RED Professionals and Optimists
Eight months after Fred Eisenberger, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI), officially launched the Trainer-of-Trainers (ToT) Program in late February 2011, the Program was successfully completed. As a result, 75 participants from 13 oblasts received their RED Trainer certificates officially recognized by the National Academy for Public Administration (NAPA).
In September 2011, the final session of the ToT Program supported by the RGD project took place at the Dnipropetrovsk NAPA Regional Institute. During this final session, ToT participants were asked to present and defend their practical projects that had been developed within the ToT Program framework. For example, Volodymyr Evdokymov, Deputy Chief Engineer of the Zaporizhzhia Airport, presented the “Renovation of the Airport in Zaporizhzhia and Building a New Terminal”. The project was included in the Zaporizhzhia OSA’s plan for implementation of regional priority projects which secured some state funding. The total estimated cost for the project is 746 million UAH (nearly $96 million CAD). The project team is optimistic about its implementation having organized several meetings and negotiations with Ukrainian and foreign investors, including representatives of potential investors from India, Russia, Spain, Italy and Lithuania. The project team believes that “Our project is of a great interest for potential investors and they would like to invest in it, but at the moment their main concern is the state ownership of the airport enterprise”.
Throughout the program, levels of satisfaction were high among ToT trainers and RGD experts about the sustainability of the developed practical projects. Specifically, Prof. Péter Szegvári, RGD International Expert, was pleased with the selected projects, saying, “I like your projects. And what is required for the successful work in the field of regional economic development? Professionals and optimists – just as you are!” ToT participants also expressed optimism about their endeavors. “The ToT Program has provided us (participants) with a methodology. Program organizers have given us not just a “fish”, but a “fishing rod” and taught us how to use it!” This acknowledgement highlighted the very essence of the training – to provide participants with a practical tool and teach them how to apply it.
Participants have gained valuable new skills and knowledge that they will be able to take with them as they pass on their training to others. Participants who have completed the program know now how to develop a logic model and a Gantt chart, conduct gender and social analysis, and estimate environmental impact in the project design process. The ToT participants have also noticed that they are not the only ones who are interested in practical application of the training results. “Our senior managers regularly asked us about the training process and the new things we had learnt. They also strongly encouraged us to share this useful experience with our colleagues”. One of the goals of the ToT Program was to encourage participants to disseminate the highly valuable gained skills and knowledge among their peers and other interested stakeholders, including government officials, experts, community members, etc.
The results of the ToT Program have been so successful and well received that Ihor Sanzharovskyi, RGD Ukrainian Manager, is ready to offer further support training of ToT graduates. RGD plans to conduct an additional training course available to all recent graduates to build upon the ToT Program. The additional training course beginning in November 2011 will focus on adult learning techniques. Moreover, RGD is going to continue assisting the project teams in searching for alternative funding for their projects.