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Frequently Asked Questions about Language Programs Management
Here is a common definition 1of the term "stakeholder":
Stakeholders are individuals or organizations who
the project results or project activities.
Note that for some agencies, the term ‘stakeholder’ is limited to ‘those who are participating in the project’.
The term “partners” identifies key/ core stakeholders who are committed to a significant part of the project.
This is a process2 of identifying influence, position, importance and behavior of stakeholders, in order for the project manager to determine necessary action for the success of the intended program /project. It includes documenting their interests, potential for involvement and support, and their likely impact on project success.3
The overall purpose of stakeholder analysis is to help the project manager and staff to understand the position and role of various stakeholders vis-à-vis the managing of a project, and how they can or will affect the success of the project. NB “Managing” in this context refers to the various points in the Project Cycle (Planning, Implementation, Review, Revision). Lakey4 suggests a “spectrum” (continuum) to describe the range of relationships which people and organizations may have or use in support of, or in opposition to, a project or program. People and organizations can change their attitude towards a project. For example, an agency which, initially, does not show interest in a project may at a later date decide to become involved. They have moved from “neutral” status to “allies” status in the diagram below.
Lakey’s diagram illustrates seven different relationships between a project and other organizations who are also found in the same context or region. Some may be supportive (green blocks); others may be opposed (orange blocks), and still others are essentially neutral (blue blocks, white block) though this may have some nuances as well. The project manager seeks to engage with those who are supportive of the project; he seeks to inform those who are neutral and who could contribute in some positive way to the objectives of the project; he remains aware of those who are opposed, and when appropriate may seek to help them better understand the project and its objectives. In some situations, some agencies may choose to always be opposed to a given project. (ex: Some local groups may oppose, whether passively or actively, a translation into the local language).
Language development is the series of on-going planned actions that a language community takes to ensure that their language continues to serve their changing social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual needs and goals.
In this definition, “language development” is about more than JUST languages. It’s about serving the people who speak the languages.
A language development project is a sub-component of a larger program. A language development project focuses on
See wikipedia definition 6, 7
Aspects of a community’s / organization’s capacity include: human resources, systems and infrastructures, organizational structure, organizational skills, strategies, aspirations. Specifically in Language Programs Management, this capacity includes skills necessary for participating in language development activities, and encompasses both program- and project-management skills.
When capacity building is part of a language development program, then it includes activities specifically designed to focus on mentoring, coaching, training, of local community members in the use of these aspects. Members of the language community take on responsibilities in the development project and pass them on to succeeding generations.
In order for a language community to support sustainable development and use of their language, they must have enduring access to a variety of resources and be able to use those resources to achieve their desired objectives.
NOT YET COMPLETED
Sustainable language development is development that led and carried out by language community members after the external stakeholders are no longer present in the project. In some instances, the external stakeholders may continue to serve the project though at the request of and under local leadership. Members of the language community have their own motivation to develop further use of their language in other domains. They may request some external help is capacity building.
The Language Programs Management body of knowledge represents the wisdom learned from experience in managing language development programs. As language programs managers work in the role and reflect on what they are learning, they gain deeper insights into the management practices may be applied more effectively (than others) when managing a language program.
Practices are things we do. Best Practices1 are things we do that have been found to work best, or at least better than other possible things we could do. As such, the Best Practices are simply statements to do something, often in a particular way. They are not statements about what should be done. Best Practices takes as a starting point that the activity (what we are doing) is valued and important. It also takes as a starting point the fact that doing this activity, and doing it well, greatly improves the quality of various products and other practices in the same field.