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Planning conflicts

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We had a VSO conference during the last couple of days of last week.

After reviewing the Programme Area Plan for the Secure Livelihoods Programme Area, we discussed specifics of our placements and some of the details of working as VSO volunteers in Mongolia. The Secure Livelihoods area in VSO Mongolia seems to be moving strategically towards rural poverty, which will mean that peri-urban projects like mine will not fit well with the Secure Livelihoods objectives in future. Are rural people who have resettled in peri-urban informal settlements now urban or will they later return to rural areas?

In my work I will see what can be achieved meanwhile in the college between now and August next year, and continue to wonder whether my placement is to create/enhance jobs through professional development, or to provide improved education.

On Thursday, meeting in the conference space at the Open Democracy Forum, I found it useful to re-discover 'SMART' objective setting, in Mongolian. Often used as jargon, it made me think again;

S__pecific - Togorxai
M__easurable - Xaishish Doloxgui
A__chievable - Xyrj Doloxgui
R__ealistic - Bodit
T__ime Bound - Todorxoi Xygaazaand

Objectives, activities and outcomes are never the most exciting topic but a colleague suggested the objectives for my placement as architect teacher trainer might be around students getting good jobs. I thought the teaching programme and the staff would be my main focus, but perhaps the overall sustainability of the school should be the main aim. It will be difficult to facilitate change within a year, although my VSO colleague Rob has made a good start in the past year at CTC. For my part I will start by exploring the present (outline) curriculum and from the four-prong strategy of developing teacher training, graduate development, curriculum development and Mongolian architectural association linkages, I will start preparing programmes and emplace something for succession when I finish.

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