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A Journey from Vision to Operational Excellence in Afghanistan

Funded by the World Bank
Case Study Note:

Specific details within the case study below have been withheld to maintain the confidentiality and sensitivity associated with the activities discussed.

Assignment Background

HelpUsTrade embarked on a transformative journey with the National Procurement Authority (‘NPA’) in Afghanistan to elevate its status as a centre/country of excellence in economic development and public procurement development and training.

The project spanned two phases, Part A in 2019/20 and Part B in 2020/21, with the World Bank providing financial support to both part. A European consultancy firm EuroSupport Srl., led Part A, with HelpUsTrade offering expert support, while HelpUsTrade took the lead in Part B.

The overarching goal was to position NPA as a catalyst for national public procurement professionalisation by providing strategic, technical, and operational support aligned with the country’s economic development goals. The scope of work encompassed various dimensions, including strategic direction, operational management, stakeholder engagement, knowledge exchange, mass communications, international best practices adoption, commercialisation activities, and more.

In this project HelpUsTrade’s curriculum design team was led by HUT Director Professor Dermot Cahill, Co-recipient of the British-Franco Lawyers Association 2017 Award for Transnational Education Excellence, specialist in learning outcomes and transformational training design.

Key Activities and Deliverables

In Part A, HelpUsTrade took charge of developing:

  • An 11-module training program categorised into Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced levels, whereby this initiative aimed to build the foundational knowledge of NPA staff and trainees.

In Part B, the second phase, the focus shifted to:

  • Workforce  professionalisation and nationwide communication, where HelpUsTrade worked on educating NPA staff on the institute’s professionalisation strategy, defining national operational delivery plans, and national training certification mechanisms. 
  • The emphasis was on advanced training, capacity building, and the creation of a comprehensive marketing and communications plan to reach over 10,000 public officials across the entire country.

Implementation and Outputs

HelpUsTrade not only formulated comprehensive strategic and operational plans to support the assignment’s objectives, but also executed a range of initiatives resulting in tangible outputs for the assignment, these included:

  1. Departmental Process Mapping: Created detailed process maps facilitating internal operations management, function allocation, and implementation of an internationally acceptable certification mechanism.
  2. Training Content Development: Developed study guides, PowerPoint presentations, and trainer guides for 11 modules at three competence levels, facilitating effective knowledge transfer.
  3. Interactive Q&A Sessions and Masterclasses: Conducted hours of interactive Q&A sessions and Economic Development and Procurement MasterClasses covering crucial modules, addressing common challenges, ethical considerations, case studies, and procurement tools.
  4. Competency Framework and Provincial Offices Plan: Developed a comprehensive competency framework and outlined economic advantages of a distributed training network, providing a roadmap for NPA’s outreach centres.
  5. Branding Guideline, Marketing Plan, and Programme Prospectus: Formulated a comprehensive document enhancing NPA visibility and promoting its objectives nationally and internationally.
  6. Operational Manual, Concept Paper, and Policy Formulation: Created operational manuals, a concept paper for an e-learning platform, and policies guiding retention and recruitment strategies.
  7. Instructional Videos and Process Maps: Produced instructional videos and process maps for effective communication and streamlined operations.
  8. Student Experience Enhancement: Developed process maps across NPA departments to enhance the overall student experience.

Exemplar Outcomes

The outcome of this intensive assignment was an extensive array of initiatives and deliverables that were successfully executed within a comparatively brief timeframe. Under the leadership of HelpUsTrade, the country’s National Procurement Authority underwent a transformative evolution, achieving significant milestones across multiple facets.

HelpUsTrade’s strategic guidance fortified the NPA’s activities, enhancing its proficiency in public procurement training, examination processes, and professional training certification. The comprehensive approach adopted by HelpUsTrade facilitated a holistic advancement of NPA’s organisational functions. The establishment of an eLearning platform marked a paradigm shift in NPA’s training capabilities. HelpUsTrade not only advised on the design and development but also played a pivotal role in implementing a sophisticated Learning Management System (LMS). This digital transformation laid the foundation for effective distance learning, fostering accessibility and flexibility in training.

The project demanded the delivery of a significant number of complex and diverse deliverables. HelpUsTrade, embodying resourcefulness and project management excellence, consistently exceeded expectations. Even under demanding timelines, HelpUsTrade not only met the contract specifications but often surpassed them, demonstrating a commitment to excellence. For example, a sophisticated Branding Guideline and Marketing Strategy, designed by HelpUsTrade, propelled the NPA’s visibility nationally and internationally. The strategic advice on mass promotional activities and the creation of promotional materials contributed to a successful outreach, ensuring that the NPA’s services were effectively marketed.

HelpUsTrade’s expertise played a crucial role in the development of a comprehensive Competency Framework for public procurement professionals. This framework not only outlined essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes but also positioned NPA as a benchmark for procurement training institutions globally.

In the Letter of Recommendation testimonial, the client commended HelpUsTrade’s unparalleled experience and highlighted their role in fortifying NPA’s various functions across government. The commendation acknowledged HelpUsTrade’s adeptness in developing delivery strategies and emphasised their ability to perform exceptionally well under pressure.

Throughout the period of the contract HelpUsTrade demonstrated their unparalleled experience of developing delivery strategies for a wide range of organisational functions, thus allowing the NPI to strengthen its activities across different areas such as public procurement training, examination and professional training certification, eLearning Management & Design, Mass Marketing and Promotional Strategies and the Design of a Public Procurement Competency Framework for the Government. <br><br>

The project required delivery of a significant number of complex and diverse deliverables. HelpUsTrade’s knowledge, skills, resourcefulness and project management capabilities were fully exhibited. Working at times under enormous delivery pressure, HelpUsTrade repeatedly delivered our requirements on time, and as per the contract’s specification, often delivering more than the strict contract requirements.

Dip. Engineer Alham Omar Hotaki, CEO-National Procurement Authority, Administrative Office of the President, Afghanistan, 2020

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