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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - New York: Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs
Title Piloting Training Tools in Liberia for Incorporating Market Assessments into Vocational Training Programs
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
URL http://new.sipa.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/WRC_FinalReport_07May2010_1.pdf
Abstract
This report details the partnership between a team of students from the School of International
and Public Affairs at Columbia University and the Women’s Refugee Commission, a nongovernmental
organization (NGO) based in New York that supports refugee women and
children through advocacy and research. The Women’s Refugee Commission and a previous
team of Columbia University students created the Market Assessment Toolkit for Vocational
Training Providers and Youth (hereafter called “the Toolkit”) in 2008, which helps vocational
training (VT) service providers gather information on market conditions in order to establish
programs that are responsive both to student needs and market demand.
In the design of the project the Team created three overall project objectives. These were:
? Find the most effective type of training and content that will prepare VT providers to
use the Toolkit
? Increase the effective use of the Toolkit in the Women’s Refugee Commission’s
focus countries and beyond
? Empower VT providers to better match demand and supply in the area of VT and to
encourage youth to participate in the process
Given feedback received on the Toolkit in the past two years, the current team of Columbia
University students (hereafter called “the Team”) was tasked to decide upon the best content
and format for training materials that would introduce the Toolkit to users in a variety of different
countries and contexts. After an intensive diagnostic and assessment phase the Team decided
to create both a DVD and User Guide to explain to users why the Toolkit was important, its
purpose, and how to use it.
The Team arranged to pilot the training materials in Liberia with the Norwegian Refugee Council
(NRC) and their VT program called the Youth Education Pack (YEP). The Team conducted
training sessions with YEP staff, and informational interviews with other VT providers during
their time in Liberia. The purpose of the field trip was to test the materials and to gain a better
understanding of VT in the country. The information gathered was then used to both inform the
improvement of the training materials, and to provide recommendations to the Women’s
Refugee Commission on possible ways to improve the Toolkit and how it is used by VT
programs.
This final report is organized in accordance with the different phases of the project, after
providing a thorough introduction to the client and the overall purpose. The first is the Diagnostic
Phase, in which the Team reviewed literature on adult learning and conducted informational
interviews in order to inform the format and content of the training materials. This led into the
Design Phase where the training materials were created in New York with the view of piloting
them and editing them further to include video, photos and information obtained from the field
trip. During the Pilot and Delivery Phase the training materials were piloted in Liberia, and the
feedback received led directly to the Evaluating and Concluding Phase. In this final phase the
Team took the information gathered during the field trip and applied it to both improving the
training materials and determining specific recommendations to improve and promote the
increased usage of the Toolkit for VT programs. The recommendations and findings that
informed the final editing of the training materials are also presented here in this final report.
Many of the recommendations included in this final report were decided upon after the field
travel in Liberia, and the interviews and pilot training sessions conducted there. The Team first
and foremost found that in Liberia there was significant demand for vocational training, and that
many VT providers were already conducting market assessments. However, though information
sharing is common among the different VT service providers, there is no standardized market
assessment tool in use among the multitude of organizations that offer VT programs. The
Toolkit would therefore be an important resource for every agency and organization, and if the
Women’s Refugee Commission positions the Toolkit properly, could play an integral role going
forward for all VT providers within Liberia.
With regards to the training materials, the Team found that the pilot trainings were a success,
and decided to replicate the trainings for future sessions conducted by any VT program. The
Team made an informed decision that having an interactive training conducted with a trainer to
teach the Toolkit is the most effective way to make it more accessible, user-friendly and to
ensure that it is used as intended. Thus from this conclusion, the content of much of the training
materials was designed to facilitate ease of use of the Toolkit and to allow for managers of
organizations providing VT to be able to train their staff and peers on the use of the Toolkit. The
Team is confident that the materials produced and the suggested revisions to the Toolkit
included in this report will address the barriers that previously prevented VT service providers
from fully engaging with the Toolkit. This will therefore further increase the use of the Toolkit,
particularly at many different levels, from the local NGO to the government agency.

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