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Friday, 1 August 2014

Preparing for East Africa’s Single Currency

The promise of economic development and prosperity hinges on our integration’ – Uhuru Kenyatta

The EAC – formed of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda - is currently undergoing a bold integration plan with the intention of creating ‘a prosperous, competitive, secure and politically united East Africa’. A Common Market has already been established, the first stage of a scheme to allow citizens to cross borders using National I.D. cards has been implemented, and talks have begun with an aim to expand the EAC to include the fragile states of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

But, by far the most ambitious aspect of the EAC’s integration strategy is the plan to create a single currency for the region; a plan that was set in motion when the five heads of state signed an agreement to create a monetary union within the next ten years. So, will this currency union benefit the region or create problems? And what does the EAC need to do to make this proposed currency union a success?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

10 Ways to Drive Transformation in your Organisation

RIPA International works with organisations and public service departments from all around the world and one of the most common mistakes we see is a failure to adjust for the needs of change until productivity has already noticeably declined. By then the problems have taken root and rectifying them is both costly and time consuming. This is why we believe transformation should be a continuous process and leaders need to implement change before the organisation starts to regress. Think evolution as opposed to revolution.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Administration of Justice

"Justice delayed is Justice denied." It’s a well down saying although its origins are obscure. The sentiment, if not the exact words, can be found in the Magna Carta of 1215, clause 40 of which reads, "To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice." However some claim it can be found in much earlier documents. Wherever it comes from, it echoes through history as a key principle of judicial function. Martin Luther King Jr used the phrase in the form "justice too long delayed is justice denied," in a letter smuggled out of jail in 1963, ascribing it to "one of our distinguished jurists".

Friday, 9 May 2014

Water in Sierra Leone

Jim Brooks, a RIPA International learning consultant, has just returned from Freetown, Sierra Leone where he has been working with senior managers from the Ministry of Water Resources and other government departments to improve capital programming and project management  - a capacity building initiative organised by Adam Smith International.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Choosing between Education and Training

The words “education” and “training” are often used interchangeably, but it is important to recognise the differences between them. Both relate to development, but whereas educating is predominately concerned with knowledge, training focuses foremost on skills. Education is usually theory-based and broad in scope. Its purpose is to introduce the mind to a wide knowledge base and encourage independent thought. This is particularly effective amongst young minds, which is why many of us automatically associate education with our school days. Training, on the other hand, is far more practical and targeted in focus; often dedicated to the learning of a single skill. Put simply the difference is this: education is learning about things, training is learning how to do things.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

What is Capacity Building?

Capacity building is a term that has become synonymous with the field of international development and is a process central to the work of RIPA International, but sometimes we are guilty of taking for granted that the meaning of capacity building is generally understood. The World Bank, UNESCO, the OECD and Oxfam International all offer slightly different interpretations, whilst the UNDP describes their services as capacity development (1). These variations have created confusion as to exactly what capacity building does, leading to some suggesting that capacity building has become a buzzword among development professionals (2).

True, ‘the term capacity has many different meanings and interpretations depending on who uses it and in what context’ (3); but surely this suggests that, far from being a term without a purpose, capacity building is a crucial part of delivering effective development across a wide range of services and sectors. Almost all NGOs and Overseas Development Ministries carry out capacity building tailored to their own individual approaches. This is perhaps the reason why capacity building attracts such a variety of interpretations, as organisations with different objectives adapted capacity building for their own purposes. Capacity building therefore lacks a firm definition because it plays a part in such a wide range of development programmes and organisations.