Patron -  Joanna Lumley, OBE

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SPIDA: Mid-term Review Retreat and Planning Workshop Conducted

In reflection of the SPIDA research activities carried out during the Year I and in accordance with the details of the research grant application, conducing a mid-term review workshop among the project consortium members was critical in light of assessing the achievements made and the challenges faced, and also reviewing planned Year II activities and its expected outcomes. This includes, among others, analysing stakeholder partnership development and making the necessary adjustment in light of the new circumstance occurring in the targeted area and project implementation progresses. Before the retreat event, a mutually agreed concept note and agenda was developed and shared among the consortium members ahead.

The review meeting was held in Gheralta Lodge, Tigray of Ethiopia, just two weeks before the end of the Year I project timeframe, from July 15th to 16th 2016 under the title of ‘SPIDA Retreat and Planning Workshop’ where six members of the research consortium partners staff participated including Dr. Zeremariam Fre, consortium leader and principal investigator from UCL, Bereket Tsegay, Research Associate and Grant Administrator from PENHA, Araya Mebrahtu, Gabriel Temesgen and Selamawit Tekle, Research Associates from the ADU and also Bistrat Weldesilassie a Survey Coordinator from ADU. The workshop aimed to achieve the following objectives:

  • To critically assess the Year I project activities, results and draw lessons (including the PRA, Review literature, and local and international partnership developments)
  • To discuss the draft action plan for Year II and to draw some major lessons and map out the next stage of the research work (that is, agree on actions to be taken along the division of labour)
  • To conduct an overall evaluation on the level of partnership developed in Afar Region using stakeholder mapping metrics approach (including Samara University and other PSNP related institutions) and ensure they are part of the inclusive and participatory approach the project uses
  • To device a communication strategy that help to share the project outputs (interim and final findings) with the policy makers, the stakeholders and the wider society in social protection through using the advantages of the digital media (including social media)
  • To clearly plan the preparation for the Final Review Evaluation to be conducted in Ethiopia at the end of Year II

During the first day, in order to critically look at the SPIDA plans made for the Year I and the activities carried out, the team used the SWOT analysis approach. Two discussion groups were formed and drew strengthens, weaknesses, external opportunities and threats the project had during its Year I implementation. Five activities have been identified and became the focus of the SWOT analysis - the PRA, literature review, partnership development, Networking and communication strategy, and resource management.

The second day of the retreat workshop was devoted to reviewing Year II activities, filling the gaps identified in Year I and making the division of labour among the consortium partners and project staff for the remaining activities. The discussions were continued in planning the quantitative survey; finalising and communicating the PRA, literature works and also the interim research results with policy makers; devising communication plans (including producing policy briefs, blogs and enriching the social protection section created on PENHA website, producing videos, utilising the INCLUDE Platform, etc…), SPIDA international evaluative conference organisation; the application of the AIIM (Alignment, Interest, Influence Matrix) Tool Box in identifying the stakeholders related to the SPIDA project; relevant recommendations and also post-retreat plans and the tasks to be accomplished.

The two-day discussion was open and greatly helped every participant to actively engage in critically reviewing the progress made and enriching the planning processes. As the Gheralta Lodge event was the first in its kind - in creating a platform for the research project team to come together under one roof and sharing their experiences – it was instrumental in boosting the team spirit and advancing the existing level of partnership among the consortium members.

Photo credit: Jeff Salzer and Mike Haley