Introduction to Project Management
Participants during the project planning. Photo: Julius Rasat
Lack of information and knowing where to go or who to ask are just among the many hindrances that interfere with community development and service delivery. Through the Sauti Za Mtaa programme, community champions, artists and Mukuru Youth Initiative staff should be able to understand different dynamics of the project, how they should escalate some issues among others. This will be made possible through capacity building. The team will be having a 4 day training where they shall cover project management, leadership and governance, devolution and political and civic education.
On 9/5/2022, the team went through a project management training which was held at MuYI Hub from 9am to 2pm facilitated by Wilson Masaka from Wilsenx Initiative. Project management and planning are critical components of any successful project. Proper planning and management can mean the difference between success and failure, as they ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget and meet the desired outcomes.
The Sauti Za Mtaa 2 Project which is under Wajibue Wetu, Jumuika Sikika programme supported by ForumCiv is a programme that aims to strengthen community structures and stakeholders’ engagement and promote community-driven efforts by right-holders to demand accountability from duty bearers through usage of different forms of art.
From this session, participants got a chance and opportunity to learn the importance of project management and planning in achieving successful outcomes from any project. During the session, key concepts of effective project management touched on planning, communication, execution, budgets, monitoring and evaluation and emphasized the need for project managers/officers to take comprehensive measures and approach that consider various factors. In addition, the session covered the use of project management tools to help streamline the process and automate certain tasks such as Gantt Chart.
“Many times we tend to think that CEOs, politicians, directors and project managers are the only people who should be doing project management. We are all project managers since its all about having a plan, how to execute it and at times budget and activities involved”
By understanding these processes and applying the taught principles to our own projects, we can improve success on project implementation and deliver value to different stakeholders. Effective project management involves a comprehensive approach that takes into account various factors, including the project’s goals,resources, timelines, and risks.The plan should also include a budget,which identifies potential risks and mitigation strategies. It is a process that involves planning, organizing, executing and monitoring the project from start to finish. Proper planning enables the project managers to set realistic goals, identify resources required, estimate costs, and create a roadmap to follow.
Participants were divided into two groups by the facilitator, and given a challenge to design, plan and present at the end of the session. The two groups came with different and amazing project plans and management strategies. One group focused on mental health while the other focused on peace initiative. Through the groups presentations , the facilitator was able to pinpoint some of the gaps that were left untouched such as having a target group for your project, avoiding redundancy in a project, understanding measurable outcomes, what percentage should go to admin cost and understanding when to have miscellaneous.
One of the participants also posed a question on how he can handle projects that don’t cater for some of the essential utilities such as rent. In answering, the facilitator pointed out that its good to have many other projects that cater different utilities so as to avoid being caught in the middle of not paying them.
“It’s always advisable to avoid having miscellaneous part in your project budget. Majority of partners point this as a way of embezzle money” Nelmo Munyiri
Effective communication is also a critical component of project management. The project manager should ensure that every stakeholder involved in the project is informed of the project’s implementation, progress, risks and timelines. Regular meetings and progress reports can help the stakeholders be informed, engaged in the project and contribute to the success of the project.
Project planning is not just about having a plan and budget, there must be an outlook of what you anticipate to achieve at the end. Many times this is overlooked since we only focus on the big picture leaving out the people who should benefit from the project. Always have a plan on how you will be able to measure the impact of the project. With our community champions coming from different community based organizations, the training will go a long way in making their different spaces stand out in project management.