Survey shows positive impacts of IPROMO course


In July 2017, the International Programme on Research and Training on Sustainable Management of Mountain Areas (IPROMO) will celebrate its tenth anniversary. In order to assess the impact IPROMO has had on its participants’ career development and networking and to improve the programme for the next courses, the Mountain Partnership Secretariat circulated a survey to all past IPROMO participants. The results from their responses are in, and the data shows that IPROMO has had a largely positive impact on its participants: 92 percent said their careers benefitted from attending IPROMO, 94 percent shared knowledge gained at IPROMO with other colleagues and 84 percent are still in contact with other IPROMO participants.

IPROMO was created in 2006 at the request of several Mountain Partnership members who had identified the lack of mountain-related training programmes as a concrete obstacle to the sustainable development of mountains around the world. IPROMO aims at strengthening the capacity of countries and institutions and targets mainly technicians, experts, and decision-makers from mountain areas in developing countries. The annual two-week course focuses on a different topic every year linked to sustainable mountain development.

Survey recipients were asked several questions regarding the effect attending IPROMO had on their careers. This included rating the relevance of the knowledge gained through the course to their work, whether they maintained contact with other IPROMO participants and instructors, and whether they had implemented any professional joint activity with other alumni. They were also asked to provide ways in which they thought IPROMO could be improved, what topics they wanted to see addressed in future IPROMOs and if they would appreciate the course being offered in other languages besides English.

On a scale from one to five, the average rating assigned to the relevance of the knowledge acquired at IPROMO to individual’s work was 4.21. Respondents explained that because a large majority of them already worked in sustainable mountain development, not only was the course directly related to their work, but it helped them gain a more global perspective on mountain peoples and ecosystems.

Although 73 percent responded that they had not implemented any professional joint activity with other IPROMO alumni, the 27 percent that had implemented joint activity provided details regarding the projects and initiatives they had gone on to develop with other participants. One respondent explained, “The professional network established at IPROMO has also been exceptionally valuable in developing post-course projects and linkages. This has included joint research academic papers with IPROMO alumni.”

Regarding ways in which past IPROMO participants thought the course could be improved, a majority requested that IPROMO be offered in other regions, countries and continents. At this time, IPROMO is held in Ormea, a small town in the Italian Alps. Others requested that the course include more field work, and a few proposed developing a project by the end of each course that participants could decide to jointly implement.

The IPROMO organizers, including the Mountain Partnership Secretariat hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the University of Turin, will use the results from the survey to conduct an analysis of the programme and to steer the future direction of the course.

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