Step Up Wins HIVOS Contract to Study Open Contracting in 4 Countries

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Open Contracting and OCDS (Image taken from https://openprocurement.io/en/ocds

Step Up Consulting was awarded a research contract by HIVOS, a development organization headquartered in the Netherlands, to undertake a research project to understand how open contracting reforms and increased availability of contract data can be used to realize results and benefits for specific, historically marginalized groups external to government.

Step Up Consulting is one of the several firms considered to undertake the research but got the final nod of the HIVOS review panel based on the strength of its proposal and the quality of the composition of its research team. The research will be conducted in Kenya and Nigeria in Africa, and Indonesia and the Philippines in Asia.

For this research, Step Up’s team is composed of Michael Canares, strategy advisor, as research lead and Francois Van Schalkwyk, a long-time collaborator of Mr. Canares, along with Fiona Smith and Ana Brandusescu as review panel.  The research will run from July 2019 to January 2020.

The research, using a case study approach, aims to identify and assess ways in which key aspects of open contracting reforms did or did not lead to circumstances where open contracting resulted in increased equality and inclusion in public contracting processes. More particularly, the research would like to answer the following questions:

  1. How can open contracting reforms and increased availability of contract data be used to realise results and benefits for specific, historically marginalised groups external to government? 
  2. What contextual and programmatic aspects in open contracting contribute to achieving meaningful results and benefits for these marginalised groups? 
  3. What do specific, historically marginalised stakeholders experience as significant barriers/impediments to achieving the desired results and benefits?

Step Up Writes Labour Market Assessment for the Rakhine State

ILO reportMichael Canares, Strategy Advisor of Step Up Consulting was tasked by the International Labour Organization to write a consolidated report that looks into the opportunities and challenges of labour market development in the Rakhine State in Myanmar.  The report that Mr. Canares wrote, together with his team at Step Up was based on primary field work that was conducted by Synergia Consulting and Training and Myanmar Survey Research.

The report, entitled “Rakhine State Labour Market:  Assessing Assets, Projecting Demands, and Identifying Areas for Intervention” looked into current and projected demand for labour skills in the Rakhine state, quality and quantity of labour supply in the area, and potential areas for intervention to strenthen labour market quality and labour to industry matching processes.

Labour Markets Project Design Workshop for Indonesia

miko in action day 2Step Up Managing Consultant Michael Canares led the design for the Labour Market Information Systems exploratory workshop for Indonesia and facilitated the same last April 9-10, 2019 at the GIZ Headquarters in Jakarta Indonesia. The primary question that the workshop tackled was whether non-traditional data sources can help overcome information deficits in labour market development programs.

The workshop brought together policy makers from relevant education and labour market related institutions, providers of relevant data and technical experts across Indonesia, more particularly those in the food processing sector, the current test case. The workshop aimed to initiate an in-depth discussion with respect to the following overarching questions:

  1. On which basis are education and labour market policies currently formulated in Indonesia?
  2. Are the currently used data sources enough to serve as a basis for informed policy formulation?
  3. What are known data/information gaps that may lead to sub-optimal policy decisions?
  4. Can non-traditional data sources, in particular, data from job-platforms and social networks, be used to enrich the existing information base and strengthen the evidence base in order to allow for more informed policy decisions?
  5. What gains can be expected from the use of non-traditional data sources?
  6. What are the related prerequisites and the costs related to the use of non-traditional data sources?
  7. What process needs to be in place to develop a system of integrating new data sources to existing systems?

outputThrough intensive workshops and meaningful conversations designed primarily to harness different ideas, the workshop resulted to at least four experiments in the use of different data sources – big data, open data, thick data, and citizen-generated data – to be able to capture traditionally unavailable information that are critical to labour market decision making processes.

The workshop was sponsored by GIZ and was part of GIZ’s efforts to harness new data sources for development projects.

Step Up Strategy Advisor Facilitates LOGIN General Assembly in Bangkok

DSC_8511Step Up strategy advisor Michael Canares facilitated the Local Governance Initiative and Network (LOGIN) General Assembly held in Bangkok Thailand on April 2-4 2019 at the Renaissance Hotel. The workshop was attended by more than a hundred participants coming from several countries in the Asia Pacific region and other representatives and guests from Europe.

LOGIN is a multi-stakeholder knowledge network connecting state and non-state actors to promote a culture of learning and exchange on decentralization and local governance, more particularly in South and East Asia.  Organized in 2007, LOGIN’s members include government officials, elected parliamentarians, non-governmental and international organizations. It aims to capacitate local institutions in participatory, accountable, inclusive, and citizen-responsive governance.

Spanning 12 countries, LOGIN’s membership includes elected representatives, training institutions, think tanks, government departments, non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations, among others. It aims to capacitate local institutions in participatory, accountable, inclusive, and citizen-responsive governance.

Mr. Canares leads the design and facilitation of the 3-day activity.  He was joined by Suresh Raghavan of India as co-facilitator.

Step Up Strategy Advisor Facilitates ASEAN Workshop

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Supreme Audit Institutions (ASEANSAI) and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) held a joint conference last 26 February 2016 with the theme “Laying the Foundation for Future Cooperation in Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the ASEAN”.

The workshop was held at the Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel, Indonesia and was attended in by almost 100 participants from 14 countries coming from within and outside the ASEAN. Mr. Michael Canares, Strategy Advisor of Step Up Consulting was hired by GIZ to help design and facilitate the whole day event.

The event was spearheaded by ASEANSAI, a relatively young regional organisation of ten audit offices in the ASEAN region and supported by GIZ.  The event intended to bring together the three organizations  (ASEAN, ASEANSAI and AIPA) to explore more coordinated framework for future joint action and inter-agency collaboration for fostering state-society relationships in ASEAN, including efforts towards Good Governance, transparency and accountability.

