analytical skills training programme (astp)

Kyrgyzstan May 2002 – February 2003
Delivered by the INTRAC Central Asia Programme
An Overview of ASTP
INTRAC Bishkek Office : 107 Kievskaya St., Bishkek 720001 Tel. (996 312) 611402
INTRAC The International NGO Training and Research Centre
INTRAC is a UK-based organisation providing training, consultancy and research
services to organisations involved in international development and relief. INTRAC’s
goal is to improve civil society performance by exploring policy issues and by
strengthening management and organisational effectiveness. The organisation has
been working in Central Asia, and in the Kyrgyz Republic in particular, since 1993,
and is currently half-way through a 3-year Programme of activities funded by the
British Department for International Development.
Analytical Skills Training Programme – background information
As part of INTRAC’s current institutional development programme for Central Asia
Civil Society, we are running a pilot modular training programme, in Kyrgyzstan,
designed to enhance NGO capacities for research and analysis. It is hoped that one
of the longer term benefits of such a course is the improved capacity for NGOs to
engage in policy-shaping debates and processes.
This course began in May 2002 and the fifth and final module of the course will be
delivered in February 2003. There are 23 participants on the course, representing
the NGO sector in all oblasts of Kyrgyzstan, with two participants from Tajikistan.
The lead trainer is INTRAC’s own Director of Research, David Marsden, assisted by
other international INTRAC personnel and several local facilitators. The
administration of ASTP is jointly managed by INTRAC and a Bishkek-based NGO,
‘Tree of Life’ Human Development Centre.
ASTP Objectives
During the opening sessions of the first module participants engaged in discussions
reviewing the objectives of the course. These were summarised as follows :
Learning of new skills
Increasing of competence to conduct research
Re-thinking what ‘analysis’ means
Enlarging the research agenda
Opening up new ways of thinking
Exposure to different world views
Creating more ‘questioning’ approaches
Gaining exposure to development practices
Building Civil Society Organisation networks in pursuit of the above
ASTP Course Outline
Policies aimed at strengthening the role of Civil Society (CS) require the development
of analytical skills as well as organisational and management capacity. Analytical
skills have traditionally been the monopoly of research institutions and have been
largely associated with the formal acquisition and implementation of discrete
research tools, whether quantitative or qualitative. The results of particular research
programmes have not readily provide policy-relevant information that people can
easily utilise. Neither have they provided a cohort of critical and informed analysts
who can guide programme development and constructively engage with government
and other actors in the pursuit of comprehensive poverty reduction strategies that are
both accountable and transparent. Through a series of five modules, INTRAC
provides a framework and a basis for the development of broad analytical skills
amongst civil society actors. INTRAC is working within the emerging NGO sector to
strengthen the critical thinking and analytical skills of development practitioners in the
pursuit of more effective, poverty-focused and transparent programmes aimed at
empowering communities and achieving more sustainable development outcomes.
Given the wide availability of information about particular research methods and tools
available in statistical offices and in academic and research institutions, the course
chooses to stress non-quantitative analytical methods. These have been associated
centrally with the pursuit of more participatory development outcomes, and thus
require different competencies. INTRAC offers training that will enable participants to
develop and critically utilise socio-economic analyses and assessments, and thereby
engage more effectively with policy makers in the pursuit of more equitable,
sustainable and inclusive development outcomes. The aim throughout is to integrate
research with capacity building in an applied way.
Module 1 – The changing local and global context - provides a basis for thinking
about current key social development issues (empowerment, inclusion, sustainability,
accountability, globalisation, decentralisation) and situates current debates about
participatory poverty reduction, and about maturing civil society organisations in the
contexts and the cultures of Central Asian Societies. It focuses, inter alia, on
changing understandings of risk, on the links between macro policies and micro-level
outcomes, on changing issues associated with environment, employment,
governance and gender, and on the significance of indigenous and autonomous
development strategies. It pays particular attention to the non-income dimensions of
poverty and to the most appropriate strategies for appropriately targeting
development projects and programmes.
Module 2 – Encouraging Participatory Processes – provides an overview of how
participatory methods have evolved and an analysis of best practice from different
parts of the world. It gives focus on the uses, abuses and limits to participation and
on different ways in which citizen involvement can, question established practices,
enhance delivery systems, improve information flows and encourage more demandled strategies for community driven development.
Module 3 – A focus on Poverty – looks at the non-income dimensions of poverty
and link the evolution of concerns about more participatory processes to analyses of
institutional development and to changing notions of social development in the
context of cross-disciplinary enquiries and right-based development models that
stress the development of sustainable livelihoods. It focuses on the analyses of
systems for more equitable delivery of benefit streams and on ways in which
traditional poverty analyses can be married with more participatory poverty
monitoring techniques. The emphasis being on making the production of Poverty
Reduction Strategies more participatory and more inclusive, and on techniques for
more participatory budget analyses.
Module 4 – The development of appropriate learning, monitoring and
evaluation systems – provides an analytical review of various forms of monitoring
and evaluation. It centres on the importance of measurement and of ways of
combining qualitative with quantitative techniques. It aims to provide an
understanding of current thinking about the measurement of the non-income
dimensions of poverty (empowerment, social capital, inclusion, sustainability,
institutional capacity) and about the problems and prospects of identifying and
utilising appropriate indicators and of focusing on impacts and outcomes rather than
inputs and outputs. It examines the ways in which M&E systems can be used as the
bases for enhancing quality and building ownership, through such things as social
audits. And examines the ways in which various values can be negotiated and
different stakeholder interests may be incorporated in the design of development
projects and programmes.
Module 5 – An analysis of the various analytical tasks undertaken by different
participants and a review of lessons learnt – provides an opportunity for the
participants to present the results of their independent pieces of work. These have
been identified early in the course and build on skills learnt during the course that
attempt to combine analysis with written outcomes and dissemination efforts. The
module will be interactive and participatory and will involve the participation of noncourse members in critical review of outcomes.
For further information about ASTP or INTRAC’s Programme in Central Asia please
contact Simon Forrester at 107 Kiveskaya St., Bishkek 720001, tel. (996 312)
611402 or email
Further information about INTRAC can be found at