Skill building is a process of developing, strengthening, enhancing and improving existing technical skills and capabilities at the individual level to enable them to eventually assess, adapt, manage and enhance performance independently. During this process, transfer of relevant technological knowledge, expertise, skills and capabilities to individuals is a key complimentary activity that enhances individual capacity.
A familiar challenge is most developing countries is the limited availability of adequate technical expertise to undertake development projects of large magnitude and complexity. Atethemis’ objective is to develop the skills and knowledge base of young, local professionals during the course of program development and implementation so that future program can be developed with increased local participation and diminished expat input.
Atethemis’ approach is built on two basic pillars of capacity building: Cooperative partnership and Mentorship.
Cooperative partnership: Atethemis expects our local implementing partners to be the main drivers and holders of the information that assist in developing the program framework for overcoming prevailing constraints. That said, our approach is one that puts our local partners at the center not as recipients of service, but in the driver’s seat of addressing their own concerns while we facilitate the process working alongside them. This partnership is maximized by observing, participating and performing while continually remaining focused on delivering the project on-hand. A successful effort here empowers our partners to take ownership of implementing future programs of similar scale and magnitude, and puts them in the direction of fostering growth and a step closer to self-sufficiency.
Mentorship – As facilitators of this partnership, we serve as mentors to foster an environment for improving performance through the various stages of a program. Mentoring is effective through observing and participating that allows for insights into constraints faced by our local partners (and thereby their young professionals), which otherwise might not be obvious; understanding these constraints helps to effectively facilitate the process for improved performance. Simultaneously, the young professionals benefit by learning from observing and participating and then honing their skills by performing alongside us, which offers us the opportunity to mentor them for improved performance. Mentorship is one of our key strengths for delivering quality improvement and performance, and a critical function for following-up after trainings to ensure full absorption and application of acquired skills as they put these skills to use. Time can be a constraint in providing effective mentorship, but by working alongside our young professional, we have been able to build confidence in them to implement learned skills and mentor improved performance through encouragement, guidance and incentives. As these young professionals raise their level of performance their input in the project will subsequently expand, which offers an opportunity to gradually diminish the overall expat footprint as we continue to guide the program team through successful delivery of the program