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IBI Conducts Leadership Workshop in Malawi

In September 2017, under a subcontract with World Learning (WL), IBI conducted the second of two leadership workshops for medical professionals who recently graduated from Masters programs, sponsored by USAID’s Malawi Scholarship Program (MSP) implemented by World Learning. MSP was designed by USAID to build the capacity of Malawi’s health service delivery and management. Under the project, professionals in public health, maternal/child health, neonatal, and reproductive health received scholarships to attend U.S. and African universities for their Master’s degree. Understanding that professionals need organizational, leadership, and communication skills in addition to technical knowledge, WL contracted IBI to design and hold workshops to develop these skills.

The five day workshop in Organizational Communication and Management covered Fundamentals of Communication and Management Theory, differences between Management and Leadership, Conflict Management, Effective Communication methods, Leader-Employee relationships, Organizational and Individual vision creation, and Strategic Planning, among other topics. Half-day modules on each topic used both theoretical and hands-on practice including case studies, small group discussion and role-playing scenarios, and individual work.

Building on the success of IBI’s first workshop, which took place in 2015, the IBI team used lessons learned and participant feedback to fine-tune the content of the second workshop. One of the main lessons learned is that, in this context, participants learned best when they engaged their peers in role-playing scenarios and preferred discussions of case studies. This structure gave ample time for participants to practice and refine the skills they were learning throughout the week.

IBI designed the workshop so that the participants moved from abstract material to hands on applications as the week progressed. For example, the first day of the training focused on theoretical content with discussions based in Organizational Management Theory and Conflict Management while the final days of the workshop focused on leader to peer relations, communication, and strategic planning. The participants then used this knowledge to develop their own individual visions for their work and action plans to carry them out. They came away from the workshop with a firm base of theoretical knowledge to draw on in order to analyze their own organization’s situations and ways to devise solutions.

Additionally, the instructors worked to provide culturally appropriate lessons and content understandable within the Malawian context. The workshop provided a place for the participants to network and exchange ideas with others in their sector. One of the participants commented, “I was able to connect with peers from other universities and I will be ready to contact them for ideas on how to execute my work.”

After the workshop, IBI received participant feedback that they exhibited new confidence in their abilities. Participants expressed a strong understanding of their new skillsets and new insight into their various management roles and responsibilities. One participant remarked the training, “Provided great insight, especially in helping me on how to fit personal developmental goals with organizational goals within the existing structures.”

Participants noted the importance of time and resource management and exploration into Organizational and Management Theory. Overall, the workshop was a resounding success. We at IBI look forward to new opportunities to provide training to emerging leaders in the developing nations where we are privileged to work.

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