Mastering tools to design local solutions to development challenges

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Mastering tools to design local solutions to development challenges

Students take part in a recent DPMI training in Nairobi.

The recent Design, Partnering, Management and Innovation (DPMI) training was an intensive two-week certificate program about designing local solutions to important development challenges. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship from Locus through Pact’s Kenya office, where I'm based.

The training, held in Nairobi, was facilitated by Beryl Levinger, chair of the Development Practice and Policy Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and Matt Reeves, global advisor for civil society with the Aga Khan Foundation. They coupled PowerPoint presentations with real-life examples from their many years of practice. We had the opportunity to learn while gaining hands-on experience by designing a class project based on real challenges in international development. My team presented our project, dubbed Addressing Local Priorities Through Local Solutions, to a dolphin tank of international development professionals at the end of the two weeks.

During the training, we mastered a set of essential tools and approaches for designing development initiatives based on local solutions. Among them were the problem tree, which analyzes an existing situation by identifying the major problems and their main causal relationships; the positive deviance model, which examines the behaviors of outliers who’ve overcome a particular social problem; the local systems framework, which places local systems at the center of efforts to promote sustainability; and the results framework, a graphic representation of the outcomes expected from a particular intervention.

Reflecting on my role as a capacity development professional, these tools and approaches, particularly the causal loop mapping and local systems mapping, will help me analyze and understand local systems and provide targeted support to local organizations with an overall system in mind. To support local organizations in creating local solutions to ensure sustainability and resiliency, the positive deviance model and design thinking will definitely come in handy. The training gave me a broad set of tools to engage stakeholders, map networks, promote strategic partnering and facilitate important conversations linked to development outcomes.

I have no doubt that my passion to support local organizations to address local priorities through local solutions will be realized with the skills I acquired, and passing them on to local organizations will certainly make a big difference. 

 

Locus is a coalition of nongovernmental organizations, foundations and consulting firms dedicated to finding new solutions to development challenges, focusing on integrated approaches to development and a search for evidence-based, local solutions. To date, its members include Pact, IRC, FHI360, SNV USA, Africa Capacity Alliance, the Aga Khan Foundation USA and Nuru International.

The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey is a professional graduate school that offers rigorous training for the next generation of development practitioners and policymakers.

- See more at: http://www.pactworld.org/blog/training-future-leaders-development#sthash.EDeQuDLw.dpuf

DPMI trainings in Kenya are jointly hosted by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, a professional graduate school that offers rigorous training for the next generation of development practitioners and policymakers, and Locus, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations, foundations and consulting firms dedicated to finding new solutions to development challenges.

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