• Nguyen Chi Hieu

Practical learning at the Grow Asia Country Partnership Secretariat Workshop

SINGAPORE - I was excited to attend my very first Grow Asia Country Partnership Secretariat Workshop, held from 27 February to 1 March, 2017 at the Grow Asia office in Singapore. The Workshop brought together Country Partnership Secretariats from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam with Grow Asia members and invited delegates to exchange knowledge and experiences to help develop Country Partnership plans and projects.

We were warmly welcomed by Mr. Grahame Dixie, Grow Asia’s Executive Director, before Ms. Jenny Costelloe, Grow Asia’s Country Partnerships Director, introduced the agenda and provided context for the Workshop. Secretariats presented their Country Partnership in terms of structure, working groups, partners and government support and engagement. These presentations were a great opportunity for us to better understand the other partnerships and learn from one another’s experiences. For example, I was surprised to learn more about the Partnership for Indonesia’s Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro), which is well established and supported by both public and private sector partners. Their success was inspirational and provided helpful examples of how I could improve commitment and support from our partners at PSAV.

We were also joined on the first day by Ann Florini, Professor of Public Policy at the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, who presented tools for analyzing different stakeholders and recommendations for how Secretariats can demonstrate the value of multi-stakeholder partnerships to these groups. This session was especially useful, practical and important for all participants.

The second training day began with a presentation from Grahame Dixie on the theory of agriculture value chains. The most interesting takeaway from the session was the interactive graphic which showed how agricultural value chains change as different industries begin to drive GDP.

It was excellent to see a visual representation of the theory and it demonstrated the need for new agriculture solutions to ensure that agriculture can continue to be a powerful driver of growth. It allowed all of the Secretariats to quickly grasp the concept and understand how to apply it to our own partnerships. Shang Hui Chia, Grow Asia’s Knowledge Manager also presented on Performance Measurement using a monitoring and evaluation framework, which can be easily adapted to all of the Country Partnerships’ current projects. During this final day, we also discussed how government engagement and effective communications can empower secretariats to better support partnership.

Personally, I found the Workshop very inspirational and it provided me with the skills and confidence to help me support PSAV to achieve our goals. The sessions and tools presented and discussed energized the Secretariats to continue developing Country Partnership plans and projects and forge strong partnerships. The Workshop was a good balance of discussion and sharing, enabling us to learn practical and tangible skills which we will now take back to our Country Partnerships to put into practice.

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