In an effort to strengthen project management capacity in the executing agencies and the capacity for evidence based policy making in public institutions, two training programs were initiated over the past 4 weeks: PM4R Seminar/Workshop and the Impact Evaluation seminar. The former attempted to strengthen participants’ project management knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices with emphasis on teamwork to enhance the individual and collective management skills, enabling them to spearhead reforms aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public institutions and their ability to execute development projects. The latter sought to strengthen capacity within various social ministries and social projects and equip staff with the tools to conduct rigorous impact evaluations as a means of generating appropriate information to support evidence based policy interventions.
The Impact Evaluation Seminar was held from Oct 28 -30, 2013 and was financed from JA-T1048 (Understanding the Social Effects of the Financial Crisis). The seminar was held in collaboration with SPD who financed one of the facilitators, our very own Sebastian Wilde Martinez. Other facilitators included Dr. Paul Gertler from University of Berkley, Haas School of Business, well renowned and regarded as the best in the field and Alexander Vidal-Orsola. It aimed at improving the technical skills in impact evaluation and promoting a culture in public agencies of using evidence to inform policy. The training focused on, inter alia, tools to conduct rigorous impact: impact evaluation methods and design, data collection requirements and use of administrative data. In addition, using the Jamaica CCT PATH case study developed by Dan Levy of the Harvard Kennedy School of Governance, an exercise was done on the methods of assessing the impacts of projects using the five impact evaluation methods – Randomized Assessment, Instrumental Variables, Regression Discontinuity Design, Difference-in-Differences and Matching. Thirty eight (38) persons benefitted from the training from Jamaica, Suriname and the Bahamas. Four live case studies were strategically selected to address deficiencies/gaps in several impact evaluations currently being done or in early stages of preparation. These included PATH parenting evaluation (JA-L1037), Youth Development Project (JA-L1005), CSJP (JA- L1009) and The Bahamas CCT (BH-L1030). The seminar provided sound technical inputs on all four cases. Materials provided were comprehensive and included the latest book to each participant on impact evaluation authored by the presenters.
The PM4R training was conducted from November 18 -21, 2013 and was a collaborative effort between KNL and CJA. Forty seven participants attended drawn from several Jamaica Public Sector agencies and PEUs representing specific IDB funded projects: CSJP, PATH, PRODEV, PSTU, FAMP, ACP, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme; Education Reform, MOF and 2 MIF projects. JA-L1037 was used as a case study to develop the AOP for 2014 that included the financial plan, procurement plan, risk matrix update and communication plan. The seminar was also intended to support CJA’s broader goal to streamline and standardize monitoring tools such as AOP and the semi-annual report. In this regard, a key output of the workshop was an AOP in a format that could be used by all PEUs.