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Learning by doing (action planning)


Danida Fellowship Centre helps our fellows translate skills and knowledge, acquired during one of our learning programmes, into a plan of action.

Just do it!? When you have learned something new, it is not that simple to translate  new knowledge into specific tasks and processes within your work environment. Without this translation process, new learnings are soon forgotten.

For about a decade, Danida Fellowship Centre has focused on translating learnings from our programmes into a plan of action to link the learning process with the learner’s reality and work tasks.

This means that all Danida fellows get to work with relevant cases from their home context throughout our learning programmes, wrapping up with a presentation of their plans and solutions at the end. Mentors provide support throughout the learning journey.

In Kenya, 70% of the retail sector is informal and primarily dominated by an unskilled workforce. For years, Rosalin Wambui Wanwiri, Chief Executive Officer of Kenya’s Retail Trade Association, RETRAK had worked to get formalised retail training in place to professionalise the sector, make it more efficient and give its workforce a sense of purpose and pride. In 2021, when Rosalin Wambui Wanwiri got a Danida fellowship and the opportunity to take part in Danida Fellowship Centre’s course “Organisational Change Management” she immediately accepted. At the training course, she  worked on a concrete action plan to get a national curriculum for a formalised training programme for the retail sector in place.

Originally, Rosalin Wambui Wanwiri had intended to target the sector’s managerial levels, but she realised that it was more important to target the workforce on the floor shops.

Drafting a concrete action plan helped me look deeper and I realised that the main challenge in Kenya’s retail sector is where the customers meet us, namely on the shop floor, and that this is where we first and foremost must professionalise and build career opportunities for our workforce, says Rosalin Wambui Wanwiri.

Major structural changes and innovations take time, and when Rosalin Wambui Wanwiri returned home after completing the learning program, Kenya was in the middle of an election year. It further slowed down the process of getting the necessary validations, feedback and reviews from relevant educational and public institutions needed to roll out her action plan. In February 2023, Rosalin Wambui Wanwiri together with a team of other RETRAK members and experts had a one-week workshop for a final review of the curriculum, and are now at the stage of identifying educational institutions that can be accredited to offer a national curriculum for retail.

It is a a slow process, but am glad to say we are nearing the end to actualizing a Retail Curriculum for our Country, says Rosalin Wambui Wanwiri

The doing part is critical
Rosalin Wambui Wanwiri’s story is just one example of how the Danida Fellowship Centre’s learning programmes are based on the reality that the participants come from and how they can use the action-oriented approach to tackle and overcome the concrete challenges they face.

As in her case, action planning often starts long before the trip to Denmark when the fellows engage in conversations with their colleagues and supervisor on their expectations for the learning programme. All with the aim of securing a learning outcome that will allow the fellows to suggest relevant and possible actions to be taken when the fellow returns. These actions can be small, such as sharing new learnings with colleagues, or they can be big, such as implementing new regulations. What matters is that learning by doing is a cornerstone in all of Danida Fellowship Centre’s learning programmes. The “doing” part in the participants’ home organisation is the critical part. The action plans are crucial for organising the first steps in applying the new knowledge and skills in the participants’ work area.

Other examples of how Danida fellows have worked with their action plans.

Argentina: Marianos blue dream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U586160IvAQ&t=61s

Kenya: Delegates working with the action plan

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qpEa2RMiWs
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UrV4zcCVbM
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbclKWLYZa0


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