Professionals from the private and public sectors now have a better idea of how to put together technical and financial proposals to attract funding from international donors for the social and economic development and competitiveness of Barbados.
This is a result of their participation in a recent two-day technical proposal writing training workshop, organised as part of Government’s Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation. The workshop was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in the Lecture Theatre, 1st Floor, Warrens Office Complex, St. Michael.
The Human Resource Development Strategy is an innovative programme developed to help Barbados empower more of its people to better drive the country’s growth in a competitive environment. It has five goals; the first being to create an environment which is conducive to human resource development through strengthening institutions and building capacity. The proposal writing workshop was designed to help achieve that goal as the persons trained are now better equipped to put together effective proposals to be presented to the international community.
Facilitator for the workshop was Kirk Brown, a consultant in small and medium-sized enterprise business development, proposal writing, grant funding, project management, and environmental management. According to him: “The proposal writing workshop was aimed at enhancing the technical expertise within the public and private sectors, which are often inundated with requests to prepare and develop technical and financial proposals to secure the much needed funding from the international donor community in the form of loans and/or grants for public and private sector and infrastructural development.”
During the closing ceremony of the workshop, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Anne Reid spoke of the importance of public and private sector partnerships and said the BPSA was pleased to be collaborating with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs. She also said that the BPSA would be launching a virtual proposal hub through its website and further pledged the support of the BPSA Trade Team to the participants.
Senior Economist in the Economic Affairs Division, Bertram Johnson also spoke of the importance of collaboration. “We must leverage our established public, private, and civil society relationships in order to tackle together our shared responsibility toward sustained growth, development and capacity building.
We can do things better as we do them together. Let us therefore harness our efforts to ensure that we continue to secure the financial and technical resources needed to build our economy and society.”
In her remarks, Maureen Pollard, Project Coordinator of the HRD Strategy Programme Implementation Unit said that the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development (MLSD) was pleased to collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs to organize the workshop, the first in a series designed to strengthen the capacity of organisations responsible for implementing projects. “Under the HRD Strategy we receive several requests for assistance in developing proposals and the need for this training became even more evident with the launch of the Competency-Based Training Fund (CBTF), “she said. Ms. Pollard added that as a result the MLSD sought to provide technical proposal writing training.
Workshop participants were drawn from a variety of entities including the Barbados Community College (BCC), Barbados Council for the Disabled, Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, the National Council for Science and Technology, and the Small Business Association.
Better prepared to confidently write proposals
Roseanna Tudor, Operations Manager with the Barbados Council for the Disabled said she is better prepared to write proposals for the council. “The training raised awareness of what donors expect and I am much better prepared to confidently write proposals. Our proposals will be influenced by a lot more research. In the past we’ve been successful in our funding proposals but we haven’t had enough research done in where to find donors and who to seek so I am happy to hear what Anne Reid said.”
Dr. Samuel Miller, BCC’s Director of Research also noted the importance of research. “Most proposals fail because the writers haven’t done enough in-depth research on the organisation, the problem they are trying to solve, and how to convince the donor that there is a need. Our success rate with proposals should definitely go up because our plan is to offer similar types of training in proposal writing to staff. We have ideals, some of which are not properly articulated, so my intention is to go back and present to members of staff and come up with ideas on how we can translate that into proposals,” he explained.
Tracey Lovell, Administrative Assistant with the BPSA also said the workshop would help her association to better prepare proposals. “Sometimes some of our members or persons from the private sector come to us for assistance in preparing proposals. And now we have a greater opportunity to help them.”
For Barbara Parris, Principal of Erdiston Teachers’ Training College the importance of following instructions, that different donors have different requirements, and being clear and specific in proposals stood out.
Participants were tutored in: Preparation for the grant writing or proposal process, which included defining the project, identifying funding sources, acquiring proposal deadlines and understanding the importance of following guidelines; Defining objects or programme goals; Completion of concept notes and forms; Developing the methodology; Developing the logical framework; Conducting the situational analysis; Development of full proposals; and Development of the budget.