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Program Design and Content

The learning program has four components. The first comprises several ‘learning forums’ which are designed to pilot learning materials to be used in the Program’s annual core course. Several learning forums were conducted in 1998 and 1999 to pilot the core learning materials: the seminar on demographic policy and economics in Bangladesh in April 1998 was followed up by a national policy seminar in Pakistan in December 1998; two workshops on RH and HSR in Kenya and Senegal were held; and a second two-day course on costing reproductive health services was held in Washington DC. Each event provided an opportunity to develop, test, and revise learning materials so as to more effectively suit participants’ needs.

The second program component is the three-week core course itself, which is held annually in Washington DC. It provides an opportunity for participants to meet World Bank task managers and representatives from other agencies, as well as have to have Bank task managers make presentations on projects they are involved in. It also allows country participants and Bank task managers to be trained, and interact, side-by-side, thus increasing learning and training synergies.

The third program component consists of collaboration with regionally-based partner institutions. These institutions are selected in view of their potential to adapt the core program learning materials to local needs, and to achieve ‘multiplier effects’ in locally-based training. Steering committees will be formed for each set of regional partners to provide input into the course curriculum and to provide and identify trainers. This is a critical part of the program insofar as it aims to ‘regionalize’ the learning materials and help build centers of excellence in developing parts of the world.

The final component consists of the integration of Distance Learning technology (DL) and the creation of on-line 'communities of practice.’ DL will be used to broaden the program's audience. A pilot of the first module of the Core Course is planned for April 2000 and will link Washington, D.C. with the the American University of Cairo with the possible use of sites in New York and Geneva. Based on the experience of piloting Module 1 by distance learning, Module 1 of the Core Course in October 2000 will be taught by DL. In March 2000, a post-course professional development seminar will be held with graduates of the first course. This multipoint seminar will be conducted from Washington, D.C.

The on-line communities will link all ‘graduates’ of the Program, as well as all faculty from partner institutes, via the Internet, through a new Web Site and newsletter. This will enhance prospects of post-course dialogue and contacts. It will also provide access to World Bank data bases on HNP, as well as access to distance learning materials generated by the core course. In particular, the Program has prepared an interactive CD-ROM on key themes covered by the course which can be accessed, on-line, by participants.


Internal and external partners have been collaborating in the design of the program through technical inputs, funding, and co-sponsorship of specific components of the program. External partners currently include:

Partnership is viewed as technical as well as financial. Donor and technical partners have been involved in developing the program since its inception in 1997. Following the first Donor Advisory Board meeting in The Hague in February 1999, the Partner Advisory Group was formalized. This Group, which advises on the content of curriculum and learning events, may provide as little or as many inputs as each respective partner deems appropriate in terms of funding, advice, technical support or a combination of all three. The Group meets annually and at ad hoc meetings as required.