuhler
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What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Dear all

You may have seen the post of on What are the objectives of a SuSanA Working Group ?
I would like to take the opportunity of the moment and launch the discussion on the objectives of working group 1 on capacity development.
The overall goal of WG1 (as stated on the susana webpage ) is:
This working group aims to create a global network to strategically accelerate and influence the capacity development process in the sanitation sector.
Moreover, several WG1 specific activities are listed:
  • Production of a factsheet and a DVD with available resources collected from its partner network
  • Supporting curricula development initiatives aiming to enhance the ability of academics and professionals across disciplines to contribute to the mainstreaming and up-scaling of sustainable sanitation.
  • Collect and update information on training courses and training institutions for sustainable sanitation issues
  • Foster regional capacity development networks and knowledge nodes
  • Foster online courses and discussion fora in several languages
Some fundamental values are also mentioned:.
"The working group sees itself as a focal point and networking opportunity for anyone or any organization which seeks to become active in capacity development for sustainable sanitation. Key considerations of the group are to foster knowledge management and knowledge sharing, to use open-source approaches for sharing of course materials, and to optimize the use of the opportunities offered nowadays by the internet for capacity development."

Personally I still think the overall goal of WG1 has not changed over time. However, I think the specific tasks and cited values need a a revamp in order to come up with some specific objectives which we can prioritize and the specifically focus on through the years to come.

What do you think?
How you would describe the general aim and the specific objectives of our working group?

Cheers, Dorothee

Dorothee Spuhler
WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) based at seecon, Switzerland
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  • BIFERD
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Hi dorothee
I agree with you about the objectives but would like propose you 1 suggestion it is about sharring about the challenges from our goverment to achieve Sustaibnable Development Goal for WASH aspects . see attached a summary report about the World water day in the DRC North Kivu

Best regards
Jonas H

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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Hi Dorothee,

Thanks for the reminder.

As for the current goal, it seems circular. The Working Group for Capacity Development seeks to strengthen capacity. But capacity for what? Might it be to support this part of SuSanA's mission? The overall goal of the SuSanA is to contribute to the achievement of current and future international development goals (MDGs, post-2015 process, SDGs) by promoting a systems approach to sanitation provision taking in consideration all aspects of sustainability.

I think the term "working group" is clear. The aim "to create a global network" seems to duplicate what SuSanA is.

Perhaps the goal and objectives could be stated more simply, so people would understand at a glance.

SuSanA Working Group 1 aims to strengthen the capacity of member organizations and the effectiveness of sanitation initiatives that contribute the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

The objectives of WG1 are to
  • Contribute to the mainstreaming and up-scaling of sustainable sanitation.
  • Support curricula development across disciplines
  • Compile information on training courses and institutions
  • Provide online practical open source tools and opportunities for sharing.
  • Foster regional capacity development networks and knowledge nodes
Not very good, but perhaps a start?

Carol

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  • petecranston
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Hi

I like the general statement in the 'values' section quoted in Dorothee's post, with its’ focus on knowledge management and sharing'. But what about adding ‘learning’ at the head of that phrase, since too often KM is seen as to do with information storage and dissemination. Whereas learning and reflection are the essential element in people and organisations changing what they do as a result of other’s experience and research and are thus precursors to the processes of KM & KS

Cheers

Pete
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  • MRonteltap
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Dorothee, thanks indeed for the reminder!

I realised that I sort of lost the feeling of being in the Working Group, probably because, like Carol indicated, the goals of our working group seem to be overlapping here and there with SuSanA as a whole. In that sense I don't fully agree with Pete: the learning is what I feel we do within SuSanA as a whole, whereas it's the WG's responsibility (or better: interest) to keep up with the teaching materials, the opportunities to learn, and to serve as a network for bringing teachers and students (in the broadest sense of the word) together. (Still, the reporting of the learning could be part of our group!)

In that light, I see this call for reconsidering the WG's objectives also as a wake up call - time to rekindle the potential of our WG!

Speaking purely out of self interest (I get quite a few requests for research topics for students): could we also think of providing a platform (or even just a bullet list) to put up student research ideas? Indicating the desired background knowledge of the student, an estimated duration of the research (3 months, 6 months, more), whether lab work can / should be involved, or a pilot study perhaps.
To summarize this in an added bullet point:
- to serve as a platform for student research ideas and topics

Nice to be thinking of this in the bigger picture again!

Thanks all,
Mariska.
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Dear Mariska

Thank you very much for your reaction.
I think to provide a space for student opportunity announcement could be implemented quite easy. I would suggest to agree on a format to respect and then create a specific space on this forum for all the announcements.
A possible format could be:
Topic: ...
Duration: ...
Home university and supervisors: ...
Location: ...
Short summary: ...
Attachments: ...

We have quite a share of WG members from educational institutions and universities and I am sure that there are plenty of opportunities that are worth to be posted here.
It would also provide an opportunities for matchmaking universities doing applied research abroad with potential applicants from the country where the research takes place which could have benefits regarding the integration of research projects in the local context and particularly contribute to the development of local capacities!

