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Performance Measurement Regional Workshop

 The International Trade Centre (ITC) went beyond the classroom walls to teach 15 participants about the importance of performance measurement as part of a high-level regional workshop. In fact, that they ended up in a wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Harare.

 Benchmarking News
 2016-03-07

The November field trip laid the foundations for three days of training for trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) in East and Southern Africa. It began with a presentation by Norman Aguilar Víquez of Costa Rica’s PROCOMER, the top-ranked benchmarked TSI, about his organization’s experiences. ‘The feedback was really positive. What we were most pleased with was that every participant said they would be trying out their new skills back at the office’,’ said ITC consultant Anne Chappaz.

 

The workshop participants, a third of whom were women, work in TISIs in Botswana, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Hearing about the success of a small, developing country’s export promotion agency ‘showed participants what they can achieve in measurement, and gave them something real to aspire to,’ said ITC Senior Programme Officer Pennie Hurndell, who along with Chappaz led the training session in the Zimbabwean capital.

 

‘Well done for bringing PROCOMER,’ one participant told ITC in feedback about the workshop. ‘The experiences of PROCOMER were real evidence that what the workshop covered can be achieved. All we need [is] to immediately take action and practice.’

 

Aguilar said the training not only gave him a chance to share PROCOMER’s experience with African peers, but also taught him a lot. ‘Everything about the workshop has been amazing both personally and professionally,’ he said.

 

The training was part of an integrated approach to support TISIs that are part of ITC’s Assess, Improve and Measure for Results (AIM) initiative. AIM – with its three-stage integrated approach of assessing an organization’s needs, implementing improvement solutions and measuring impact – capitalizes on a successful mix of good practices and technical expertise. The AIM for Results initiative, funded by Finland and Germany, builds on ITC’s benchmarking methodology, which has already been applied to assess TISIs’ performance in more than 40 institutions and 25 countries since 2012.

 

Hurndell and Chappaz organized the trip to the wildlife sanctuary precisely because studying something not directly related to trade promotion would ‘open their eyes on how performance instruments could be applied’. They described the experience as a ‘joyous expedition, but tempered with some hard work,’ that enabled participants to ‘experience the passion and successes and failures’.

 

The passion comes through in comments such as that of Elly Twineyo Kamugisha, executive director of the Uganda Export Promotion Board, who said: ‘You people made me feel anew. You really prepared well for the sessions – and trained us. You know your subject. Believe me, as I was a lecturer in a university and later management college, you do a good job!’

 

Working in groups, participants were instructed to decide on the best measures for the nature preserve. They developed an entire performance measurement framework for the facility, including linking input, output, outcome and impact measures and constructing a draft measurement dashboard. They then used this knowledge to do the same for their own organizations. Immediately after the workshop the group developed a Facebook page to share ideas and maintain the networks they’d established.

 

‘The knowledge gained has [made] me aware of how to identify and prioritize indicators that will make the most impact and measure those ones first. I expect to gain experience in doing this through continuous practice,’ one participant said. Another remarked that ‘the experience will help me assist others in my organization to understand organization mandate, objectives and function’.

 

Hurndell noted that TISIs that work with AIM are ‘getting more confident and more sharply focused’ as they discover what they can apply, become more committed and become ‘ready to take it to the next level of engagement’. Zimbabwe’s ZimTrade, for instance, has three of four critical elements in place: governance plus leadership; a strategy and core focus; and the right staff with the right skill sets. The next step for ZimTrade, with the help of ITC and AIM, is to put performance measures in place, Hurndell said.

 

‘Effective performance measurement is so important for a TISI, but it can be very dry to teach and learn. So we tried something a little different in bringing together several TISIs, bringing PROCOMER over to inspire us and in learning and applying skills in a new context. We are delighted with how it all went and it gives a great base for further measurement work with these organizations,’ she said. ‘We are already thinking about bringing this workshop to other regions.’

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