Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.
Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.
-- Chinese Proverb
I am frequently asked by people, what exactly am I doing in China, and what work am I doing at Project HOPE. Succinctly in four words: Capacity Building and Sustainability. What does that mean? Simply, I am working with Project HOPE China, in the Shanghai office to help them achieve a major milestone and move to the next level in their learning delivery goals. Project HOPE China works using the Train-the-Trainer model. See, Project HOPE China, could simply bring in experts from the West to do complex surgical and medical procedures, or, and this is a better approach, Project HOPE can bring those same experts over to China to train the physicians and health professionals and these professionals can then pay it forward by teaching another set of professionals and it goes on and on until capacity is built.
However, Project HOPE doesn’t simply train a set of health care professionals and call it a day. They could and they would have accomplished a great deal. No, Project HOPE ensures that what they are doing is sustainable, so that it can stand on its own and prosper. As a Pfizer Global Health Fellow, I am here in China for a limited duration. I can work on a project that will be akin to feeding Project HOPE a fish, or I can build capacity, aka, teach them to fish so that when I leave, Project HOPE can continue to grow/develop that skill set and institutionalize the program; that my friend is sustainability.
How do I do that? It’s not as difficult as you think. As a Global Health Fellow (GHF), I bring my expertise as a learning professional to the table. As a consultant I connect with my customer to understand their business environment, business goals and objectives. I then collaborate with them to help them achieve their learning goals. In Project HOPE’s case, the team consists of professional trainers who are medical professionals.
What I am helping them do is expand their knowledge of the learning industry by teaching them adult learning principles, concepts and techniques to create greater interactivity in their training offerings that will enhance learning and increase knowledge transfer. I am also working with them to incorporate a Learning Management System (LMS). This will greatly assist them with reaching health care professionals in rural parts of China, as well as busy health care professionals who may not be able to take a block of time off to take training. Making on-line training available to these professionals will build capacity and improve patient care.