The most sustainable way to use BRIDGE is to incorporate (and adapt) the resources, trained facilitators, and methodology into the training unit of a client organisation. Such a unit may have to be created, or may benefit from being strengthened or restructured.
Working with an existing training unit
A Training Plan is vital. If such a plan already exists, it may be possible to tie BRIDGE into the existing plan. It may also be necessary to conduct a Training Needs Assessment. If this was already performed prior to the BRIDGE training, it may need to be reviewed, in the light of the training.
It may also be necessary to assist in the identification, development or strengthening of a training culture. Identifying a training ‘champion’ – who should be fostered and encouraged – could assist if there is a relatively weak training culture within the client organisation. Transforming an agency with deeply ingrained beliefs, values and behaviour is a daunting proposition. Whatever the training culture, close collaboration with the key personnel responsible for training should occur at this stage. Collaborative relationships with host country agencies, and other stakeholders, are a critical link to the success of training efforts. Where a training unit exists, a program of development or strengthening must be planned in conjunction with the relevant staff.
It needs to be acknowledged that training, like many forms of education, can have intangible results (such as psychological, social and spiritual dimensions and effects). This fact needs to be kept in mind when building arguments for the strengthening or reforming of training units. Decision-makers often rely on tangible, easy-to-measure indicators – and base budgets on this sort of data. Training advocates need to be convincing in their arguments of the benefits and importance of training.
Creation of a training unit
A training department’s establishment from scratch will mean working with an organisational champion in senior management and authority, and liaising with the human resources department regarding the organisational structure. The creation and continued relevance or maintenance of a training unit may be dependent on organisational priorities, stability and change, change in leadership, and larger transformation issues at governmental, political and regional levels. These things may well be out of the control of program planners and reformers. As well, all the above considerations relating to working with existing training units would apply.
Continued work with a training unit is a natural part of a sustainability process or plan following a BRIDGE projects, enabling the program organisers to work with the client in working through the recommendations of the evaluation report, further create rapport, trust and the continuance of good relationships.