The last few weeks in the Leadership Program have seen us prepare to train Feedback to new Agriculture Field Officers in two of our divisions, edit and practice some of our curriculum, and also embark on creating an entirely new training series for upper level Nuru staff entitled Project Management Training. Since our program is tasked with ensuring that all staff have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to be able to effectively run their programs independently, creating a new training on project management is the next logical step for us to reach this goal.

Project management is a big topic, but here at Nuru we are working to break it down into manageable pieces so that we can successfully equip staff with the most urgent skills they need to effectively manage, iterate on, and continue to develop their programs. At this stage, Jane Omanga, our Leadership District Manager, and I, are working hand in hand with the Leadership Zone Managers to determine the most important components of this training. Two of the main topics we have determined to be crucial are the ability to create short and long term program plans and also the ability to effectively understand, create, and use a staffing model.

Ensuring that upper level staff have the ability to independently create short and long term plans for their programs as well as understand, create, and iterate on their staffing structure are both key pieces of leadership sustainability. It is important for each District Manager to be well equipped to lead their program teams in planning and creating staffing models so that Nuru Kenya can thrive on its own without outside intervention. The first step in doing this is to ensure that the Leadership team who will be tasked to teach the rest of the staff these skills are fully conversant and become experts on the subject. The Leadership District Manager and I have been working closely with our Zone Managers to ensure that they have the appropriate skills and knowledge about planning and staffing models so that they will be able to impart these skills and knowledge to others. So far the process has been successful, with the Zone Managers gaining and practicing their newfound skills every day. 

The Zone Managers embarked on the subject of project management with some prior experience in yearly planning as well as the skill of creating job descriptions and roles as seen in a staffing model, but they often felt that their knowledge was limited because they didn’t understand the specific steps required to create a plan or staffing model. As we continue to have conversations about these concepts and go in depth with how to break them down into smaller parts, the Zone Managers have begun to realize just how rich their knowledge on the subject is. Due to this discovery, it is evident that when we teach other Nuru staff, our main task will be to break down the activities of planning and creating a staffing model into procedures and “steps” that all of them will be able to follow. Like the Zone Managers, all of the District Managers have familiarity with both concepts in some capacity, but they lack a clear picture of the procedure for creating both pieces on their own. This is exactly where our training on project management will come into the picture. We will help District Managers to see the different components that go into planning and creating a staffing model, assist them in relating those concepts back to their programs, and also allow them to practice the new skills they are learning.

Teaching project management is a challenging subject, especially since it is actually very wide and encompasses many different aspects. However, by isolating specific tools and skills that District Managers currently need, we will be able to successfully build the capacity of our staff piece by piece in ways that are most relevant to Nuru. We are looking forward to creating this training and embarking on a new subject that will assist District Managers to become more efficient and effective in their work.