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REPORT OF STAFF RETREAT HELD AT ETAL HOTEL AND

HALLS, OREGUN, LAGOS ON THE 2ND AND 3RD


SEPTEMBER 2006.

Introduction and Opening

The meeting started with a brief self-introduction by each participant.


Thereafter, welcome comments were given by Mr. Linus Malu, the
representative of PANAFSTRAG. He said that PANAFSTRAG was
founded in 1992 by some scholars, military men (retired and serving),
diplomats, etc. who stood up to the challenge thrown by President
Jimmy Carter that Africans should proffer solutions to their problems.
Since then PANAFSTRAG has been trying to live up to the dream of
thinking for Africans and trying to provide solutions on African issues.

He explained that the retreat was based on inward thinking to enhance


the capacity of the organization. That PANAFSTRAG already has four
(4) publications, while five (5) new ones are expected by the end of the
year (2006), all geared towards building on the objective of the
organization in view of its research based objective.

Other on-going projects are on Gun Control Laws in West Africa


involving nine (9) countries and another one in view is on monitoring
election violence in Nigeria.

He also spoke of the Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and


Sustainable Development Studies, Minna that is being developed to
become a centre of excellence in building minds for peace. He
explained that the harmonized conflict prevention and management
mechanism for West Africa.

It is also important to build the capacity of PANAFSTRAG staff on


elections in view of its numerous elections projects in anticipation.

Comments by Others

Arinola Bello, Administrative/Accounts Officer expressed delight at the


convening of the Retreat and anticipated that it achieve its aims.

Day 1 (2nd September, 06) Lecture Mr. Ayokunle Fagbemi


(Executive Director, Centre for Peace Building and Socio-economic
Resources Development)

Ayokunle Fagbemi explained that ordinarily, staff retreats are times for
sober reflection and also important for harmonizing organizational

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perspectives (appreciative enquiry), and are best done when all cadre
of the organization are present.
Activity Objective(s)

They include to:


o Prepare training materials, worksheets and exercises;
o Facilitate, make presentations and share field experiences as the
sole facilitator during the first day of the workshop; and
o Field questions and make clarifications to enhance effective and
qualitative service delivery, particularly on elections and political
processes observation and analysis.

Appreciative Inquiry and Corporate Identity Harmonisation

Appreciative Inquiry is about discovery of the best in people, their


organizations, etc. It is often not easy to do and when the people
involved are not skilled enough there seem to be witch hunting.
Appreciative Inquiry is a positive revolution in change and paradigm
shift. From the point of this shift, organizations and their staff become
the focus. The goal is in drawing from the collective strength, like the
Bible quote says: One shall chase a thousand and two shall chase ten
thousand. This shows the strength in pulling forces together.

Until one takes ownership of the process where one is, it is a challenge.
It is only when the individual accepts that there is change that it can
occur. It is also important to access ones achievements at the
individual and organizational, etc. levels, that should include the
positive personal and organizational inventories. Therefore, he focused
on the role of participants as individual catalysts in the scheme of
affecting the required shift for efficiency and organisational
development.

The 4 D Cycle

An important feature of achieving something is dreaming, because you


cannot discover what you have not dreamt of. One only envisions
results when there are some visionary constructions, which cannot be
done by the dreamer alone. However, it is only affirmative alternative
choices that would bring the vision to life.

Principles of Appreciative Inquiry

The following are some principles of Appreciative Inquiry:

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Constructionist principle words create worlds The languages
we use shape our realities, for example, decrees or commands of
military dictators;
All objectives or institutions are not perceived the same by
everyone, there are always differences in perception. For
example, to a hammer everything is a nail;
Inquiry cannot create change without asking questions;
Realities are created in a moment and there are multiple
realities, after which we need to clearly appreciate the poetic
principle;
Poetic principle we can choose what we study. We see
differently but the same things;
Anticipation principle - says that imagination, inspiration, action
and what we focus on (the pictures we see) become our reality,
for example, in past years in Nigeria our focus have influenced
where we are now;
Positive questions lead to positive change and positive change
brings out the best in people. In that way you are assisting them
in creating possibilities for themselves as well as creating an
exciting work environment that boosts their moral positive re-
enforcement. Asking positive questions when one appreciates
the other person would lead to a positive reaction.
Finally, positive principles create possibilities.

