Building capacity to address E&S challenges

Financial • Infrastructure • Social • International Finance Corporation

IFC E&S Academy

Background & objectives

IFC’s Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure team noticed that some cities were having difficulties in meeting IFC’s performance standards, despite them being a contractual requirement for investment. Several projects were delayed because of obstacles relating to environment and social issues (E&S) or municipal staff having limited capacity to overcome E&S challenges despite good intentions. These difficulties led to IFC’s decision to revamp its E&S training program and explore the possibility of creating an E&S Academy to increase support for municipalities.
  1. Improve accessibility

    of IFC’s Performance Standards to reduce E&S risks in projects

  2. Build capacity of Municipal Officers

    who often have limited capacity to overcome E&S challenges

  3. Build internal buy-in

    to support the piloting and launch of the E&S Academy

How can we support municipalities around the world better address environmental and social issues in their infrastructure projects?

What was the big project question?

Defining the current state

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. We developed our own research plan to conduct in-depth audience and user analysis to identify common trends, learnings and insights to establish our baseline position. We conducted several workshops to consolidate our findings, and align different stakeholders to common goals and parameters for creating an E&S Academy.

Our findings were compiled into a Current State analysis including:

  • Goal definition
  • Mapping and analysis of audiences
  • SWOT analysis
  • Available resources and human capital
  • Validated assumptions and recommendations

Designing the E&S Academy

After understanding the current needs and priorities for IFC and various stakeholders interested in the program, we designed a process to ideate diiferent solutions and programs that would eventually become the E&S Academy strategy. During the latter end of COVID, we conducted several online workshops with globally dispersed teams that leveraged:

  • Ideas and best practices from other sectors and education programs
  • Experiences from hybrid learning programs
  • Content analysis of available learning resources As a result of these workshops, we created recommendations to proceed with the creation of the E&S Academy which included:
  • Defining the learning modalities best suited for Municipal Officers
  • A hybrid learning strategy with content recommendations
  • Prototype learning experience designed by an Instructional Designer
  • Technology analysis and recommendations
  • Implementation plan and budget to guide the pilot and launch phases
  • A Communiucations plan to attract learners

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.

After our recommendations were accepted, IFC proceeded to design additional learning content and pilot the E&S Academy in specific regions.