NIRAS marks two decades of designing and implementing International Training Programmes on behalf of Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
As 2018 comes to an end, NIRAS celebrates 20 years of close cooperation with Sida in designing and implementing the agency's international training programmes (ITP). It’s hard to believe NIRAS managed its very first ITP back in 1998 with a course on Watershed Management. At that time, the trainings were maybe more of the traditional kind, but they have since evolved into capacity development interventions, which comprise several consecutive year-long training programmes.
Many of the ITPs focus on environment and natural resource management, for example Education for Sustainable Development, Pesticide Management, Integrated Water Resource Management, Transboundary Water Management, Urban Water and Sanitation, Sustainable Coastal Development, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Strategic Environmental Assessment have been just a few of the thematic focus areas. But we also have programmes that address peace and security as well as media and democracy, among others.
Through the ITPs, NIRAS has worked with government agencies, civil society organisations, academia, and private enterprises in more than 60 countries with the explicit aim of strengthening institutional and organisational capacity for the sustainable management of natural resources. More than 4000 individuals have participated in Sida's ITPs, and the alumni engage in professional networks and continue to act as agents of change within their organisations, sectors, and countries.
Using the approaches I learned in Sweden, I have been pleasantly surprised by how we can create significant change in the way we do things in relation to our environmental resources and matters of community. To you all at NIRAS and Sida, thank you for planting a wonderful seed in me to impact the world.
For close to two decades, the goal of the ITPs has been to promote good governance; including transparency, access to information, integrated planning, and public participation; especially with respect to the sustainable management of natural resources. To ensure inclusivity, the ITPs are designed to incorporate a human rights and pro-poor perspective, and ensure that gender and equity are integral aspects of sustainability.
Change management and transformative learning is at the core of the ITPs. We provide technical training and expertise in combination with support for driving change within the participants’ organisations. Sustainable and integrated resource management calls for innovative ways of working and new forms of collaboration between agencies and sectors. The ITPs can be catalysts for mobilising action, and NIRAS is at the forefront in designing problem-based and adaptive approaches to managing change.
We continuously tailor our pedagogic approach to the thematic focus and target group of participants, but the professional expertise and experiences that the participants bring to the programme are always central to setting change processes in motion. NIRAS is committed to facilitating collaborative problem solving, learning and exchange, as well as supporting the establishment of local and regional professional networks.
Two decades may seem like a lot, but we hope our ITP journey will continue for many years to come.
Interested to learn more about the people behind the ITPs? Meet Karin Höglund, Administrative Coordinator for the ITP based in Sweden.