Personal Empowerment

What is our definition of leadership? The best of leader is one who


makes an alignment of strengths to make peoples weaknesses
irrelevant, for example, if I observe that someone takes notes well I
should take him/her along when going for meetings, etc.

Jobs are not just about the organizations but about you and me. It is
important that you must not be the weakest link in an organization,
because we work in the organization but most essentially, we work for
the organization, therefore, we must be the organization personified.

Finally, orientation meetings are important for new and outgoing staff.

Exercises the exercise 1 was on how to use our personal qualities to


enhance organisational results, Corporate Identity Harmonisation
Training Worksheet. Exercise 2 was on personal Appreciative Inquiry in
Teams How do you envision yourself realizing your goals in service?
Design your destiny How will you apply the positive attributes that
you have discovered about yourself to realising your dreams?

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Project Design and Management

This section was based on discussing the linkages between project


management and its various functional areas.

There is a major challenge on project development, management life


cycles conceptual study and organisational commitment because
many non-governmental organisations are donor driven, many people
move from one NGO to another and the in-fighting within the NGOs.
This is why we need alternatives, and once we can deal with these
then we will be able to make lots of progress and move to the next
level towards the stage of development.

This brings us to the 4 Ds implementations integrative project


management with other functions

Finance

There is need to incorporate the accounting and finance and the


budget aspect of the project proposal. It is also important to determine
what human resources and marketing that we need and how to market
what we have.

Programming

There is need to integrate project management with other functions is


necessary because it is inclusive and not exclusive. The completion of
one project may be the basis for initiating another project, for example
it may be based on the lessons learnt from the previous project.

The Project Cycle

The beginning of a project does not mean that achieving its objective
brings it to a terminal point. It may become a spiral of projects as part
of programmes. When this is done managing the project cycle
becomes less difficult. It is important to conduct mid term evaluations,
monitoring continuously throughout the project life cycle. Also
instituting a process and procedure as well as having a member of
trustee and a director to meet with the regular staff makes it easier to
manage the project.

Concept Papers and Proposals

Concept papers or note are usually between two five pages, while a
proposal is most often more voluminous. However, the major

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difference between a concept paper and a proposal is this, concept
papers initiate a discussion while proposals would gain approval of the
project.

It is important to have effective feedbacks on concept papers and


proposals and to analyze concept papers before submission to
wherever. When it is initiated by subordinates it is usually very difficult
for the project idea to be accepted /agreeable. But an important thing
to do is to have a periodic vision sharing meeting to be coordinated in
a rotatory basis, weekly activity review and monthly review project
design meetings.

Project designs include the following stages: the project design


includes five (5) stages and its related frameworks, methods and tools.
The entry into any place for a project is dependent on a lot of
information, i.e. entry is influenced by directives from information.

Stage 1: planning the project design


Stage 2: stakeholders (the beneficiaries, implementers and funders)
analysis
The aim is to do a proper role defining and continue to do a
power and
potential analysis to manage the stakeholders relationships;
Stage 3: assessment
Stage 4: strategy review
Stage 5: results framework

Logical Framework Approach/Log frame Matrix: its structure and


sequence as well as activities were discussed in relation with its
monitoring and evaluation, strengths and weaknesses, programming
responsibility and reporting.

Non-partisan Organisations in Elections and Political Processes


Engagement in Nigeria.

To engage in election monitoring or observation, it is necessary to


know Nigeria in relation to its size, population and its multiple political
transitions, noting the economic, social, political and moral issues. It is
also important to note that the country had been subjected to past
state-failure which led to the series of self-help initiatives culminating
in the emergence of civil society groups that campaigned against
military rule for the entrenchment of democracy and the current
seeming democracy. The role of elections as the medium for affecting
succession and regime change in a democracy is key.

Elections and Political Processes

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What should be considered in order to assess and determine whether
an electoral or political process is genuine and would contribute to the
effective sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. The critical elements of
a genuine and competitive electoral process are:

o A constitutional framework for representative democracy;


o Guaranteed succession and regime change by constitutional
means;
o Impartial electoral framework;
o Credible electoral administration;
o Informed and active citizenry;
o Effective oversight of electoral process;
o Representative and multiparty system;
o Inclusion of women and disadvantaged groups; and
o Effective and seamless transfer of political/administrative
power .i.e. smooth regime change.

