Accompanying the Pilot Cities – How the National Coaches Experienced the DELGOSEA Project

Accompanying the Pilot Cities – How the National Coaches Experienced the DELGOSEA Project
03/09/2012

Focusing on the unsung heroes of the DELGOSEA project, there is hardly a group that is more important but as rarely in the spotlight as the coaches of the pilot cities. These 67 people, who have been trained by the DELGOSEA network in 2010, spent the last year tirelessly visiting the pilot cities under their responsibility, monitoring their progress and helping them with any question or difficulty that might have arisen. Nobody knows more about the projects then they do – here are some reflections on how they experienced the DELGOSEA project.

As the coaches were in close contact with the pilot cities, they are also the ones who know most about what was challenging for the cities during the replication process. Amazingly enough, despite all the differences in the content of the best practices as well as in local cultures and political circumstances, there were a few shared problems that all cities encountered. Nuttiga, who as a Thai coach was responsible for dealing with the solid waste project of Chiang Rai, spoke for many when she said that ‘having skilled staff of local organizations significantly affects the quality’ of the activities. The great need for capacity building of local staff was clearly relevant for most cities, as the coach for the Indonesian city Tarakan, Arief Ariyanto confirmed: ‘There were a lack of experts for waste management in the city.’

The issue of coordination between different agencies in the cities was also mentioned by many coaches: Dendy Borman, also from Indonesia, mentioned that ‘to achieve coordination both within the city’s government departments and also between the city government and other stakeholders’ was one of the main challenges of the replication process. It was a view echoed by coach Hang from Vietnam who felt that ‘changing the focal point agency and leaders presented a particular problem for the city of Danang.’

Faced with those and even more city-specific challenges, what did the coaches do to assist the cities with their projects? Of course, capacity building was an obvious answer: ‘The capacity building and training of the joint task force of a network of integrated solid waste management local organizations’ was one of the main tasks of coach Rugnapa in Chiang Rai, Thailand. All the coaches agreed that the regular monitoring of the cities provided them with a good opportunity to not just check on the cities’ progress, but also to provide more assistance to them. As Indah, a coach from Indonesia put it: ‘If the cities need additional information or insights for the development of the BP program replication, then I will put them in touch with relevant parties as a way to provide them with information and assistance needed.’

Many coaches felt that not just the pilot cities benefited from the experience – ‘Personally, I profited a lot, because I could learn along with people and the city government in Tarakan to become more aware of the importance of healthy living and disposing of garbage correctly,’ was the view of Tarakan’s coach Ariyanto. Rugnapa from Thailand agreed that she had grown professionally with the project: ‘The benefits from this project are the learning of success factors, knowledge from shared ideas.’

Most of the coaches are keen to stay involved with the project and certainly to continue in a coaching role for other cities. The coaches are either working with the Local Government Associations involved in the DELGOSEA network or are very closely connected to them. As such, their knowledge will not be lost and of great benefit to many other cities in Southeast Asia!


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