E&S Academy: Building capacity to address E&S challenges


What was the project background?

IFC’s Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure team noticed that some cities were having difficulties in applying IFC’s performance standards, even though these were a contract requirement for investment. Some projects were delayed because of E&S obstacles, and other times, municipality staff did not have the capacity to overcome E&S challenges despite good intentions. That’s why IFC decided to revamp its E&S training program and support for municipalities and explore the possibility of creating an E&S Academy.

What was the big project question?

How can we help municipalities around the world be better equipped to address environmental and social issues during their urban infrastructure projects? 

What was the objective?

Design a learning program that enables capacity building to help cities adequately address E&S issues when structuring urban infrastructure projects, mitigate potential associated risks and create conditions for bankable urban projects.

Design and Strategy: Future State Report

Based upon the current state report’s findings, we proceeded to design the ideal learning program for municipalities. We conducted an online ideation session with IFC staff to brainstorm ideas and validate assumptions for the creation of the program, while ensuring alignment with IFC’s business goals. The collective ideas were the basis for the future state report. In this report we included: 

  • Analysis and ideas of best practices from other sectors and education programs.
  • Development of a hybrid online and offline program structure with recommendations of which contents and features to offer in each phase and for which municipality staff.
  • Definition of a resource matrix
  • Implementation plan and budget to guide the creation of the minimum viable product
  • A prototype designed by a learning instructor.
  • A tech analysis and recommendations to host the online portion of the program. 
  • A comms plan with positioning and engagement recommendations to promote the initiative and attract learners.

How did we work through the challenge?

User Research: Current State Analysis 

We conducted over 20 interviews and group discussions with IFC investors, E&S advisors and officers, consultants, different specialists and municipality staff from different regions including North Africa, Eastern Europe, LATAM and Southeast Asia. The team gathered first-hand, comprehensive insights into current capacity-building and project management challenges in city investment projects. Using Dovetail, a user research analysis and repository platform, we processed and analyzed the interviews, identifying key learnings, insights and ideas to build an audience-centric learning experience and consolidated them into a current state report that included:

  • Definition of goals Mapping and analysis of audiences
  • SWOT analysis
  • Required resources
  • Validated assumptions and recommendations

What were the outcomes?

The future state report laid out a comprehensive and consolidated roadmap for building and promoting the E&S Academy that was accepted by IFC. The organization will be working on bringing it to life in 2022 for the benefit of municipalities all over the world.