The Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy (MPRS)

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This chapter presents the theoretical background to the study by discussing the history of strategic planning, the meaning of strategic planning and the differences between strategic planning in the business sector and the NGO sector; and performance in NGOs.The chapter also discusses the roles and responsibilities played by different stakeholders to the strategic planning process.

History of strategic planning

The word strategy has its origin in the military (Blackerby, 1994: 23). By the mid – 18th century, strategy was a word used by military officers to make a distinction between tactics – the conduct of battle – and all the preparations that took place before the battle. Strategy referred to the preparations (Smillie and Hailey, 2001: 92). It was believed that proper preparations ensured success on the battleground.

Transferring strategic planning to organizations

The first attempt to formalize how organizations can make preparations to deal with the future was attempted by Fayol in 1916 (Robson, 1997: 13). In the early 1920’s, Harvard Business School developed the Harvard Policy Model, one of the first strategic planning methodologies for private businesses. This model defined ‘strategy’ as a pattern of purposes and policies defining the company and its business (Blackerby, 1994: 24).It was however not until the 1950’s and 60’s when the expansion of both organization and business opportunities demanded a systematic way of looking at the future. It was around this time that the concept of strategy first appeared in organizational theory as ar military metaphor (Hatch, 1997: 101). This time strategic planning focus shifted away from organizational policy and structure toward the management of risk, industry growth,and market share (Blackerby, 1994: 25). This led to the birth of long-range planning.The purpose of long-range planning was to define the organization’s objectives and allocate resources to achieve them. A key activity was to identify gaps between the ‘envisioned’ organization and the current organization. It however became immediately known that extrapolating trends into forecasts was not always accurate, and that the growth experienced in the 1950’s and 60’s could be interrupted and that new opportunities that no one had foreseen were possible. It therefore became accepted that the ‘planning gap’ was not the most crucial aspect of strategy formulation (Robson, 1997: 13).

From long range planning to strategic planning

In the 1970’s strategic planning as a term replaced long-range planning with the recognition that trends have the potential for change. Strategic planning did not incorporate the assumption that adequate growth could be assured. Strategic planning was much more concerned with market competition since the more limited expansion of markets and products could not support the growth aspirations of all the industry players. Robson (1997: 13) however noted that despite the differences between long-range planning and strategic planning, they were both based on three key assumptions:
• Environmental forecasting is sufficiently accurate to predict the future.
• Strategy formulation is a rational process; objectives can be formulated andalternatives can be identified and optimized.
• The behavioral dimension can be ignored.
But, forecasting, especially long-term, is inevitably inaccurate. Important factors such as product life cycles cannot be predicted and behavioral and cultural aspects are hugely significant to the formulation and implementation of strategy.