It was generally concluded that some differences exist between the


two concepts of election observation and monitoring. The critical issue
of non-partisan organisations and the dynamics of the position of INEC
on elections observation and monitoring were also highlighted.

Some Tips to consider:

o it is important to do scooping and mapping of the area;


o the political undertone of Nigeria;
o not to be carried away by sensational issues; and
o as monitors work towards effecting change or influencing the
political process;
o Important to note section 46 of the Electoral Act which is critical
for issues of non-partisan organisations;
o It is important to receive and organise voters education;
o Document incidents that happen at all stages.

Pre-election Processes:
Have a checklist name, organisation, time the observer/monitor got
there, time the person left, etc.

Post Election Processes:


It is important to have a list of all candidates of all the political parties,
their affidavit should have been submitted, ensure that no one should
nominate more than one person for a political position, inspect names
of those that sign nomination forms, etc.

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Types of monitoring or observation:

o statutory monitoring;
o quasi-monitoring; and
o Observation.

Day 2 (3rd September, 06) Lecture - Dr. Odion-Akhaine

Odion-Akhaine described the essence of the workshop as geared


towards building the capacity of the staff of PANAFSTAG.

Understanding Management

He defined management as a process of planning, organising, and


controlling that leads to achieving set goals. The process of organising
involves planning and involves someone taking a leadership role to
achieve domestic harmony. It is important to note that organisation
decides everything if structures and institutions are built along with
men and women that are trained to back them, we would achieve
greater success.

Management means understanding the social relationships of men and


women and how they achieve organisational objectives and the
knowledge of the process of management itself.

Management evolved from the industrial revolution in the context of


the input/output relationships to achieve organisational objectives. The
rationale is for operational success to organise men and women to
achieve success.

Planning dovetails into organising to ensure the achievement of set


goals in order to curb mistakes that can lead to failure. While
leadership is having the skills to lead as a result of educational
training, experience, etc.

Controlling has to do with guiding the work process, and the ability
to curtail hiccups in achieving success. It is also about setting
standards of performance to measure individual aptitudes to correct
deviation.

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A manager manages men, women and resources to achieve set goals.
There are 2 types of managers vertical managers top down or
bottom up and horizontal or functional managers.

Theories of Management theories are important because they give


the basic concept of issues. Classical theories of management include
the following: the Bureaucratic, Scientific, and Administrative
management theories. And they are basically about rules, procedures,
hierarchy and division of labour. Many criticisms have been made
against some of these theories, however, it has been noted that the
new functional knowledge that abound can enhance the bureaucratic
management system.

In Africa, there are two concepts of public in relation to management


and human relations, they are the Public realm and Primordial realm
(family). The dilemma for Africa is that so much is imported from the
primordial realm into the public realm, for instance, bringing in many
family members to work for us or with us that make us unable to act
when they fault.

Scientific management focuses on the best work method to achieve


results
o Systematizing operational functions;
o Trying not to solely depend on one person; and
o The administration manager runs through the entire
organisation.

The Behavioural School recognizes that men and women not only
have biological and physical differences but also psychological
limitations that affect the social work functions. This school seeks to
understand the psychological aspects that enhance the job to cope
with other peoples limitations. It is considered a wide goose chase
given the complex nature of man, it is difficult to understand them.

The Modern school uses a system, interpersonal and group


approaches, while the Empirical school is based on existing
experiences.
But the System school treats organisations as human beings and
emphasises on the inter-connectivity of organisational functions, they
see organisations as universal no part of it exists without the other
with its component parts the organisation achieves stability when it
works well. This means that the functions of an aspect of the unit
affect the entire unit (equi-finality, feedback, boundary closed or open,
input and output, etc.).

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The Post Modern school focuses on the relationship between
people (human relations school), and emphasises psychological issues,
etc, while the Qualitative school uses mathematical models to
deduce problems. And finally, the Post Modern School uses cognitive
school knowledge based on getting information to enhance the
organisational base. It looks at marginal issues and how they can
enhance organisations to achieve results.

Project Management

The vision inspiration, dream, passion, etc for thing must be shared
by the project team. The visionaire is often the project manager, but
what if someone else besides the dreamer heads it? Does the dream
die when its not accepted by the team?

