From all the projects we have done at the GEDT, several major lessons on emerge across all kinds of projects:

  • A communication strategy should be an integral part of any project of any project plan, charting methods and timelines for reporting and feedback at all levels throughout the project lifecycle.
  • The Project Manager co-ordinates the planning and implementing communication between stakeholders and actors at different levels.
  • Roles and responsibilities need to be captured and communicated in a project charter of framework document, so that there is a guide for stakeholders/ participants can refer throughout the project (or use for future projects of a similar nature).

Other lessons learned include:

  • Initial high-level meetings to obtain buy-in for projects are crucial. Meetings will be repeated when necessary to ensure that all the relevant stakeholders are informed about the project. Failure to attend these meetings by stakeholders may have negative consequences, as the important stakeholders will feel ill informed.
  • Teachers need to clearly understand (i) how the project will benefit them; and (ii) what is expected of them. In project 5, for example, the schools at which this was clearly communicated and negotiated up front had successful outcomes. In Project 4 lack of clear communication about the nature of teacher involvement, available support and confusion around incentives to participate was identified as a key factor that undermined the project.
  • A variety of communication methods need to be used for different purposes and stakeholders, ranging from traditional reporting to different role player, to participation in district-level meetings for reporting purposes, using alternative media to stay in touch.
  • A proposed intervention may find itself competing against other projects aimed at the improvement of teaching and learning. Good communication of the aims and benefits of projects to decision makers and to the broad education community is therefore vital.  This factor for example, affected the LearnThings programme, which was somewhat, derailed by the timing of the government-sponsored SSIP projects. This situation may have been avoided through better communication and negotiation in the planning stages. 
  • Successful projects generally aim to have positive long-term systemic effects; put sustainable practices into place and be replicable. One of the key conditions for these things to happen is good management and communication of the knowledge, skills and practices informing the projects and resulting from the projects. Dissemination of the project results and knowledge management should form a part of the Communication Strategy.

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