Over 30 senior project managers from government and private institutions have been tipped on sustainable project management.
Opening a one-day workshop in Kigali, last Thursday, Jack Kayonga, the executive chairman of Crystal Ventures Ltd, said project management knowledge is the backbone of any business and urged participants to make good use of the workshop.
The workshop, themed “Project Management Master Class,” was facilitated by experts from the University of Manchester (UoM), Britain, in partnership with NPD, a subsidiary of Crystal Ventures.
“It is our pleasure to learn from UoM. Many projects fail because the managers lack skills and this workshop marks the beginning of the process to bridge the gap,” Kayonga said.
The workshop attracted top managers of engineering related institutions and departments, including Guy Kalisa, director-general of Rwanda Transport Development Agency,Eng. Didier Giscard Sagashya, director-general of Rwanda Housing Authority, Antonia Mutoro, the executive secretary of National Capacity Building Secretariat (NCBS), and other officials from Prime Minister’s office, ministries and the City of Kigali.
Joanne Jacobs, Senior International Officer at UoM, commended Rwanda’s commitment to capacity building and pledged continued support in empowering project managers.
“This project management master class applies not only to engineering but all to professions. It is very interesting that Rwanda has recognised the need for capacity building and there is a lot of work going on to address the need. So, we feel privileged and proud to support this effort,” she said,
Mutoro acknowledged UoM’s support in capacity building programmes, saying there is a serious project management gap in the country which is leading to the failure of many projects.
“For any project to succeed, there is need for managerial skills and commitment. We have a gap in project management and negotiating contracts is often one-sided in favour of the service provider. Project management knowledge is a cross-cutting need for all professions and we want to mainstream this training across all levels of administration,” she said.
“This project management master class is flexible at all levels and it is important to us doing project oversight and those who execute them. We want to start a partnership with UoM, to have more training sessions here, including training of trainers who can regularly help Rwandans in project management.”
Prof. Andrew Gale, Professor of Project Management at UoM, said the workshop drew on case studies they have been conducting for the last 15 years in different countries like UK and Singapore, to see how they can be applicable in the Rwandan context.
Prof. Gale said UoM will keep working closely with Rwanda in capacity building as one of the four countries globally eligible for UoM support.
“Most of the projects fail because managers fail to understand the project’s context, fail to work with stakeholders by not understanding that some stakeholders are hostile, or fail to understand how project success looks like, among other factors which can lead to poor project performance,” he added.
Felix Kwihangana, a lecturer at IPRC Kigali and a graduate of Manchester University, said the workshop was informative, giving glimpses at professional project management, adding that government should ensure regular training for project managers.
According to Jacobs, UoM has been offering post graduate scholarships to Rwandans from 2010 and the latest workshop was initiated by their graduates who are currently working at NPD.
Charles Lugira, the General Manager of NPD, said they are negotiating with UoM on continued on-job training, short courses and more scholarships for Rwandans.