Participants at the Education NGO Forum held at the headquarters of the National Teachers Association of Liberia in Monrovia
About 43 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) over the weekend ended a 2-day intensive capacity strengthening workshop intended to help strengthen their various organizations in financial reporting, donors' perspective, communication and fundraising strategies.
Brenda B. Moore, Co-chair of Education NGO Forum, who organized the training at the Headquarters of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) in Monrovia, observed that CSOs' leaders have lots of challenges, including having sustainable organizations and providing such platform would help in strengthening their various institutions.
"We want to educate them on how to set good governance structure; how to develop a strategic plan; develop advocacy strategies, and how to communicate with both the donors and the public in terms of the work they are involved with," Mrs. Moore said.
Mrs. Moore, who is a lead planner and organizer of the forum, is also the founder and executive director of Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP).
She said that donors' prospective to work with CSOs' actors was cardinal to help participants to provide documents or information that would attract donor funding.
"At times, people start organizations, but will subsequently fail, not because they do not have vision, but because they do not have the knowledge to move from one stage to the other," Mrs. Moore said.
She said the workshop was also intended for CSOs leaders to share experiences, because lots of organizations do more good work, but more people do not know about their work.
The training manuals, Mrs. Moore said, was crafted to help participants build a strong local network for humanitarian work.
She added, "We want to get more localized projects ensure that those CSOs' actors become proactive, and not to wait for foreigners to come and train them."
The training covered key topics on how leaders of CSOs can have good organizations that are accountable, visible and stronger.
According to Mrs. Moore, people or organizations that are doing NGO-related work or considered reputable are the International non-governmental organizations (INGOs), but in the absence of these organizations, there will always be the need to continue the work.
She added that sustainable civil society organizations remain fundamental in following up with beneficiaries of the training to ensure that they develop a sustainable plan.
While making presentation, Ms. Massa Crayton, Country Representative of Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) who served as a facilitator, informed participants that donors are not looking to fund a shopping list, something representatives of many organizations submit to donors when applying for grants.
Ms. Crayton, who made a presentation titled "Donors Perspective" called on organization seeking funding and partnership to convince donors of what they are capable of doing to secure the funding, but not by preaching messages to deceive the donors.
"You must have a clear vision and purpose as well as the theory of change and the ability to perform in fulfillment of your mission and your vision," Madam Crayton said.
Ms. Crayton added that the organization must have an independent board that is not made up of spouses, families and friends and should have a broad perspective.
The 2-day workshop brought together several facilitators, including Mrs. Lakshmi Moore--ActionAid- Liberia's Country Director, Samuel Mawunganidze--UNICEF Deputy Country Representative, Benjamin Freeman and Rufus Ballah.