Have you ever wondered why some civil society organisations (CSOs) effortlessly produce excellent results with respect to impact creation, while others struggle in the quest?
Let us begin by picturing a young lady who just did her test and found out she is pregnant. She becomes overwhelmed with joy and the thought of being able to hold her baby in her hands after nine months pushes her into taking measures to ensure the baby’s well-being. She goes for regular checkups so that the doctor can monitor and follow up on the progress of the baby. These checkups are what ensure that the baby is safely delivered and is healthy (results).
Now let us look at it from another perspective. Imagine an organisation that is in the process of implementing a project. In order to be sure that its activities are in line with the conditions set up at the planning phase, a proper monitoring and evaluation system must be put in place. This gives a clear vision of all the activities being carried out and provides information on areas that need improvement as well as areas that are intact. It guides you towards attaining the desired results.
Every single action carried out produces results. What we must always consider is whether the results of our actions are positive or negative. Producing positive results requires that CSOs take conscious and deliberate decisions and actions. They must develop a firm organisational structure with a functional board, leadership must be flexible enough to accommodate different ideas and encourage participation, talent should be properly managed and a solid monitoring and evaluation system should be put in place, amongst others.
The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) has therefore designed courses that will strengthen the capacities of these organisations in different domains to ensure organisational sustainability. Some of these courses include organisational governance and leadership, project management, results-based monitoring and evaluation, talent management and many others.
One of the CSOs that have benefited from this training is the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD). CIKOD is a Ghanaian-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) that seeks to transform indigenous institutions and local groups into vibrant grassroot CSOs that would enhance the participation of rural communities in their own development processes. It aims to facilitate dialogue on the role of indigenous knowledge and institutions in modern-day community development and empowerment.
Following a needs-based assessment that was conducted by WACSI in November 2020, it was noticed that the areas in which CIKOD needed strengthening most were Organisational Governance and Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation (RBM).
Based on this, a five-day training was organised by WACSI in partnership with the 11th hour Project to equip 16 staff members of CIKOD with assessment and analytical skills. The objective of the training was to strengthen their organisational capacity to enhance productivity. This training took place between 01 and 05 March 2021 in Bole in the Savanah region of Ghana.
Participants were taken through five days of intensive capacity building exercises and activities. The sessions were tailor-made to suit their needs and fill in all the capacity gaps that were identified during the need assessment. It involved fun activities that kept participants alert and completely engaged, brainstorming sessions, practical exercises, group activities, experience sharing and learning.
They were equipped with knowledge on characteristics of good governance, roles and responsibilities of the board, leadership styles, mentoring and coaching, results-based management, fundamentals of monitoring and evaluation, designing effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools, theory of change and many others.
After every session, participants were asked to express their thoughts with regards to the training. The programme officer for CIKOD stated:
“I am very excited to be here. My whole mindset has been re-oriented on how an organisation operates with regards to organisational management, M&E and a lot more that we are yet to be taught. So far, I can say my horizon has been broadened and inherent things that I did not know I had, have been unearthed.”
At the end of the five-day training, participants expressed their gratitude and the impact the training would have in ensuring organisational effectiveness and performance. They were well equipped and full of zeal, to go back and apply these newly acquired skills to transform their organisation.
“This training actually is a good thing and I think it is going to help us as an organisation to improve on what we thought we were doing right and we would look back at what we did previously, identify the loopholes and try to correct our mistakes and move forward as an organisation,” stated Hamidou, who was offering her national service with CIKOD at the moment.
It is evident that in order for organisations to succeed and produce positive results, there is an unavoidable need for them to, first of all, identify the areas that need strengthening and then deliberately set in motion actions that will lead to achieving the desired results. Results do not just happen. We make them happen.
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