Choosing your team through effective decisions, the team is put


together to implement the vision. But it is important to have the
following in mind:

o be dispassionate about choosing your team;


o use basic standards of performance to choose your team;
o then set goals;
o make your budget;
o know that the budget most often is what influences the actual
project activities;
o Evaluation and management audit are important therefore,
record all work done within a week and self check, etc.
o How can we respond to researchers or project team members
that would not uphold the terms they signed on to?

Reports and Reviews there are various types of reports interim,


final evaluation, narrative, etc.

Important Areas in Managing Non-governmental Organisations


(NGOs).

o Building the donor constituency/opportunities;


o Fund development;
o Endowment development; and
o Research and development need for a well developed research
and development unit.

Accountability

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The two types of accounting in NGOs are Vertical accounting with
donor organisations some give you an accounting system to follow
with guidelines and report back to them, and the other is the
Horizontal accounting being accountable to the stakeholders
(people) staff, board, volunteers, communities, etc.

Programme Performance

Create scarcity or want to make people crave for what you are doing
and concentrate your resources on where the results are and build on
your experience.

Election Monitors/Observers

An election monitor is one who ensures that election administration is


ensured by consolidating democracy.

The Rationale preventing election fraud and building confidence in


electoral processes. Effective election monitoring makes election
administration to do the right things, checks, etc.
o It can address democratic issues;
o Mobilize civil society and helps to build networks;
o Contributes to improve meaningful and sustainable elections for
political development.

Significance of Election Monitors

o Elections processes are supposed to be very free and fair based


on the post cold war issues that brought about election
monitoring and observation to sustain peace;
o Mobilizes civil society for the consolidation of proper democracy
in uncertain political environments;
o Reduces election irregularities; and
o Ensures that officials report results honestly and everyone
accepts the results.

Duties of Election Monitors and Observers

o Checkers and watchers;


o Challenge voters for good courses;
o Educate voters;
o Ensure compliance with electoral procedures;
o Conduct operational duties;
o Observe each drops in the ballot box and leave;

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o Report irregularities early, within 15 minutes;
o Ensure that papers are held up after voting during the counting
process.

Prohibitions for election Monitors/Observers

o Need not challenge officials nor voters;


o Should not render assistance to voters;
o Should not leave their duty posts without replacement;
o Should know the voters list;
o Should be neutral and open minded.

Summary of Activities

The session discussed the definition and nature of the concept of


appreciative enquiry and corporate identity harmonisation as an
opportunity for paradigm shift and positive revolution in change. It
focused on the role of participants as individual catalysts in the
scheme of affecting the required shift for efficiency and organisational
development. The discourses further led to laying emphasis on
personal empowerment and organisational development for efficiency.

The participants were also exposed to general tips on programming,


programme planning and reporting for non-partisan organisations,
particularly as they relate to democratic sustenance. The issues
covered included concept note and project proposal writing; project
cycle, stakeholders analysis; stakeholders relationship, management
and results framework as basis for effective project/programme
monitoring and evaluation. The logical framework and report writing
were discussed.

Dr. Odion-Akhaine gave an overview of the concept of management


and its theories, project management, important areas in managing
NGOs, and elections monitoring and observing.

Observation

Mr. Ayokunle Fagbemi the facilitator observed that PANAFSTRAG was


not totally committed to the staff retreat, because the various tiers of
the organisation were not represented at the programme .i.e. its Board
members and management staff. Therefore, the full impact and

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information bridges that are logical consequences of a staff retreat
would obviously be lacking at the end of the exercise. Furthermore, the
corporate identity harmonisation module indicated that staff may not
have been subjected to any form of orientation at recruitment.

Lessons Learnt

He also believes that the staff of PANAFSTRAG like all other NGOs are
concerned with providing qualitative services, but require a lot of
capacity building in order to meet up with the challenges of their
mandate. Like most others, the staff will have to improve on their
ability to cope with the rigours of the in-depth stakeholders analysis
within a framework of appreciative inquiry.

Recommendations

PANAFSTRAG should be encouraged to create a staff orientation and


adopt continuous in-house periodic meetings to help foster corporate
identity harmonisation.

Participants should organise a step-down for other colleagues that


were not present at the retreat.

Follow-up/Way forward

o PANAFSTRAG should be encouraged to organise a step-down and


consider a session to harmonise corporate identity;
o And incorporate ideas and insight gained from the exercise to
improve their activities.

PANAFSTRAG,
LAGOS.

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