Cheers, Dorothee

Dorothee Spuhler
WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) based at seecon, Switzerland
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Dear Carol

Thanks for this contribution, I like the suggestion of simplifying while reviewing.
It also would allow us to highlight tasks we want to focus on and omit others which are taken over by the secretariat. I suggest following variations:


SuSanA Working Group 1 aims to create a global network of of member organizations that together contribute to the development of capacities in the sanitation sector in order to meet the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

The objectives of WG1 are to:
  • Contribute to the mainstreaming and up-scaling of sustainable sanitation.
  • Support the secretariat in knowledge management and sharing and the moderation of the online discussion forum
  • Support curricula development across disciplines
  • Compile information on training courses and institutions and other training opportunities (e.g. student research projects)
  • Provide online practical open source tools and opportunities for sharing

Looking forward to receiving feedback!
Dorothee

Dorothee Spuhler
WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) based at seecon, Switzerland
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Dear Pete

Thank you for your valuable contribution!

I think the 'learning' aspect is part of the culture of SuSanA and also of WG1.
But I see a potential for WG1 to work on this aspect more formally.
Formulating that into a WG1 objective, this might sounds like:

"Contribute to a learning and reflection culture within the network and encourage reporting on lessons learnt"
As Carol put it: not very good. But prehaps a start?

How could such an objective be reached?

I personally see a huge gap in the sector regarding methods and guidelines on how to efficiently monitor capacity development activities and report on impacts of related projects.
The most recent example highlighting the lack of a ready-made recipe to monitor and measure capacity development is SuSanA itself.
For this forum and other activities, member of SuSanA are continuously raising funds in order to guarantee the vital function and the operation and maintenance of infrastructures such as this forum. Doing this, we are often asked to show, what the impacts of SuSanA, and in particular this forum are. I guess we all agree that the impact is huge and website user statistics can underline these assumption. But user statistic of online forums and webpages are not enough. Are qualitative statement of some selected individuals a good approach: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/10-ann...stories-and-examples ?
The question of how we can monitor capacity development is one I think we can gain a lot from working on.

Cheers, Dorothee

Dorothee Spuhler
WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) based at seecon, Switzerland
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  • millieadam
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Thanks Dorothee for the opportunity to input into the objectives of SuSanA WG1. Due to some other work CAWST is currently doing, we have had the opportunity to think in some depth about the role of platforms like this. Some of the potential roles we identified are listed below with our view of their applicability to WG1:

Knowledge management – this is a tall task and we are not sure that SuSanA has the resources to put toward it. However, as others have suggested, WG1 could certainly compile information on training materials and institutions. (Without any aspect of evaluation or quality control, which is a big undertaking.)

Help desk (to respond to initial inquiries and direct people to resources/organizations) – this requires a qualified person with significant time allocated to this activity; again, we are not sure SuSanA has the resources to take this on

Coordination - There are often calls for better coordination of our activities, but we are not sure how WG1 could accomplish this

Disseminating knowledge – in order to disseminate sanitation knowledge more broadly, the network would need to be bigger than our working group or we would need to find the right channels to reach those who could benefit from that knowledge

Advocacy – as a credible, well-recognized organization, SuSanA could play a role in raising awareness of the huge need for capacity building in sanitation. Perhaps this is already covered by the advocacy working group, but are they advocating for sustainable sanitation only without communicating the need for capacity building to achieve that?

Developing the capacity of members – This is certainly a role that we think WG1 can play (and has) by organizing workshops, online discussions and the exchange of learnings

These are very much our initial thoughts with the intent of stimulating discussion. We hope others will provide their opinions on the above roles as well as identify others.

Kind regards,

Millie

Millie Adam
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: What are the objectives of SuSanA Working Group 1 on Capacity Development?

Dear all

Thank you for all the comments and feedbacks.
Based on those and some discussions with key members and my ***new co-lead Sterenn Philipps from CAWST** (yes I’ve got a co-lead now which is also great news :) we have formulated some updated working group objectives in view of the upcoming challenges and opportunities with agenda 2030. Please have a look at them and provide us your comments. We are planning to requisition specific support from the secretariat through the new gates project mainly for objectives one and two where among other we plan a new space on the SuSanA webpage including a database on existing capacity development resources, information on capacity development activities and trainings, as well as a sanitation capacity development actors database. To fill in this space, we plan a survey among all members – so you will hear from us again once we are ready.

Kind regards Dorothee

PS: Sterenn will soon introduce herself on the forum and say a few words about her experiences and her expectations for her new role.


WG1 Objectives 2016 and ahead


Suggested aim:
Create a global network to accelerate and strategically influence capacity development to scale up sustainable sanitation.

Suggested objectives:

Knowledge management and sharing - compile and share resources that contribute to capacity development in sanitation on the SuSanA website. This includes training material, online curricula, trainer manuals, e-learning courses.

Communication - compile and share information on capacity development activities on the SuSanA webpage and forum. This includes training programs, courses, mentorships and student research projects.

Coordination - provide a space to connect members and partners as well as anyone interested in capacity development. This includes providing a platform for members to coordinate their activities on the SuSanA forum or during SuSanA meetings

Learning Exchange - organize webinars and meetings with WG1 members and partners to exchange experiences and discuss specific topics related to capacity development.

Research - analyse and map the gaps in capacity development resources and activities to highlight the needs and demands of the sanitation sector.

Advocacy – as a credible, well-recognized organization play a role in raising awareness of the huge need for capacity building in sanitation. This includes the compilation of position papers and factsheets.

Dorothee Spuhler
WG1 Co-lead
Working with Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) based at seecon, Switzerland
www.sswm.info / www.seecon.ch
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