The programme is run in line with the ‘adaptive management’ style, which looks at the project as a continual process of participation, learning, review and adaptation. While meeting the objectives of the project, the management seeks to adapt to the changing local needs as revealed through shared learning.
a) Steering Committee
The Waterschool China Steering Committee members come from a wide range of sectors, including government and inter-governmental agencies, professors from key universities in China and faculty members from worldwide leading research institutes in Education for Sustainable Development. The advisory committee therefore offers a broad range of knowledge and experience with which to advise and review the project process. Current advisory committee members include representatives from UNESCO, China Ministry of Education, Swarovski, MRIT Australia and Beijing Normal University among others.
b) National Coordination Centre
The National Coordination Centre is set up at the Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities (SISC) head office in Shangri-la with assistance from the SISC Beijing office provided as necessary. The centre is reponsible for overall project coordination, including strategic planning, coordination of regional coordination centres, project management and implementation, communication and dissemination of learning and monitoring and evaluation.
c) Regional Coordination Centres
The Waterschool China Regional Coordination Centres are situated in Shangri-la (Yunnan), Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei (Wuhan), and Shanghai, along the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the River Yangtze, representing its diverse range of natural eco-systems and bio and cultural diversity.
All have the advantage of specialising in teacher training and pedagogy, and thus can provide quality training and resources to the teachers of Waterschool China. Each centre provides individually tailored technical support to the pilot schools in its region, and plans and coordinates teacher training workshops and regional resource development. In addition, the Centres share their learning and research with broader society and institutions regionally and nationally.
d) Local Leadership Teams
The Local Leadership Teams play a vital role in implementing the Waterschool China programme. These 45 leadership teams are typically composed of the school principal, selected teachers or community educators and student representatives. The major task of the teams is to devise, develop, implement, and evaluate interactive teaching and learning activities on water management issues relevant to their catchments, and train teachers and community educators in their use. Lesson plans, activity reports, evaluations and feedback are discussed and written up by the leadership teams and these provide evidence of the ways in which the WS project is meeting its goals.
Project Monitoring and Evaluation in a nutshell
The monitoring system of the Waterschool China programme is not only designed to monitor expenditure, activities and outputs, but also the effects and impacts of the project. As with the project management system the monitoring system is based on a ‘cascade’ type model, which means that the national, regional and local levels can be monitored and assessed separately and as a whole, and that information and learning flows upwards and downwards between these levels. In the ‘cascade’ model the national coordination centre monitors the regional coordination centres, which in turn assess and review the 45 school or community leadership teams.
Experience sharing and discussion workshops between local stakeholders take place regularly, at local, regional and national levels. At these workshops, teachers and community educators showcase their work and activities and discuss problems and difficulties with the regional and national coordinators and each other. This open style approach allows for direct dialogue and discussion between the project participants and the regional and national coordinators and ensures that all stakeholders have a say in project management and decision-making.
Project coordinators at national and regional centres conduct regular assessments of individual project sites. Not only are the water-related environmental issues in each location unique, but local project management systems differ according to local needs and capacities. Therefore, individual on-site investigation makes it possible to pinpoint solutions to local community development, enhance teaching and learning capacities in unique local contexts, and share best practice between sites.
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