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Learning through volunteering: Drawing project learnings

Copyrights: Diogo Jurema and Alexandra Volkova

Learning through volunteering: Drawing project learnings

Part two of an article series sharing on-the-ground experiences volunteering with a sport for peace organisation in Colombia. This article discusses project-specific lessons.

As a result of our collaboration with GIP and gaining a deeper insight into the world of sport for development, we framed our learnings in three areas: project-specific, professional and sectorial. Project-specific learnings refer to our takeaways from the immediate collaboration with GIP; professional learnings encompass lessons in the context of international organisations; and sectorial learnings focus on the field of sport for development, including NGOs and international federations.

Project-specific learning: Defining a platform for continuous improvement

As we observed, GIP had two major strengths: their unique and tested 7-P Methodology, and their network of collaborators and active projects. The project management workshop we facilitated aimed to consolidate and formalise GIP’s organisational way of managing projects. The two half-day sessions brought the team together to align on a common and customisable project management framework, including the key processes and their corresponding inputs and outputs per project phase. It detached processes and practices from individuals and instead emphasised a system composed of interconnected and independent areas. The workshop led to discussions, process adjustments and confirmation of practices, and to the formalisation of GIP’s own project management framework adaptable to the situation and corresponding complexity; a collectively built starting point for continuous improvement.

GIP’s 7-P Methodology has been tested for 10 years with children and youngsters in areas of conflict and violence within and beyond Colombia’s borders. The methodology relies on the efforts of volunteer trainers who are given customised tools to work with their groups of kids. As we deconstructed GIP’s 7-P Methodology, we challenged the staff with questions about the management and impact of the methodology. We finally made an illustration to describe the 7-P Methodology and created a management system composed of a set of indicators, including expected direct and indirect outcomes for project participants and key stakeholders per phase of the project.

Rather than imposing new standards, we aimed to identify organisational assets and to facilitate a collective exercise of building on those assets. Both frameworks delivered – project management and 7-P Methodology management – were built in a format the organisation can continuously improve and adjust.

Coming next

In the next two articles, we will continue to explore our learnings from this experience with GIP and look forward to what we understand are important questions to discuss: the business model of social programmes in sports and the importance of resource optimisation in this field.

Alexandra Volkova has worked in sports for 15 years and has intense experience in broadcasting as a public sports broadcaster, in multiple Olympic Games, UEFA Club and National team competitions, boxing competitions and other events.

Diogo Jurema was the Head of Development of an Olympic International Federation responsible for the areas of grassroots, knowledge and international cooperation. He also implemented various consulting services for several IFs and developed sport event strategies for cities and regions worldwide.

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Diogo Jurema and Alexandra Volkova

Published

Friday, September 27, 2019 - 10:16