Capacity building for Key Government Development Cooperation Agencies

We are happy to present a project which was awarded to us already in December 2019 and was foreseen to start in April 2020. However, due to the COVID pandemic, the start of the project was significantly delayed. The time was not wasted, though. We have used these months to adapt to the new circumstances and we are sure, that although in a different way than initially expected, we will still be able to meet Client needs and expectations.

Firstly, let us start with showing a bit of project’s background. The leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, the Trinidad and Tobago economy is heavily dependent on upstream and downstream energy sector which accounts for about 45% of GDP, 50% of Government revenue and 80% of exports, but only 4% of employment. To decrease the dependence on the energy sector, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago seeks to broaden the country’s economic base through diversification. Historically, Trinidad and Tobago has benefitted from development cooperation under the Lomé Conventions, and currently facilitated under the successor African, Caribbean and Pacific Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA). While these grants have benefitted the country tremendously, there is a lack of capacity in operational Ministries to develop/design project proposals and implement projects. Many opportunities have been lost due to the inability of ministries/agencies to submit quality project proposals in a timely manner. Additionally, implementing ministries/agencies are often faced with delays and inability to achieve the project’s stated objectives. The current Cotonou Partnership Agreement is coming to an end and the development cooperation landscape is changing. Trinidad and Tobago has graduated to high income status, thus the level of funding available has been reduced, and this further underscores the need to be able to compete for any and all available resources. As such, there is a need to strengthen the capacity of a number of agencies including the office of the National Authorising Officer, line Ministries) and other relevant partners. This will facilitate the effective management of future programmes and projects, access calls for proposal, preparation of high quality project proposals, as well as, be able to manage large scale, multi donor and multi recipient grants.

And here is where EPRD steps in. In order to strengthen the technical capacity of the European Development Fund Unit to effectively manage Development Cooperation with the European Union and to increase the cadre of persons in the key Ministries and Departments with the requisite skills to formulate, implement and evaluate programmes and projects, our expert will deliver a series of trainings covering development cooperation in a changing context, proposal writing (including grant proposals)  and project implementation and management knowledge. We expect that at the of the workshops, the participants will understand the context of aid effectiveness and the basic principles of project management. Moreover, they will know the key principles of the Project Cycle Management and result based approach – applicable to the EU and to all donors/agencies, and will have gained knowledge on how to manage, monitor and evaluate projects and are able to use the available software as a planning and monitoring tool. For the time being, there is no possibility to deliver the workshops in a traditional, face-to-face manner. Personal contact will have to be replaced by online training, based on individual work supervised by our trainer. But the quality and professionalism will still be there and hence the participants will surely receive all the guidance and information they need to improve their capacities. We are again happy to contribute to institutional and personal capacity development, however, we will surely miss the beautiful views of the island…

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