Impressions from the region: showcasing our contribution to reform efforts

September 12, 2014 by Urska Zrinski, Polona Sirnik

We are in constant contact with our partners to learn about their impressions of our learning activities. We ask them to elaborate on the usefulness and results of these learning activities, and their impact on daily work.

Wenger-Trayner conceptual framework

To systematically collect stories from the region, we follow the conceptual framework developed by top-notch experts on social learning systems and communities of practice, Beverly Wenger-Trayner and Etienne Wenger-Trayner. We take special pride in having an opportunity to work closely with Beverly Wenger-Trayner in this respect.

By following the Wenger-Trayner conceptual framework, we collect value creation stories that combine different cycles of value creation. The story of the value created through attending a learning activity, such as a workshop or a seminar, starts with a description of the immediate values of the shared learning experience (cycle 1). The story may continue to highlight the created knowledge capital, the potential value of which may be realized only later on (cycle 2). Next, the story may explain the application of some of this capital to a specific situation, and the results of it (cycle 3). Finally, the story may link the learning experience to actual performance changes that are meaningful to participants and their organizations (cycle 4); and even contribute to a reflection on the performance definition, or reconsideration of strategies, goals and values (cycle 5).

If you want to learn more about the Wenger-Trayner Social Learning model, see this video:



Showcasing CEF’s contribution to capacity development in strategic planning and budgeting in Albania:

I believe that creating opportunities for professionals from different countries, who face different realities, to meet and exchange ideas, policy advices and experiences, is the highest benefit that the CEF is bringing to the region, in addition to state-of-the-art trainings on budget, macroeconomic and fiscal issues.

I participated at a CEF workshop in May 2013, where we discussed new institutions to be created, or existing ones to be strengthened, to meet the challenges imposed by the global financial crisis. One of the topics was the creation and functioning of economic councils based on the experiences of Croatia, Ireland and the UK. These experiences have definitively helped us shape our recently established National Economic Council. One may think of it as a matter of luck, being at the right place at the right time. Or, as me, one may find out that the CEF constantly updates its trainings, workshops and seminars by shaping them to the beneficiaries’needs and anticipating challenges faced by the region in the aftermath of the global crisis.

I then came back to the CEF twice more. First to a workshop on Training of Trainers that was designed and facilitated by the CEF and held in ReSPA in Danilovgrad, Montenegro. That helped me further strengthen my presentation skills. I then attended a very interactive workshop on Medium-Term Budgeting. We simulated budget negotiations with line ministries, and I took my role as a finance minister very seriously to make sure we agree on a credible medium-term budget framework. Such exercise allowed me and my colleagues to experience the difficulties when negotiating a medium-term budget.

In September 2014 the CEF invited me to deliver a lecture. Not only did I share my experience with other officials from the region in managing public investments but I also facilitated discussions on where further reforms efforts in planning and implementing public investments are needed in SEE. I thought this was a really valuable exercise for all the participants. By listening carefully and discussing the best practices and lessons learned from Norway, the Netherlands, and Albania, we asked participants to use these case studies to really think how we should be strengthening our own country practice in this respect.

Thus, I would like to thank the CEF team and donors for making these trainings possible, and for giving me an opportunity to share my knowledge. They say that when you lecture, you learn the most. And by lecturing at the CEF, I can confirm this.

Elton Stafa, Ministry of Finance, Albania


Showcasing CEF’s contribution to capacity development of public accountants and internal auditors in Macedonia and Montenegro:

I believe that creating opportunities for professionals from different countries, who face different realities, to meet and exchange ideas, policy advices and experiences, is the highest benefit that the CEF is bringing to the region, in addition to state-of-the-art trainings on budget, macroeconomic and fiscal issues.

My cooperation with the CEF started at the end of 2008, when I was nominated to be a local project coordinator for training of public sector accountants in Macedonia. Since that I am continuously cooperating with colleagues from the CEF. Recently we had an opening ceremony for the training of already fourth cohort of public accountants in Macedonia. In addition we are working on the localization of the training program, as our goal is for the program to run independently and to stay sustainable.

The surveys among students from past generations show that they are very satisfied with this kind of training and would like the training to become permanent in the country. They estimate the knowledge gained during the studies helpful in fulfilling their day-to-day duties.

Personally, my involvement in the training activities has given an enormous value added to my work. In addition to the role of local project coordinator, I was also enrolled in the program as a student and later as a tutor for the international module on financial accounting. This contributed to my continuous professional development.

Aleksandra Dimovska, Ministry of Finance, Macedonia


I am working as a local coordinator for internal audit certification program in Montenegro. My role includes logistical support to the program as well as motivating and offering support to participants when they are experiencing tough moments or lack of will during their studies.

In the first year of the program I experienced quite some problems at my work but the CEF team offered me great support. We have daily communication with the CEF colleagues, which is excellent. I hope that next year we will launch also the certification program for accountants in the public sector and another cohort of certification training for internal auditors.

Acting as the local coordinator made me new friends in the CEF team and allowed me to further develop my organizational skills. I had an opportunity to improve my professional knowledge as well as a chance to transfer my knowledge to the students.

Nina Blečić, Ministry of Finance, Montenegro


See more examples of the value creation stories from the region: