From February 2nd – 17th 2021, the Association of African Universities hosted a virtual workshop to equip participants with the requisite knowledge to enable them better manage Higher and Tertiary Education Projects, which are funded by development partners.
Having the skill to excellently manage such projects is critical in ensuring that Higher Education Institutions build a good track record for themselves, and therefore enhance their chances of getting more grants and funding to scale up their current projects or to implement new projects for the benefit of their institutions. This is a key reason why more institutions are encouraged to get involved or participate in the next workshops that the AAU will organise on this topic.
The February 2021 edition of this workshop recorded participants attending from Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Lesotho. The sessions were facilitated by Dr Violet Makuku, the AAU Quality Assurance Specialist, and co-facilitated by Mr. Osondu Joshua Onwuzuruigbo, an experienced expert on this topic, who has managed several development funded projects himself. Miss Pamela Boamah of the AAU Workshops Unit also supported the overall coordination and organization of the workshop.
In the first session of the above-named workshop, Mr. ONWUZURUIGBO listed key aspects to be considered by any project Implementing team. These included, but were not limited to; Basic Project Documentation, Planning and Control, Implementation Drivers, Personality Catalyst and Project Closure. “One must have a good understanding of three important documents namely, i) the Initial Project Document (which include the Grant Request Proposal and Grant Negotiation), ii) Project Appraisal Report (the document that receives the final approval of the apex authority of the donor) and iii) the Grant Agreement (the legal document without which one can do nothing)” he added.
Mr Onwuzuruigbo also thoroughly took participants through some concepts such as the Grant Agreement, the Purpose of a Grant, Objectives, Implementation, Disbursement, Grant Amount, Recipient’s Representative, Closing Date for Last Imbursement, Commitment to Project, Resolution of Disputes, Anti-Corruption and UN Sanctions.
He further elaborated on certain threats to personality issues and these included – Time Management, Communication Skills, Record Keeping and Integrity. “They all have to be treated and handled carefully,” he said. He advised that Record Keeping and discarding of information should be done properly with some high level of integrity. “Do the right thing at the right time to help people achieve certain set goals,” he added. Summing up his presentation, he said that grants and development partner funding should not be regarded as free money to be spent anyhow but should be handled with utmost care in a fashion which ensures every cent can be accounted for.
Dr. Violet Makuku, the Workshops Coordinator, co-facilitator of the workshop and a Quality Assurance Specialist explained that since AAU is a non-profit organization whose motive is to promote African Higher and Tertiary Education to the highest level, fees charged for the workshops are meant to help maintenance and expansion of platforms, paying facilitators and making sure that good Internet services are available. This helps to offer better services to participants.
Professor Ehile Etienne climaxed the event by urging participants to continue taking part in the AAU organized workshops and events so that they become more equipped with knowledge and skills to help move their institutions forward. He also encouraged participants to make use of the knowledge and skills acquired during the workshops and share it with others for the benefit of themselves, their institutions and ultimately African Higher Education in general.