AFGHANISTAN:

Building NGO Capacities to Deliver Vital Services

August 27, 2008

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Last spring, the Afghanistan Women Activities and Social Services Association’s senior staff received training in the essentials of strategic planning and governance for the first time since it was founded in 2002.

This summer, the organization known by its acronym WASSA, had its senior staff train other staff members in management and leadership skills, to help lead the NGO to higher levels of professionalism and service delivery to its communities.

With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Capacity Development Program (USAID CDP), WASSA and many other NGOs are growing and thriving. Creative Associates International, Inc. is implementing the CDP’s NGO component as part of the BearingPoint consortium.

“The method of training taught by CDP in May in Herat was perfectly replicated by WASSA management in its June training of its staff, said Nassir Anwari, Program Coordinator and Trainer for the CDP team. “It’s good to mention too, that it was the first time WASSA senior staff received training in strategic planning, fundraising and governance. The training was really effective for the organization. Before the CDP training, WASSA had not received training in organizational governance. The training helped WASSA revise its strategic plan to accommodate new circumstances.”

Creative’s CDP Director of NGO and Private Sector Programs, Carla Rosa Borges, said: “The WASSA training was a complete success. This is the second time an Afghan NGO has taken a training we have delivered to them and recreated it in their NGO. They are absorbing what we taught them.”

WASSA was founded by a group of women in Herat, Afghanistan with a mission to change the inequality women confront in society. A grassroots development agency that focuses on advocacy training in legal and protective services for women, income generation and vocational training, WASSA needed the expertise to reach its potential. Under CDP, WASSA staff received the training they needed to overcome organizational challenges.

The training, which fostered brainstorming and open communication among staff, led WASSA’s management committee to propose a new more transparent organizational structure.

“A leader sees the big picture and leads the people toward that vision,” said Wase Saedi, a WASSA staff member. “But that leader needs to have a manager to achieve his objectives. Understanding the governing body within an NGO in detail, was important to understand WASSA’s structure and the way an NGO should exist in a logical manner.”

Helping NGOs like WASSA deliver vital services and advocate on behalf of citizens is at the core of the USAID CDP in Afghanistan. Creative provides in-depth training and analysis enabling NGOs to build organizational capacities to better serve civil society over the long term.

The Capacity Development Program’s NGO component is designed to support Afghan efforts to build good governance and democratic practices by focusing on building NGO capacity to deliver services in education, health, women’s rights, human rights and vocational training, among others.

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