The Leadership Development Program in Guyana: A Compendium of Successes
We aren’t creating leaders; we are uncovering people’s leadership capabilities and providing a path for them to put their capabilities into practice. (Joseph Dwyer, director of the Leadership, Management and Sustainability Program at Management Sciences for Health)
Designed by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), the Leadership Development Program (LDP) strengthens organizations by developing the leadership and management capacity of staff members at all levels. This program teaches strategic thinking and planning skills and gives participants tools which help them to diagnose and resolve problems. After the training, MSH or LDP alumni provide mentoring to help each participant maintain, strengthen, and practice their new skills.
The LDP was introduced in Guyana through the USAID-funded project, Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention (GHARP I), and is continuing in the second phase of this project, GHARP II. Over the seven years of implementation, the 235 project participants have included staff from health centers, hospitals, ministries, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
The first LDP workshop was held in Guyana in 2005 and interviews and assessments with LDP alumni have shown that many graduates continue to use the leadership skills they developed during the course. In one case, Loretta Angel applied the LDP strategies to improve service delivery at her NGO four years after she had completed the course. Noticing her organization’s under-performance, Loretta and her supervisor developed a Challenge Model which revealed that many problems stemmed from low staff morale and motivation. In response, Loretta initiated a number of team building exercises to inspire and stimulate the staff. “After we started using the different tools, everyone took their responsibility more seriously and began to work as part of the team,” said Loretta. With enhanced teamwork and staff ambition, Loretta’s organization was able to surpass their performance targets and today they are one of Guyana’s leading NGOs providing care and support services for PLHIV and OVC.
In addition to the Challenge Model, many organizations have also benefited from the LDP’s stakeholder analysis tool. Guyana’s National AIDS Program Secretariat, for example, conducted a stakeholder analysis which revealed that its staff members were working with the same stakeholders and yet some had developed strong relationships and others were experiencing challenges. In one case, the food bank manager had established a strong partnership with supermarkets but the person responsible for distributing condoms had been unable to persuade supermarkets to distribute condoms. As a result of this analysis, the team realized that the food bank manager could more effectively coordinate condom distribution with the supermarkets because of his strong relationships with them. The LDP tools and practices enabled the National AIDS Program to streamline its stakeholder communications and coordination processes as a way to strengthen the programs.
Another success of the LDP occurred when trainees requested that the LDP be incorporated into nurses’ pre-service training program. In response, GHARP II developed a training module and related curricula for incorporating leadership and management skills into pre-service nursing training. To ensure that the LDP is maintained, the curriculum will be formally handed over to Guyana’s Ministry of Health (MOH) for implementation. In its final year of implementation, GHARP II is working with the MOH to integrate the pre-service curriculum into the regular nursing schools curriculum and to train additional nurse tutors as course facilitators.
In order to measure the LDP’s many achievements, GHARP II conducted a survey with 50 LDP graduates from 2005–2011. Results show that 74% of graduates continue to use one or more of the LDP tools and 83% have seen improved teamwork within their organizations. Organizations have been using LDP tools to help them improve staff attendance, vaccination coverage, communication, and teamwork. Furthermore, 73% of respondents noted that they received strong support from their supervisors in implementing their LDP action plans.
Over the years, departments within Guyana’s MOH and some NGOs and private hospitals have contacted GHARP II to request leadership training for their staff. With the GHARP II project closing in less than a year, the team is now working to transfer the LDP to the local government. To facilitate this transition, GHARP II has developed an LDP alumni database which they will share with the MOH and regional health offices. These efforts create a starting point for the MOH to adopt aspects of the LDP and better employ the knowledge and skills of program graduates.