PREPARING A WORKSHOP
by Phil Bartle, PhD
Designing a training workshop and writing a proposal for resources to hold it, are similar in many respects to designing and proposing a project
While much of your training will be informal and on the job, now and again you will need to conduct a training workshop. You need a proposal in order to obtain money to conduct it.
This guidelines document is similar to Project Design, except that the "project" you want to plan here is a training workshop. A "project design" for a workshop can also be called a training curriculum. Study this appendix along with the one on project design.
Justifying a Workshop:
You aim to encourage and train community members and leaders in practical techniques of community participation and in managing community activities. Whenever you want to organize a training session, it must be justified in terms of strengthening the community.
You must be able to argue a case for holding the workshop. What is it's purpose? What output is expected from it? How do the outputs relate to the purpose? Do they strengthen communities? How will you measure the output?
To obtain funding for your workshop, the workshop has to be well designed. If it is poorly designed or not designed, then do not expect support.
If your workshop proposal has clearly explained the purpose and is well planned and well designed, then you are more likely to get financial and other support.
Planning a Workshop:
Before you draw up a training programme, ask yourself, "Is this training going to mobilize, motivate, encourage active participation and impart practical techniques?" What kind of out puts and indicators are likely to come from the workshop?
What changes is your training going to make over the current situation? You want to cause changes of organisation, attitudes, behaviours, participation or skills. What growth, development or empowerment will result from those changes? Will your training enable you to make quantifiable observations (such as 50% compared to only 18% of community members are now paying their water bills)?
The objectives and the justification of the training should be complementary and not conflicting. Justification should be to solve a felt need.
If the justification for drawing up a training programme is because "some water sources and sanitation projects do not have management committees," then the objective of your training proposal is, "to train community members as a way to mobilize and organize a group to manage the water source and sanitation project."
Target Group (Beneficiaries) or Participants:
Your target group (beneficiaries) or participants must be related to your planned output. The number of participants is dictated by the severity of the problem and budget. Remember, your aim is to bring about change so as to help the community develop.
The people to be trained are the ones to do the work and solve the problem. So, for example, in training for managing a community facility, you don't just invite a whole lot of people for management training.
Chose community members who are committed and available to do the work. In this example, this would mean 7-10 people only. Gender balance means that, of the target group, at least 50% should be women. Do not choose a participant only because she is female, or only because he is male.
The women and men must be committed and available to manage the community project. Do not invite participants just to satisfy other obligations. Do not invite officials, leaders and administrators just because you want to impress them.
Your workshop resource persons should be experts in the respective subject areas; not just ex-officio officials or politicians. In a water and sanitation workshop example, the resource persons should be health inspectors, health educators, water engineers and/or management training experts.
Government officials can be invited to officiate either at the opening or closing mainly to keep them well informed. In the proposal write-up, you must state clearly why each resource person is an expert.
You also must have a well defined role for each. Otherwise the auditors might think that you just want to dish out money to yourself or your friends!
Many training modules have contract forms in which the resource person is expected to declare their specialities. This can be used to determine the rate payable to each resource person.
Course Content or Subject Matter:
Attach a detailed course programme. This makes evaluation of the validity and relevance of the training proposal easier. The course description should indicate the various training methods to be used: eg role play, videos, demonstration, audio presentations, simulations, focus group discussion, group work.
The topics should be described, not merely listed. As much as possible, indicate who will be a resource person and for which topic. Allocate tasks early to enable resource persons to prepare well in advance. Make contact with the resource person well in advance. This helps you to find out his/her area of competence.
The budget should tally with the duration of the training. Variations are expected on the amount to be paid to resource persons (depends on the number of topics covered, how many days and so on).
Costs must be rational. The number of support staff should vary with the administrative responsibilities. Night allowance also varies according to number of nights spent by the various people. Aggregated budgets are not acceptable.
Not all venue facilities are the same. A venue that costs 40,000/= per day should have facilities like over head projectors, air cooling system, TV monitors and deck; whereas a venue without those facilities should charge between 15,000/= to 20,000/= per day. Cost of meals can not be the same at all venues. Rural areas should cost less than urban. Within urban areas variations are reflected by quality. A five star hotel will charge more per meal than a two star, and so on. Hence the need to state the venue in the proposal.
The venue should be paid for in accordance with location and facilities being offered. You should select venues which are relevant to the conditions of the target group. In the example of community water and sanitation management training, a rural setting, like a boarding school or community centres, would be suitable.
A well-written report is the only feed back and evidence that your sponsors can rely on. Therefore, in your proposal, you should indicate how and when the training report will be submitted together with accountability. Some funding agencies insist on a target time. You must comply with that if you hope to present any more future training proposals. See Report Writing.
Remember to attach your training programme and list of participants as appendices to your report. Give details such as quality of participants' response and participation; competence of facilitators; achievements of stated objectives; daily evaluation feed back on sessions; constraints and final course evaluation by participants, as well as recommendations for future action.
Training Workshop; Learning Management Skills:
© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle