Workshop on
‘Experience sharing and Capacity building of SGP partners’
19-20thSeptember, 2008
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

SGP India has so far approved 273 demand led and action driven projects. The project partners work in five different thematic areas in diverse geographical regions. Every partner have their own difficulties and also local solutions to it. These problems and solutions are sometimes common in many projects but due to lack of a platform to share these experiences partners start reinventing the wheel to find similar solution.
It thus becomes important to bring these experiences together so that the learning could be shared among each other. Workshops like this not only gives a chance to SGP partners to present and share their experience but they also get chance to interact with other partners doing innovative programmes and project in different areas. This way they get an idea on practical and tested technologies, methods and approaches which partners share between each other and later apply relevant learning’s in their projects. Through these workshops partners also come across projects which could be replicated in their areas and thus they get ideas to develop new and relevant projects required in their area, this leads to cross learning and replication.

After doing similar workshops in New Delhi and Bangalore inviting partners from South, East and North India, the 3rd workshop was organized in Bhopal which invited partners from Central and Western India.


  • Sharing ideas on the Principles of Sustainable development and concerns on project sustainability.
  • Sharing of experiences among SGP partners on the kind of works they have been doing and impacts created.
  • Sharing of plan of actions of new project partners and incorporation of successful action plans from old partners.
  • Updating partners on the system of documentation and reporting of project activities
  • Upgrading the knowledge of project partners on issues related to SGP thematic areas with special reference to Climate Change (CC) and Conservation of Biodiversity (CBD).
  • Familiarising partners and updating them with systems of Monitoring and Evaluation(M&E)
  • Guiding partners towards making linkages and partnerships with special reference to making use of effective technology linkages.

More than 25 NGOs partners from Central India UNDAF states and Western India, UNDP and CEE officials from SGP secretariat and regional teams, key resource persons from Government sector. Also Mike Wilson (Ex-Head NRM, DFID and at present an evaluator for the SGP programme) was present at the workshop A list of participants to the workshop is attached in Annexure I.

The two day workshop was planned in an interactive and participatory manner. Each session of the workshop focussed on one issue at a time. Each issue was first taken up by the resource person and the partners were made aware on specific issues. Then the topic was open for discussion. Each participant was asked to present their queries, strengths, weakness, difficulties, experiences etc. based on particular issue.
The second day of the workshop had discussions on reasons and indicators of project success.   


Day one- 19th September

To set up the tone of the workshop, before starting the workshop, a documentary was shown to the participants. The documentary was a good start to share with partners the reasons and indicators of a successful projects.The documentary was based on one of the SGP projects in Southern India. This project is being run by the Peekay Tree Foundation and the documentary was made and aired by CNN.

Mr. Prabhjot Sodhi welcomed the participants to the workshop and informed them about the methodology of the workshop.

Dr. BMS Rathore (NSC Member and Senior Advisor, Winrock International India) informed participants about the purpose of the workshop. Mr. Rathore told participants that in the two day workshop we should do focussed discussions to come out with substantial results.
Mr.Anil Arora (Programme officer, UNDP) welcomed participants on UNDPs behalf and apart from informing the participants about the role of UNDP in the Small Grants Programme he laid emphasis on various other points essential for project success and sustainability.
*Below given are some main points put forth by Mr.Arora -

  • How UNDP views SGP programme and the role of NGOs and that this Workshop should be treated more as a "problem solving" and a "learning platform" rather than the NGOs being at the receiving end as far as information feeding is concerned.
  • Details of SGP programme v/s. UNDP's CPAP
  • He informed about SGP's Inception in India, the involvement of the NHI and the present portfolio of projects (completed and ongoing projects), the funding pattern from the beginning till the year 2004 and from 2005 onwards when SGP started receiving almost US $1 million a year.
  • The co-funding role of UNDP and the participation of MoEF in the form of up-scaling of projects were explained. 
  • The participants were informed as to how to leverage partnerships and links at local, central and state levels and how to collaborate activities and funds from other sources.
  • The geographical coverage and the penetration of SGP in hilly, un-reached and marginalized communities were explained.  They were also informed of the importance of involvement and empowerment of women in the projects and how UNDP values them, and also that the women should have no disparities in wages compared to men which should be kept in mind for the sanctioned SGP projects.
  • The thematic area-wise distribution of projects was explained and partners were informed that during the later sessions we should generate a discussion as to how can we focus more on climate change projects and as  how to assess the carbon emission in their projects.
  • The details of co-funding accessed over the previous projects was also explained to the participants.
  • They were informed that SGP supports Pilot/Demo type, demand-led innovative projects and that they should bring in innovations in their projects which could be replicable elsewhere.
  • They were informed to bring in backward/forward linkages and integrated strategies into the projects with full community ownership and participation.
  • The participants were informed about the knowledge management initiatives that are in place, i.e. SGP-India website, SGP network, UNDP Global EE Practice Network, publications, brochures, posters, and booklets and how to make use of them.   The NGOs can write to Mr. Sodhi and to UNDP in case they need experiences from anywhere in the world in their practice area.
  • They were asked to develop Success Stories, Case Studies, Articles and papers on projects which can be shared with UNDP and these can be placed on "UNDP Newsletter".
  • They were informed that SGP and UNDP focuses very strongly on information/knowledge sharing at local, national and even at regional level.   In case any NGO wishes to make use of some facilities for learning they should bring out the issues and UNDP will review to arrange for exchange programmes.
  • They were informed to place strong attention to advocacy initiatives as it is noticed that many NGOs do great work but do not report well - they were asked to take assistance from CEE in case they have problem in writing or expression in English language. 
  • The UN system's UNDAF approach was explained and since most of these States fall in Western and Central Region, the NGOs were asked to integrate their activities in the UNDP's regular work if they are associated with any of UNDP’s existing Core activities.
  • They were asked to advise UNDP in case they feel any problems are encountered while interacting with NHI or the areas where the NHI's role can be strengthened.
  • He told that SGP is the only project of UNDP where we deal directly with NGOs and the fund disbursement is also done directly to NGOs.  UNDP expects their full support to make this as a "Peoples Programme" by establishing best practices and by bringing in systematic approach to activities.

Mr. Jitendra Aggrawal, a senior IFS official from Madhya Pradesh stressed that NGOs should establish links with the government schemes. The NGOs have their own power and the good work has no boundaries.  They should expand their horizon and provide solutions and finding funds from donors/government will not be a problem.  The relationship should be value-based and there will be no dearth of supporters. He also introduced the partners with the MPRLP (Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihood Programme).

Mr. Mike Wilson, the DFID Consultant who is being engaged by SGP to do evaluation of projects spoke on the role of technology in the SGP projects. He informed that the technology is not a solution but regular advancements in technology are needed wherein the people involved with technology are more important than the technology itself. The selection of appropriate technology and its adaptation by community is the need - the communities should determine for themselves the demands and what do they expect to fill the gaps rather than somebody giving them the top-down agenda. He said that technology should be directly linked to livelihood.  

-Session I:
Issues related to Climate Change

After listening to all the resource persons participants got an overview of the kind of sessions ahead. This lead to opening of the sessions and the first session on climate change started with the presentation of Mr.Sodhi.
Mr.Anil Arora was invited to chair this session. Mr.Arora said that UNDP is working on large Green House Gas(GHG) emission reduction projects and UNDP need partner’s support in assessing the potential and working on smaller Climate Change(CC) related projects in their area. 

Dr.BMS Rathore informed participants on what is climate change and what type of projects fall under the thematic area of climate change.
Mr. Ajit Saxena advised the NGOs to do mapping of areas which affect climate change and create awareness on CC in their neighbourhood. He also said that training on CC issues is also important.  

Mr. Shyam Bohre informed that the climate change is happening fast and hence fast response is needed. He suggested participants to understand the linkages between project activities and climate change mitigation factors.
After the discussions 8-10 NGO partners realized and informed that they were already addressing the issues of climate change in their work. They were advised to also link biodiversity related activities to climate change.  Many NGOs did not even know that the work they were doing on biodiversity was indeed helping in GHG emission reduction.  They were informed as to how they should assess the carbon emission calculations.  They were informed that if they have any problem in calculating the GHG emission reduction they should advise the volume of activities and Mr. Sodhi will do the calculation on the tonnage of GHG emission reduction done in their projects. This information is absolutely essential for reporting back to GEF Headquarter on regular periodicity.  While sharing experiences one of the NGO partner came up with contacts of Suryabijli Foundation- who is working in the area of Solar Energy technologies, it was suggested to partners to make linkages with such bodies while doing energy projects.  

Summing up this session partners were suggested to identify Climate Change activities in their projects and document it properly in the report.   

-Session II
"Leveraging Resources and creating links with stakeholder

The session focussed on issues related to co-financing. A presentation was made on -what the resources mean and how they can be reported in the Reports.  Partners were made aware that help in terms of finance, labour, skills of all types, technology support, space support etc. all could be  added to the projects as a part of co-funding.  Several questions were raised as to what work/support they are bringing to the project could be a co-funding.  NGOs came up with specific examples as how, how much and what type of Co-funding they have received from various sources like, community, institutions, organizations, government, private sector etc. NGOs said that the funds received from other partners bring ownership by the participating institutions and should be clubbed with the project.  The labour by the community should be strongly encouraged. The SHG kitty, bank finances and subsidies should be accessed as much as possible. 

-Session III
“Monitoring and Evaluation”

Ms. Alka Parikh, Regional Coordinator, Centre for Environment Education(CEE) gave a presentation on Monitoring and Evaluation.  The focus was more on identification of indicators and capacity building of NGO staff to analyse indicators.  They were asked to make provision for training on impact assessment in their budget.   If they interact with any NGO, it is the communities who should speak to the expert as no body other than the communities can inform what the impacts are and how to measure them.  In many cases, if the community ownership emerges, it is the community who evaluates the work of NGOs.  The NGOs should design their systems in a manner that the outputs of their progress should be defined in a manner that they are clearly measurable. 

The NGOs were advised that they should shun the language-shyness as it should not be a barrier in their work.  They were informed that we are with you to learn from you and that they should clear whatever doubts they may have. 

With session III, the day I programme came to an end and the participants were briefed on the programme for the next day.

Day Two- 20th September

-Field visit to Central Institute for Agricultural Engineering (CIAE)

 The visit focussed on giving exposure to project partners to know, learn and adopt relevant, simple, easy to use agricultural technologies in their projects.

During the visit participants were accompanied by Mr. Prakash.P.Ambalkar (technical officer CIAE, Bhopal.) At first Mr. Prakash introduced the institute to the participant and gave an overview about the kind of work being done by the institute. He said that institute is doing various R&D in agricultural technologies and is coming up with farmer friendly technologies. He said that machinery needs to be changed as per geographical area, field condition farmer’s requirement etc. and at CIAE such successful and farmer friendly technologies are displayed. These are time saving, cost effective, need based technologies. CIAE also offers fixed as well as tailor-made training programmes. He said that CIAE has displayed a range of machinery ranging from Rs.1000-70,000 and even as high as Rs.3-4 lakh. During the visit partners also shared their experiences and claified with Mr. Prakash and got to learn new things,  

-Session IV
Project success-Reasons and indicators”

This session was chaired by Mr.Shyam Bhore. He briefed the participants on the objective of the session and asked each of them to come up with points on below given issues-

  • What are the reasons of success of projects?
  • What are the indicators of success?

Each participant came up with various reasons and indicators of project’s success.

Few points made by participants are given below-

  • Rapport, Trust and Community cohesivity developed in projects. Vision and a common understanding between range of socio economic communities focussed and developed in Projects from the start. Communities involved in planning, implementing and monitoring actions.
  • Proper need assessment of the people’s priorities in a range of issues, using more participatory approaches eg. Participatory rural appraisals (PRAs) promoting localised vision of work plans in a more holistic manner.
  • Use of the ‘participatory micro planning, (PMP) approach’, (eg village entry, informal regular-periodic village meetings, record keeping of the agreements in the meetings at the SHG levels, discussions, PRAs and related participative methodologies using the community problem analysis tool with communities, discussing and negotiating community priorities). The micro planning approach needs to be taken up in the context as ‘local area based exercises’ which clearly lead to developing ‘village work plans, (VWPs)’. These VWPs, are prioritising the community needs with special focus to poverty and gender.
  • Informal, issue based, self help groups (SHGs), forest groups, irrigation groups etc. as institutions to be developed in projects. The groups can be male, female and mixed and the agenda not imposed rather participatory in nature. Encourage regular meetings and proper documentation of decisions.
  • Alternate livelihood options to be encouraged through SHGs for its members. Sharing and local initiatives to be encouraged. Non members not to be encouraged for actions in villages.
  • SHGs encouraged to meet credit needs of poor through common decision making processes. Timely and cheap interest encourages more regular savings and links to banks for the schemes and access to more working capital.
  • Increased participation of community (including women) in all project activities addressing both practical and strategic needs.
  • Timely completion of actions/activities in the project. Constant and regular monitoring of the activities by the NGO and the communities.
  • Enhance the skills and capacities of a range of community volunteers-resource grass root persons, (including both men and women) to plan, implement, manage and monitor resources and activities according to the village work plans. (1-8 months in the program, continual in nature and regularly enhancing during the project period).
  • Developing a long term vision within the project actions, with communities sharing costs, decisions and responsibilities.
  • Building community skills, capacities particularly in management and operations of the accounts for actions maintaining clarity and transparency in actions.
  • Ensure that during the project timeline/cycle a problem solving ability is developed in a range of people, ensuring a gender balance.
  • Lateral spread of technologies, which are easy to adopt and manage; low cost; ensuring community and individual benefits.
  • Communities enhanced incomes lead to a reduced migration and equity in both access of benefits and increased capacities, in particular with women and the poor.
  • Enhanced quality of life for all socio economic categories of people in the project areas. No universal approaches will be encouraged, however the possible options and reasonableness that the communities lead to doing rather than getting the activities/subsidies.
  • Regular Co-financing is encouraged within project actions both in terms of in kind and in cash. Linking SHGs with co-financers and establish livelihoods for them.
  • Constant efforts to Influence on policy at all levels within the system and in particular with the governments and donors at local/state/central levels.
  • Increased benefits and beneficiaries through a more systemic replication and scaling up strategies.
  • A more business model approach ensuring stable profits, especially in livelihood enterprise projects. Efforts to link the markets, ensure quality of products and timely and regular supply/production. Ensure better value additions in products and raw materials in villages.
  • Ability of the community to constantly over longer time periods, handle and maintain physical assets through project actions
  • Regular and timely Exposure, Training and Capacity Building of communities in a range of actions.
  • Conservation of local varieties and establishing market linkages  
  • Involve the community from the beginning, clarity of concept is important, make proposals with the community
  • Provide Alternate livelihood options (especially in case of forest/biodiversity conservation)
  • Linkages with private sector for both conservation practices and  livelihoods
  • Involvement of youth and women in education, health and related issues through other partners, including government.
  • Identification of local resources and generation of livelihood based on the same Develop a more self critical, open and responsive approach in projects. What are participatory approaches, tools and methods in natural resources management which promote community confidence building?
  • Identify and understand the roles and skills required of management partners for participatory resources management.
  • Build on the traditional knowledge systems and practices to ensure and encourage community benefits.

-Session V
“Long Term Project Sustainability”- Mike Wilson

After a long discussion on reasons of successful projects, Mr. Mike Wilson talked on the topic of long term project sustainability. After listening to all the participants for two days and knowing the ground realities Mike came up with some very relevant and specific points which he felt is very important to achieve sustainability in projects. Few points which Mike emphasized on is given below-

  • Sustainability is a broad rage of activities and there are 2-3 things which is crucial for attaining sustainability-
  • Building trust and confidence among the community or representative of the community.
  • Innovation in projects
  •  Money Management (saving schemes etc..)
  • Problem solving ability

Mike also answered various queries put-forth by the participants.

Vote of Thanks

After Mike’s session, Mr. Kapil (CEE, Central) thanked participants on behalf of the SGP. He summed up the discussions happened in the past two days and emphasized that the partners should make more and more linkages with Government schemes and also make use of existing laws, specially the Forest Act.
He requested all the participant to develop a brochure on impacts created by the project. He guided all participants as how to develop such brochure.
The partners were also asked to make a two page note on what are the activities in their projects which could be linked to climate change and they were asked to send this note within 1-2 day.

 Outcome of the workshop

  • Partners working in different geographic and thematic areas came to know each other and also shared experiences, issues and local solution to some common problems.
  • Partners got to understand more clearly, the role of GEF, UNDP, CEE and MoEF in the Small Grants Programme
  • They got more aware about generating co-funding, making linkages and building partnerships
  • Clear understanding of activities which could be linked to various thematic areas specifically Climate Change related.
  • Importance of documentation and reporting was clarified
  • Clear understanding of M & E formats and procedures
  • Direct interaction with the representative from UNDP, and clear understanding on the expectation of the funding agency from project partners
  • Exposure to latest, simple, easy to use, farmer’s friendly technologies available with the CIAE, Bhopal. Partners already started making linkage with the institute for availing facilities.