Posted in development, libraryland, Ukraine, tagged advocacy, civil society, community, development, libraries, sustainability, Ukraine on October 11, 2011 |
Back from sunny Crimea to rainy Kyiv now, but with great impressions of the Young Library Leaders’ School.
The last day of the School was dedicated to trainings on strategic planning / advocacy and monitoring and evaluation of library work. The librarians practiced their skills creating strategies for library development in small and large groups. One important point was defining advocacy targets: being very specific and not addressing a Ministry, for instance, with a particular request if decision makers of that concrete issue are regional or local politicians.
Topics discussed at the monitoring training were differences between monitoring and evaluation, criteria of efficient library work (combination of qualitative and quantitate indicators), and the importance of clear understanding of an evaluation scale.
At the closing session the librarians expressed their gratitude and stated that they were full of ideas and eagerness to start designing and implementing projects upon returning to their libraries. The first step will be holding a similar training on leadership, proposal writing, strategic planning, and advocacy in their respective libraries. Yaroslava Tytarenko, Bibliomist Capacity Development Coordinator, suggested to practice proposal writing skills and apply for Bibliomist Public Access Contest and Community Development Contest (CPC) and to keep in touch with the help of social networks.
And one of the long-term strategic goals defined by this group was to meet again at the next Young Library Leaders’ School. As we know, when leaders set a goal, they never give up!
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Big thanks to Wayan Vota and the folks who support the Technology Salon series for this morning’s event focusing on private sector partnerships. Rob Schneider, Senior Alliance Advisor, Office of Development Partners at USAID offered some of the background on the GDA strategy toward PPPs and his own take on (sometimes difficult) questions on how implementers and donors alike can approach these opportunities.
Flickr User @jimmyroq
At IREX, we’re always trying to figure out better ways to purposefully connect people with the technology they need, so we have an interest in building successful partnerships with both multinationals and also local companies (for example, we recently reached a deal with MTS, a mobile provider in Ukraine to provide free 3G broadband connections for up to a year to public libraries in which wired infrastructure does not exist (read about it here).
But where I think this conversation get’s really interesting is when we talk not just about broad development strategy of negotiating the partnerships, but how these partnerships can function as an ongoing part of program implementation strategy. Implementers need to think seriously not just about how to strike a deal with their business peers, but about what type of partnerships make sense for their particular program goals. It’s a different way of thinking about the partnerships because the focus is less on just getting the capital or being able stick brand X’s logo on the website. It’s about figuring out why these relationships make sense for ongoing project sustainability.
To circle back to the MTS agreement I mentioned earlier–this is a relationship that makes a lot of sense for all sides–not just for increased market share and burnished CSR credentials in a one-off deal, but because libraries will increasingly allow service providers access to new markets and connect companies with the important kinds of information they need to better serve existing and potential customers.
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Posted in Ukraine, tagged procurement, sustainability on May 12, 2009 |
Sustainability of public Internet access is a very broad concept that includes a number of different elements, from staffing to funding sources to tech support. We’ve found that one of the most difficult elements to establish is incorporating regular replacement of hardware into a partner organization’s standard operating procedure. Libraries and the government agencies that fund them tend to see computers as large, one-time capital expenditures that they cannot fit in their operating budgets. Once purchased, hardware is expected to last a long time. If it is ever replaced, then it is only through another grant from an international organization.
The problems here are several. The perception that computers are provided only by international funders puts library directors on a never-ending hamster wheel of fundraising. Different donors have different goals and attach different conditions to use of the equipment, making consistency in provision of library services difficult, not to mention implementation of long-term development plans. Any successes in raising international funds can be seen by government officials as an excuse not to make investments from their own budgets. Hardware replacement can be sporadic–in one year a library might win more computers than it has space for, only to go many more years without equipment grants.
Internet access for visitors, Desnyansky Raion Library, City of Kyiv
Rental of computers and the model of software as a service are not yet well-developed in Ukraine–most service providers do not yet have the capacity or the relationships or trust to be able to carry out multi-year agreements. It will also be difficult to persuade government officials to purchase large numbers of computers every 3 to 5 years, as such a scheme would not mesh with their annual budgeting process, and the sums involved would be large enough that they would be discussed at a high political level, meaning that decision-making would be slow and the outcome would be in doubt every time.
It seems that the solution has to be some form of partial equipment replacement on an annual basis. Regional governments might be persuaded to replace 20% of their installed base of equipment every year, and to incorporate this expenditure into the budget automatically, in accordance with a formula established by law.
The Bibliomist team will be soliciting ideas from librarians and our other partners on how to make regular hardware purchases and upgrades standard operating procedure for Ukraine’s libraries and local governments.
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