Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is a German development agency dedicated to promoting economic development through social inclusion and environmental protection. With 19,506 employees spread over more than 120 countries, GIZ generated business volume in excess of €2.4 billion in 2016. GIZ recently partnered with the Center for Asia Leadership Initiatives (CALI) to design and deliver a ten-month program aimed at building the capacity of next-generation leaders to tackle climate change.
With the impact of climate change predicted to become increasingly disruptive in the coming decades, GIZ recognized the need to equip environmental experts with leadership skills, mindsets, and tools necessary to navigate the complexity of addressing a critical 21st century challenge like climate change. To effectively tailor fit the program to the participants’ context and settings, CALI conducted the requisite needs assessment comprising feedback sessions, conference calls, consultations, and pre-program surveys.
Compelled by the shared goal of identifying leadership challenges impeding the climate change advocacy, twenty-eight (28) select climate change specialists from five countries participated in the three-module Lead the Change 2019 Programme held in Kyrgyzstan, Germany, and Georgia, over the span of ten months.
Focusing on the Adaptive Leadership framework, originally developed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the program’s over-all objectives were to:
- Equip participants to be able to diagnose adaptive challenges while practicing Adaptive Leadership
- Establish a collective baseline for leadership and climate change adaptation
- Explore the basis of personal systemic challenges in order to exercise leadership
- Create and refine a long-term climate change initiative while practicing leadership interventions and frameworks
Each five-day module featured both leadership and climate change adaptation components while employing a combination of various teaching techniques like small group discussions, self-expression activities, learning probes, questionnaires, a blindfold activity, film viewing, and long-distance learning.
The undeniable impact of Lead the Change 2019 was its participants’ Transfer Projects. During the course of the program, participants worked on Transfer Projects, concrete initiatives designed to address various socio-economic and environmental issues related to climate change. Using the distributed practice approach, this exercise allowed them to practice and apply the Adaptive Leadership frameworks and interventions they learned in a real-time setting while creating niche solutions for environmental protection.
During the last module, four groups presented and received valuable feedback on the following projects:
- A Regional Platform for Social Entrepreneurship
- Collaborative Climate Change Project with the Youth
- Thermal Efficiency for Housing
- Regional Expert Network – Green CA
“These Transfer Projects are the initial seeds of what in future will be known as the most powerful network of purpose-driven and responsible leaders mobilizing others to address climate change issues at the national, regional and global scale.”
~ Umar Shavurov
International development consultant
Formerly with the World Bank