NPOKI

iRiders

 

iRider NPOKI’s client-centered approach to training


 

 

In many countries, much of the groundwork for improving communications, acquiring bandwidth, and leveraging information and communication technology (ICT) is being done by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In low resource settings, facilitating effective use of these solutions is essential to the success of on-the-ground programs. However, staff have not been adequately trained on these tools that access and utilize information, and they require a training method that addresses their specific issues. Given this need, implementing an iRider approach – grounded in research and experience of The Institute of Non-Profit Consulting – can provide NGOs with a customized and client-centered solution that identifies their unique training requirements and implements a plan to appropriately address them.

What is an iRider?

An iRider is an individual who:

  • has programmatic or operational expertise
  • has a talent for using one/several information and communications technologies and tools
  • can effectively train and develop these competencies in others
  • has received iRider training to improve his/her skills

An iRider helps an NGO assess knowledge or information needs and gaps, identify and evaluate the appropriate tool(s), and facilitate the production and execution of knowledge and information management plans. An iRider may play many roles, including adviser, trainer, coach, and mentor. While the training, coaching, and process facilitation skills are most important, the specific roles are determined by the needs of the ‘client’ organization(s).

 

 

What is iRider training?

iRider Training is a 3-day course that takes a trainer and provides him/her with tools, approaches, best practices, and lessons learned to improve their training skills in working with clients, especially when those clients are field office staff of international organizations:

  • iRider training is not about content. The potential iRider comes to the training already a content expert.
  • iRider training advocates using the right training method to solve the training need. It is a collection of training strategies, not just one.
  • iRider training typically improves the ability of the client to learn new tools and approaches to getting information needed to do their work
  • iRider training uses a client-centered approach and treats the iRider as an “internal consultant”.

iRiders are not “techies”

 

 

iRiders are often program people who have a natural ability to learn and use ICTs effectively. They speak the “language” of the locals, not technology jargon. Many offices have them – the person who knows how to use Skype for a conference call, can use statistical analysis software, or can effectively use email. With proper training, the iRider can become a guru for the tools/solutions/best practices, and help an NGO better use the ICTs that are available.

iRiders are locals, not expats

An iRider is typically someone doing similar services in-country already, but without the intervention of training that gear his/her skills towards this specific market. This is a long term commitment which provides in-depth help to the organization, improves staff’s skills, and ideally builds capacity and sustainability.

Becoming an effective iRider

Specific iRider training methodology has been created to improve the training skills of the iRider, and empowers him/her with tools and best practices/lessons learned to facilitate an effective peer learning experience.

Cost effectiveness of using the iRider approach

 

iRiders can work with multiple organizations and can often leverage these resources and provide solutions for an office, a building, a town, a region, or even a country. They prevent the “reinventing the wheel” syndrome by sharing best practices among their constituency and with other riders. They are the ones who read listserv discussions, evaluate the suggestions, choose the solutions appropriate for the environment where they work, help to raise the funds for implementation, carry out the work, and train others in how to use and support the final implementation.

Is an iRider like an eRider?

An eRider works with an organization to assess technology needs, develop a plan to improve the technology infrastructure, and help the organization implement that plan.   The eRider is focused on infrastructure: installing computers, networks, basic office software, routers, and other equipment.  Typically, an iRider follows an eRider and teaches the client to use the technology and infrastructure put in place by the eRider. As one field finance staff person described it: “The eRider gave me a computer, a network to share files, and access to the internet to browse and get email. The iRider showed me how to use Excel and Quickbooks and how to find good finance information on the web.”

Who created the iRider training?

The term “iRider” was created by EngenderHealth. They own the trademark on the name. The iRider training evolved from curriculum developed by the Institute For Non-Profit Consulting and is based on a common theme of client-centered consulting training. In 2004, the INC donated their training approach to EngenderHealth, who then modified an existing eRider training program, added the collective best practices/lessons learned of de facto iRiders working within the organization, and created the iRider training. In 2007, under a Creative Commons license, EngenderHealth donated the iRider curriculum to NPOKI to better promote its use and to improve the training curriculum.

Funding

The funding for the training of iRiders often comes from the same organizations that fund the NGOs, particularly because of the local capacity building approach. Because the use of iRiders is such a cost effective and client-focused solution for organizations struggling with ICTs, the demand continues to grow and be adopted as a strategic solution to meet many NGOs information and community technology challenges.

NPOKI provides iRider Training & Training Materials freely to its members.

For specific questions or inquiries, please contact Rachel Yassky, Director of Programs, at ryassky at npoki.org.

NPOKI