Projects Management and Consulting Unit: Plan, Implement and Impact
When talking about projects management, words like "planning", "updates" and "implementation" come to mind. However, being a project manager is more difficult than it looks.
Some project manager simply stick to their plans, while others are in control of financial planning and forecasting. Nonetheless, the most difficult task of a project manager is maintaining project sustainability.
A successful project manager model in Palestine is Dr. Mohammad Najjar.
By: Shatha Jararaa
Dr. Najjar is the Director of the Projects Management Unit (PMU) at An-Najah National University. He is also a full time Assistant Professor at the Department of Business Administration, School of Economics and Social Studies at An-Najah.
Dr. Najjar holds a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering along with an MBA degree. He received his Ph.D. in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), Lancaster University, UK. Furthermore, he has broad experience in leading projects as he has worked with several national and international organizations, such as the Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), American-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), Jawwal, and PalTel.
As an extension to his role in setting forth the strategy and roadmap for PMU, Dr. Najjar is currently focusing on designing and developing sustainable approaches to enhance the quality and management of projects, mainly in the educational sector. His approach to development revolves around innovation, while providing efficient and cutting-edge solutions that can be scaled and sustained. His current research interest focuses on project management, sustainable operations, and supply chain management.
PMU delivers high-quality, intelligent, sustainable, and cost effective project management and consulting services through an interactive process, compiling a pool of in-house and diverse professional experiences in one place. The unit’s teamwork, competency, and resources facilitate implementing projects that match international standards. It also provides cutting-edge and innovative solutions to clients in various sectors. The unit's fund resources are QIF/World Bank, European Union (Erasmus +), GIZ, the AMIDEAST, and many others.
For a closer look at the unit's work, we talked about the "Strengthening Health Services through Optimizing the Capabilities and Skills of Nursing, Midwifery and Medical Graduates" (AHA-ITC) project.
This project aims to develop the curricula of three programmes at An-Najah National University; namely, medicine, nursing and midwifery through offering an accredited AHA Training Centre (AHA-TC). This centre, which includes simulation laps related to BLS, ACLS, and PALS, offers training credit hours for An-Najah students.
As a first step, the unit team communicated with the American Heart Association, a non-profit organization in the United States that funds cardiovascular medical research, educates consumers on healthy living and fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Recently, health sector employers have been struggling to find qualified labour to fill job vacancies. The importance of hiring qualified labour is more pronounced in the health sector since skills are the most critical asset. Therefore, strengthening students' knowledge, by broadening and improving the quality of education, is essential. But it is also crucial to recognize that students should be equipped with relevant practical skills required by the health sector in order to improve their employment prospect.In fact, this project focuses on long term sustainable value creation. It aims at enhancing students' learning experiences, while preparing them to be employable and successful in dynamic workplace.
In particular, by focusing on students in nursing, midwifery, and medicine departments, this project seeks to strengthen students' skills and capabilities, while reinforcing university-health sector cooperation. The project promotes compliance with the upcoming requirement of the Ministry of Health; health professionals should hold the American Heart Association (AHA) certification or participate in distinct practical trainings related Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), and Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS) in order to be employed by Palestinian health institutions.
Dr. Najjar said: "At the end of the project, we expect to achieve certain outcomes; namely, students' skills and capabilities will be strengthened; staff members' professional capacity will be enhanced. In fact, these staff members will apply their newly gained practical skills in the teaching process; mutual relationships with health sector institutions will be promoted and reinforced."
He added: "This project will deliver major outputs including an updated curricula for three major programmes (i.e. nursing, midwifery, and medicine) to include applied/practical course related to BLS, ACLS, and PALS; staff members accredited by AHA and holding AHA Instructor Certifications, an accredited AHA Training Centre (AHA-TC); partnerships with at least five health institutions and internship programme and monitoring system."
Dr. Najjar concluded: "PMU dose not only implement projects, but also seeks sustainability; i.e. projects that can be developed and can develop.
I would like to thank An-Najah President, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Mr. Mohammad Hawawri for their support as well as Dr. Ayda Al-Qaisi who took the lion share of the project's idea.
Coming back to Palestine was not that easy; however, I had a great chance to compete and be innovative. This is because, in my opinion, a person should not stop studying or working even if they had their PhD in hand."