ILO PROSPECTS team gathers in Kenya to plan a strategic way ahead

The global and country programme management teams of PROSPECTS had an intensive four-days of deliberations examining progress and developing plans ahead to maximize the impact of its work.

News | 08 April 2022
ILO PROSPECTS programme management team members at Strategic Planning Meeting in Naivasha ©ILO
Overcoming the COVID-19 induced boundaries of virtual meetings, the ILO PROSPECTS team held a physical Strategic Planning Meeting in Naivasha, Kenya between 21-24 March 2022.

Although part of the programme’s regular internal planning process, this meeting also came at a critical moment after two years of COVID-19 impact to strategize around priorities in the rapidly approaching fourth and final year of the PROSPECTS Partnership Programme. More importantly, it provided space to visualize the sustainability and continuity of the PROSPECTS initiatives.

The Chief Technical Advisors (CTAs), regional technical specialists and the global team of ILO PROSPECTS gathered at this meeting. In fact, it offered many of them an opportunity to meet their colleagues in person for the first time.

Mr Nicholas Grisewood, Global Programme Manager said: “During the pandemic, the PROSPECTS’ regional and country teams stepped up significantly to address the increased vulnerabilities of refugee and host communities. This meeting offered a platform to dive into the strategic approaches taken by each country team and take note of learning across countries, regions and partners to improve the impact of our work.”

Several models of integrated approaches are emerging, including among others, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policies and programmes, improvement of employment services, establishment of job search clubs, strengthened supply chains, demand-driven skilling and apprenticeship programmes and Employment Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP) models.
Shaza Ghaleb Jondi, CTA, ILO PROSPECTS for the Arab region, presenting key achievements

“We have flagship programmes emerging in each country. They demonstrate contextualized and effective solutions to accelerate self-reliance of the refugee communities and transform socio-economic environment for the hosts accommodating them. The learning from each of the country teams will bring a great value addition to future programme designs of the ILO in forced displacement,” added Nicholas.

As a large-scale ILO intervention in forced displacement, PROSPECTS has confronted a range of challenges and opportunities, including, for example, developing and adapting relevant technical tools and methods and in aligning priorities of the constituents with the objectives of the programme. The meeting offered scope to interact with ILO senior management in addressing some of these concerns and exploring opportunities that are arising.

Ms Tine Staermose, Special Adviser in the Policy Portfolio (DDG/P), who participated virtually at the meeting providing her guidance, said: “PROSPECTS’ outcomes are fulfilling the ILO’s mandate of advancing social justice and promoting decent work for all. The programme has the potential to inform and engage ILO’s Members in addressing the global challenge of protracted forced displacement at a time when new crises are emerging. It shows that ongoing response efforts to this crisis can benefit widely from the ILO’s technical expertise, policy influence and leadership.”

At the meeting, teams invested heavily in reviewing existing implementation priorities, approaches and collaboration. This contributed to further brainstorming on timely completion of planned activities and then initial discussions on a framework for possible future programme phases.

Notably, in the session on sharing the preliminary findings of the ILO’s examination of lessons learned, it was identified that the programme has enabled a more systematic, coordinated ‘One ILO’ approach to developing solutions for forcibly displaced people and host communities.

From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Marian Noppert, Senior Policy Officer for the PROSPECTS Partnership, joined the meeting to receive updates and discuss different aspects of the programme with participants. “The ILO’s contributions through its normative framework and technical added-value across programme’s pillars are among the key drivers of change. Also important to us is the openness of the organization to collaborate closely with other partners by embracing the notion of partnership and its willingness to learn. We well recognize and appreciate the role of the ILO in this partnership,” said Marian.
ILO PROSPECTS regional experts making a note of impact indicators ©ILO

Parallel to the advancement of programme discussions, sessions were dedicated to the importance of capturing cross-country and cross-technical learning through the monitoring and evaluation framework and communicating this as effectively as possible to all stakeholders. A separate session was also held to develop a matrix measuring sustainability of the ongoing interventions.

Despite stretching the meeting times at the beginning and at the end of each day, the four full days of strategic discussions appeared insufficient. However, one key outcome was agreement among the PROSPECTS teams to strengthen thematic learning and capacity-building between countries and regions. The exposure to successful interventions in the different countries will offer insights and practical solutions for enhancing the programme’s implementation.

Taking this pause mid-way certainly offered a new turning point for ILO PROSPECTS.