PMD Pro: an affordable opportunity

The Asociación VISION para el Desarrollo (ASOVID) is a Guatemala-based nonprofit and training organization. Working in rural and urban areas, it creates the means by which women and men from vulnerable communities can enhance their potential, using their skills and resources to promote development activities and create a better future.

To achieve this, ASOVID works with NGOs and civil society groups to strengthen their organizational capacity, and also directly with communities to maximize the impact that local people are able to achieve through development and innovation. At the heart of all of ASOVID’s work is a strong focus on enhancing gender equity between women and men, as well as respect for the environment and cultural diversity.

“We have used PMD Pro effectively in our own organisation, and also in the training of other NGOs in Guatemala”, says Delia Urrutia, President of ASOVID, who attended a LINGOs training event (funded by the Inter-American Development Bank). “One of the things that makes PMD Pro so successful is because the tools are so easy and practical to apply.”

“It has also created a common language for talking about projects enabling us, and others, to communicate about projects in the same way,” she continues. “Clearly, if just one person in an organisation is trained, it will improve their skills, but the full benefits of the PMD Pro approach will not be realised unless everyone in an organisation is trained using the same methodology.”

“When we started the training on PMDPro, we thought it would be a huge challenge to reach NGO and civil society groups in Guatemala,” says Delia. “When we ran our first training course in PMD Pro, we only had 10 participants and were sad about this. However, word quickly got around that PMD Pro was highly appropriate and offered practical solutions for development professionals.”

Many of the organisations that ASOVID works with are small and cannot afford to send staff on project management courses that can last a whole week. Some also had concerns about the ‘virtual’ nature of PMD Pro, fearing that it would mean having to watch videos and take online modules. “They like PMD Pro because their staff can focus on developing their skills for an hour or two each week, which saves them time and money, and they realize the virtual training is interactive” she says.

“We have been surprised and pleased that so many people have taken to PMD Pro. Close to 400 people had been trained, and near a 50% of the people who took the exam, is certified,” says Delia. “Some of the organisations that we have trained are now very close to us. In fact, we have met up with virtual trainees from eight organisations to keep in touch with each other and share experiences.”

ASOVID always gather feedback after their training events, and keep in touch with organisations in the long-term. “All express satisfaction with the methodology and process,” says Delia. “They like PMD Pro because the methodology is very easy to understand. It provides a logical framework to the way that projects are set up, and people who have been through the course often say: ‘I understand now, before we saw our projects as different pieces, and how we can see it as a whole process.’”

This year ASOVID is developing an exciting pilot project to empower and enable young people to develop small businesses. “Unemployment is a big problem in Guatemala and we want to provide a means by which our youth can gain the skills to become future entrepreneurs,” says Delia. “We initiated a call for 150 young people to pitch an idea for a small business, and from this, selected 25 with potential to take into the next phase. We used PMD Pro tools to enable them to develop their ideas into business plans and have since six winning projects to turn into sustainable enterprises. We are now working with these young people to turn their idea into reality by instilling professional ways of working, and exploring finance and future partnerships that they will need to succeed.”