Experience is Invaluable

Playing a role in a simulated aid project is a great way for participants to learn problem-solving techniques, understand group dynamics, play the role of someone they could never be, and become invested in the successes and frustrations of delivering an aid project.

The simulation provides a safe environment to come to terms with a very different set of circumstances — where the only impact of making mistakes is better learning.

Power poles in road




“Power posts in the middle of the road! What went wrong?”

“Our person in country made some assumptions”

“First overseas posting, eh?”

“Yeah…. At least they are learning on the job!”

“Sure are. And they do have the warning reflectors on the poles….”


Experience is invaluable.

For students of International Development, or the graduate intake of development organisations, getting that experience can be expensive – for individuals and organisations.

There are plenty of theories of development, but there are few schools of practice. For many students of international development, there is often a wide gulf between their own life experience and their future operating environment in a less developed country. Simulating Experience offers a way to bridge that gap, and take them on a virtual tour, landing them in the middle of managing a simulated aid project. Students from less developed countries can also benefit hugely, perhaps by playing the role of a donor, seeing the behind-the-scene dynamics, and watching the whole project unfurl from a bird’s eye perspective.

In the simulation, participants take on a role such as village chief, local government official, donor agency programme officer, gender equality specialist etc. They are given the situation analysis, their objectives, a budget, some secret information about themselves and the other participants, and the clock starts ticking. One week in simulation time is a whole month in project time.

Who can get the funding released? Can the village chief form the water committee? Is the 30% target of women, disabled and LGBT members on the committee realistic? Can you align to government policy and harmonise with other donors? Who has hidden agendas? The rainy season is coming, the clock is ticking…..

Simulating Experience

  • Understand the complexity of managing aid projects, learn to avoid common pitfalls
  • Problem-based-learning develops the  team-work and problem-solving skills necessary for successful collaboration in delivering aid projects. It also delivers a much greater knowledge and skill retention rate
  • 4 to 40 participants per simulation – from one or a combination of classes or organisations
  • Face-to-face and/or remote interaction
  • 1 to 6 weeks duration, requiring at least 30 minutes time commitment per day
  • Suitable for:
    • staff before going on first posting
    • staff who do not have the opportunity to be posted to the field
    • undergraduate or postgraduate students of development studies


“Working with Eoghan on the ‘Water for Life’ simulation proved to be an invaluable asset.  The simulation was well thought out, comprehensively presented and excellently facilitated. … I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”
Dr. Chris McInerney
Course Director, BA Public Administration, University of Limerick, Ireland


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