Bolstering the organizational capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) working with communities on family planning, maternal and child health, and social accountability issues has formed a major part of the Health Finance and Governance (HFG) project’s work in India over the past year. Working with the White Ribbon Alliance of India (WRAI), HFG is supporting a total of 26 CSOs — 15 from the state of Jharkhand and 11 from Rajasthan — that are all part of the WRAI network.
In July 2017, the Health Finance and Governance Project successfully organized a five-day training workshop for the 15 CSOs in Jharkhand. The workshop took place in two parts: one held from July 11–12 and the other from July 19–21. The workshop included knowledge sharing, skill building, and practice sessions on a broad range of organizational development themes. The training program, content, and resources were designed based on the CSOs’ capacity gaps and needs, which had been ascertained earlier through an organizational capacity assessment exercise. The training content as well as the resource kit material was bilingual, produced and delivered in both English and Hindi.
Senior functionaries from each CSO, including its program head, chairperson/secretary, and finance department head, attended the training workshop, with a total of 45 participants in attendance. The major areas covered included leadership, financial management, human resource management, strategic planning, fundraising, and communications. The interactive training involved regular group practice sessions, which allowed participants to share their experiences and discuss how lessons learned from the training could be applied at their organizations.
Great enthusiasm and a resolve to implement the learning was visible amongst the participants, who saw in it tremendous value for ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability of their organizations and work. The sentiment is captured well in the words of Sanjeev Bhagat, secretary, Lok Kalyan Seva Kendra, “What we have learned is like bricks, cement, mortar that will make our home, our organization, strong…We are feeling empowered and strengthened.” His sentiment was mirrored in the words of Sanjay Paul, Jharkhand State Head for WRAI, who considered the training workshop
“…the beginning of next steps, not only for the trained organizations but also for the state of Jharkhand…the 15 CSOs could emerge as champions for stronger service delivery and community empowerment in the state.”
The workshop ended with each participating CSO formulating an action plan on the corrective activities it planned to implement within the next month. The potential on-the-ground impact of HFG’s capacity building support is huge, given the large reach of many of the supported CSOs; for example, Ekjut, one of the participating CSOs, has a pan-state reach, covering a population of about 33 million.
HFG India interviewed Sanjay Kumar Paul, the Jharkhand state head for WRAI, to discuss the role of CSOs, their challenges, and the likely impact of HFG’s capacity building support.
HFG India interviewed Abha, Program Manager – Gram Jyoti, a CSO based in Deoghar district of Jharkhand state, to discuss the value of CSOs and how the capacity building support can contribute to efficiency and sustainability of these organizations.