Building the Project Team

AGI Lessons Learned

Assemble the coordination team early on and make sure the team has the right skills for the job. The project team needs to be onboard in time to prepare the project. Retain the right people for the job with proper incentives and professional development opportunities. Draw on international staff strategically to build the capacity of sustainable national teams.

Ensure that the project team is supported within the institution. At the outset of the EPAG project in Liberia, for instance, the EPAG team created an EPAG Working Group (that met monthly) in the Ministry of Gender and Development to ensure that the Ministry's expertise and leadership helped the EPAG project to reach its maximum potential. As the project matured, the EPAG team helped form an Adolescent Girls Unit in the Ministry, enabling the institutional focus on adolescent girls to transition from an isolated project to a comprehensive long-term program.

Every project needs an M&E Officer who can help design the M&E plan and will bear the main responsibility for ensuring its implementation. The M&E Officer should be fully engaged in the very early project design stages and be one of the very first members of the project team to be hired. Select an M&E Officer with sound technical skills, solid familiarity with M&E concepts, and practical experience with project monitoring. The M&E Officer should also have excellent teambuilding skills so that s/he can help build a capable and dedicated monitoring team.

Remember to budget staff time for the behind-the-scenes work such as private sector outreach and alumni services. Liasing with the private sector, project alumni, and other stakeholders is important, but takes time. If possible, dedicate staff time to these roles.

Projects should create a high-capacity project team in the implementing agency, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for project staff. As much as possible, use local staff in the project team who can build project ownership and sustainability. Sometimes existing ministry staff can be seconded to serve these roles or local nationals can be hired as consultants for the project duration.

Key staff positions for successful projects include the following:

Project Coordinator As the project's central point person, he/she manages the project and ensures proper implementation of all activities according to the operational manual. Tool icon Liberia Project Coordinator ToR
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer The M&E Officer monitors project implementation and ensures that the data are collected to measure the project’s indicators. Tool icon Liberia M&E Officer ToR
Operations Officer The Operations Officer is responsible for operational and procurement responsibilities. Tool icon Liberia Operations Officer ToR

In addition to these key positions, some AGI pilots included additional staff based on the project's unique needs, as noted below:

Communications Officer The Communications Officer's job is to increase the project's public profile through the communications strategy and to assist the Project Coordinator with project reporting to donors and other stakeholders.

Tool icon Rwanda Communications Officer ToR

Tool icon Afghanistan Communication and Reporting Officer ToR

Social Mobilizer In contexts where it is particularly difficult to reach adolescent girls, it may be appropriate to dedicate a full-time staff person to community mobilization and outreach. Tool icon Afghanistan Social Mobilizer ToR
Private Sector Liaison Officer If possible, it is helpful to dedicate a full-time person to build and maintain relationships with private sector partners, with the aim of securing internship and job opportunities for training graduates. Tool icon Afghanistan Social Marketing Officer ToR
Alumni Officer Liberia will be creating this new position in EPAG Round 4. Once the project has established itself, an Alumni Officer can help promote long-term impacts by following up with graduates after they complete the project and continuing to assist with placement, referral, and advisory services. The Alumni Officer can also maintain a registry of project beneficiaries and organize reunion events.

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