Step Up Attends Workshop in New Delhi

india picStep Up Strategy Advisor Michael Canares started the year 2019 by attending a workshop on local governance in the Asian region along with other experts in the field.  The workshop was held on January 3-7, 2019 at Swiss Embassy in New Delhi as part of Swiss EDA’s program on local governance.

The workshop tackled the current situation of local governance in Asian countries, how learning and knowledge sharing can be facilitated across different local government units, and what enabling mechanisms are necessary to make learning processes across different actors can be made sustainable to promote local government development in the Asian region.

The workshop was organized under the auspices of the Local Governance Initiative and Network.

Step Up Produces Book on Natural Resource Management

nourishing book coverStep Up Consulting Services was contracted in 2015 by Soil and Water Conservation Foundation to document and publish into a book the natural resource management practices that its projects in Bohol implemented.

The project began with a participatory book conceptualization workshop that was facilitated by Step Up in order to define the details of the book, including proposed title, theme, concept, content, length, writers, among others. The intention was to ensure that the book represents the project, including the views of those who were impacted by it.

The book was finally completed with SWCF’s Executive Director Bill Granert writing part of the chapters and reviewing the whole book content.  Publication was done in the middle of 2016 and printed copies was distributed to SWCF partners.

If you want a hard copy of the book, please contact Marilou Sale at marilou.sale@steupconsultants.com.

If you want to read an online copy, please visit

 

 

Step Up Facilitates Center for Community Transformation Board Retreat

Board and Staff of the Center for Community Transformation during its Board Retreat.
Board and Staff of the Center for Community Transformation during its Board Retreat.

Step Up consulting was contracted by the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) to facilitate its Board Retreat.  The strategy workshop of the organization was held at the CCT Retreat and Training Center last 21-22 November 2014. The event was attended by around 30 board members of the big CCT Family and approximately 30 members of its senior management. The topic for this year’s board retreat is ‘mentoring’.  A resource person provided the overall context of the event, Mr. Peter Lees of Sharpeting Stone (Australia).

CCT is an organized Christian response against poverty and social injustice. This is carried out through the fusion of social development initiatives and evangelical mission in a uniquely Filipino context. It serves urban and rural poor communities throughout the Philippines, in pursuit of its desire to see changed lives, strong families, and transformed communities centered on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. From a single organization years back, CCT is now a group of 12 ministries or companies focusing on health, education, skills training, and spiritual transformation.

CCT’s board is composed of Christian businessmen who are at the helm key businesses in the country and engaged in property development, pharmaceuticals, car dealership, food and beverage, and retail supermarkets.

Step Up Managing Consultant assists LGSP-LED

Mr. Canares during a workshop with LED focal persons coming from the 9 participating provinces.
Mr. Canares during a workshop with DILG, program partners, and LED focal persons coming from the 9 participating provinces.

Michael Canares, managing consultant of Step Up Consulting, was contracted by the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED)  to advise on results measurement and reporting processes since September 2013. Currently, Mr. Canares is now on the final phase of the consulting engagement which will culminate with the preparation of a manual on measuring local economic development that local government units can use.

“The Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) is an eight-year (July 2008-July 2016) CAD $18 million collaborative project of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Philippines. It is implemented by a consortium of the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) acting as the Canadian Executing Agency (CEA). The CEA is working in partnership with the Philippine Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The Program purpose is to reduce poverty by strengthening local governance and supporting sustainable economic development. The Ultimate Outcome is expected to be improved local economic development for Filipino women and men.”(Dorotan and Frick, 2012, page 5).

LGSP-LED seeks to improve the measurement and tracking of local-level economic outcomes in the program, in particular those related to impact of the program’s activities on investment attraction, business formation and growth in enterprises (MSMEs).  Mr. Canares’ work was to assist the CEA in developing a set of indicators (along with the related methods for collecting baseline data, data sources for ongoing tracking, collection methods, frequency and responsibility) that could be easily tracked by LGUs and/or their private sector partners (chambers of commerce, local business clubs).

 

Step Up Helps Strengthen Internal Audit of Davao del Norte

ddn for websiteThe Provincial Road Management Facility contracted Step Up Consulting to conduct the capacity building activity for the Internal Audit Services Division (IASD) of the Province of Davao del Norte, one of its partner provinces. The engagement was designed to assist the IASD in developing and implementing an Internal Audit Plan for the identified  road rehabilitation and maintenance systems and processes in order to come up with an Internal Audit report with doable and useful recommendations. Step Up Consulting team was composed of Managing Consultant Michael Canares, resource person Marilou Bueno, and documenter Cleofe Ambulo.

As a result of the engagement the IASD was able to plan, implement, write and present the audit report on one of the key risks in local road management to the risk owner, the Provincial Engineering Office. IASD was also able to craft a simple audit recommendations monitoring system to ensure that auditees will comply with audit recommendations and improved internal control processes in their daily operations.

One of the activities of the mentoring process was an international online course on internal audit where four of the IASD staff members were enrolled in.  After the course, the auditors completed an online assessment where two of the staff members got a 100% rating in the examinations.

Step Up made use of a mentoring-focused approach where capacity development needs were assessed on a regular basis so that interventions designed will be able to sufficiently meet competency gaps and produce the desired outputs.  The engagement was conducted in April to June 2014 with a mixture of on-site and on-line mentoring. This was also the first time that Step Up used Facebook as an online-mentoring tool where mentees can directly ask questions from mentors and where files are shared and outputs are submitted and commented on.

IASD staff members appreciated the whole mentoring approach and the engagement was rated very satisfactory by the participants.