1.1 Introduction
1.2 A History of Development NGOs
1.3 Origins of the NGO sector in Malawi
1.4 Why strategic planning for local NGOs
1.5 Background to the country
1.6 Problem Statement
1.7 Objectives 
1.8 Importance of the study 
1.9 Limitations and the scope of the study 
1.10 Research Process
1.10.1 Research techniques Position of the researcher Sampling Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Center for Youths and Children Affairs (CEYCA) Malawi Human Rights Resource Center (MHRRC) Malawi network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (MANET) Active Youths in Social Enhancement (AYISE)
1.10.2 Literature review
1.10.3 Data collection and analysis
1.11 Data collection and analysis models
1.11.1 Levels of complexity model
1.11.2 The stages of development model
1.11.3 Triangulation
1.11.4 Clarification of terms
1.12 Chapter layout
1.13 Conclusion
2.1 Introduction
2.2 History of strategic planning
2.2.1 Transferring strategic planning to organizations
2.2.2 From long range planning to strategic planning
2.2.3 From strategic planning to organizational learning
2.3 Defining strategic planning
2.3.1 Definitions for strategic planning
2.3.2 Strategic planning and organizational learning
2.3.3 Limitations of strategic planning
2.4 Levels of strategy
2.4.1 Corporate strategy
2.4.2 Business strategy
2.4.3 Functional strategy
2.5 Strategic planning and Organization Development (OD)
2.6 Differences between NGOs and business organizations 
2.7 Performance in NGOs
2.8 Challenges facing NGOs
2.9 NGO sustainability, legitimacy and relevance
2.9.1 Relevance
2.9.2 Legitimacy
2.9.3 Sustainability
2.10 Players in strategic planning 
2.10.1 The role of the board in strategic planning
2.10.2 The role of management in strategic planning
2.10.3 The role of donors in strategic planning
2.10.4 The role of consultants in strategic planning
2.10.5 The role of communities in strategic planning
2.11 Conclusion
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Preparing for strategic planning
3.2.1 Recognizing the need for strategic planning
3.2.2 Team to manage the strategic planning process
3.2.3 Contracting
3.2.4 Conducting an organizational assessment
3.2.5 Strategic planning in organizations going through the process for the first time and those that are going through the process for the second or more times
3.3 Formulating strategic plans
3.3.1 Creating an ideal picture of the NGO
3.3.2 Vision and mission crafting
3.3.3 Environmental scanning
3.3.4 Developing goals, strategic choices and strategies
3.3.5 Operational planning
3.4 Implementing strategic plans
3.4.1 Financial and other resources
3.4.2 Skills and competencies
3.4.3. Policies, systems and procedures
3.4.4 Structure
3.4.5. Managing stakeholders
3.4.6. Culture, values and beliefs
3.4.7. Leadership
3.5 Monitoring and evaluating strategic plans
3.5.1 The purpose of monitoring and evaluation of the strategic planning process
3.5.2 Challenges of monitoring and evaluation of the strategic planning process
3.6 Assumptions in strategic planning literature and their implications on strategic planning practice in local NGOs
3.7 Conclusion 
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Vision 2020, the Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy (MPRS) and the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) 
4.3 The Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy (MPRS)
4.4 Review of the MPRSP 
4.4.1 Pillar 1: Sustainable Pro-poor Economic Growth
4.4.2 Pillar 2: Human Capital Development
4.4.3 Pillar 3: Improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable
4.4.4 Pillar 4: Good Governance
4.5 Cross-cutting issues 
4.6 The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy 
4.7 International trends shaping NGOs
4.7.1 Poverty Reduction Strategies Papers (PRSPs) Principles of PRSPs Performance of PRSPs Implications of PRSPs for NGOs
4.7.2 The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Motivations for MDGs Performance of MDGs Implications of MDGs for NGOs
4.7.3 Sector Wide Approaches (SWAPs) Motivations for SWAPS Performance of SWAPs Implications of SWAPs on NGOs
4.7.4 Rights Based Approach (RBA) to Development Motivations for RBA Performance of RBA Implications of RBA for NGOs
4.8 Summary on the frameworks
4.9 Conclusion
5.1 Introduction
5.2 The NGO landscape in Malawi
5.2.1 Human Rights NGOs
5.2.2 HIV and AIDS NGOs
5.2.3 NGO networks
5.3 Evolution of the local NGO sector in Malawi 
5.4 NGOs relationship with government 
5.5 NGO relationships with communities
5.6 Capacity Building Context
5.6.1 The meaning of capacity building
5.6.2 Capacity building needs for local NGOs in Malawi The nature of capacity building needs Capacity building competencies needed by service providers The appropriateness of different capacity building approaches The ownership and effectiveness of capacity building programs
5.6.3 Capacity building approaches
5.7 Conclusion 
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Implementation of the strategic plans
6.2.1 Performance of the case studies in project implementation
6.2.2 Performance of the case studies on capacity building
6.2.3 Comparison in performance between HIV and AIDS case studies and human rights case studies
6.3 The strategic plans’ contribution to the case studies’ legitimacy, relevance and sustainability 
6.3.1 Legitimacy
6.3.2 Relevance
6.3.3 Sustainability
6.4 Reasons for calling for the strategic planning process
6.4.1 Following a donor
6.4.2 Recognizing the need to have a strategic plan
6.4.3 Chronological requirement
6.5 The strategic planning process
6.5.1 Preparation Understanding of the strategic planning process Ownership of the strategic planning process Task forces to manage the strategic planning process Organizational assessments
6.5.2 Formulation Analysis of organizational uniqueness Ideal picture Vision, mission and values statements Making strategic choices Strategies, projects and activities; indicators and targets Financial plan and budget Consultants’ competence Ability of participants Time given for formulation of strategic plans
6.5.3 Implementation Knowledge and capacity to implement strategic plans Donor influence
6.5.4 Monitoring and evaluation Purpose of monitoring and evaluation Culture of busyness Culture of not valuing accountability Lack of knowledge
6.6 The strategic planning process and the levels of complexity model 
6.7 Conclusion 
7.1 Introduction
7.2 The board 
7.2.1 Commitment
7.2.2 Board capacity
7.2.3 Failure to provide strategic leadership
7.3 Management
7.3.1 Mismatch in stages of development between the board and management
7.3.2 Knowledge of the strategic planning process
7.4 Donors
7.5 Consultants
7.5.1 Relationships with clients
7.5.2 Limiting the scope of the strategic planning process
7.5.3 A developmental versus a service provision approach
7.6 Communities
7.7 Conclusion 
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Summaries
8.3 Conclusions
8.3.1 Levels of implementation of strategic plans
8.3.2 Factors affecting the effectiveness of the strategic planning process.
8.3.3 Key players in the strategic planning process
8.3.4 The relevance of current literature to guide strategic planning practice in local NGOs
8.3.5 Recommendations Implementation of strategic plans The strategic planning process Players in the strategic planning process Literature guiding the strategic planning process in local NGOs
8.4 Conclusion 
Appendix 1: Data collection checklist 
Appendix 2: List of interviewees 
Appendix 3: Accountability for NGOs


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