HAD: Locally driven support for NGOs in Gaza

HAD Palestine.jpg

Humanitarian Academy for Development project blog, H2H Network fund activation for oPt

After it was approved by the Board of Directors and published in the Programs and Department, the guide for proposals writing will be circulated in preparing various project proposals and bringing funding to the institution.
I think this mentoring will leave a significant effect on my organizational practices as participating in the proposal writing process, reporting and planning, ensured understanding for results, methods, objectives and link in with the organization sector.

Essential to the sustainable future of any NGO is the ability to write effective proposals and reports for donors. Without these, they are unable to secure initial funding and then unable to report on any funded activities and initiatives. In light of this need to empower NGOs to acquire donor funding that will allow them to continue to serve the people of Gaza, the Humanitarian Academy for Development (HAD) working with Islamic Relief Palestine (IRP) provided focused training and mentoring on Report Writing and Proposal writing for 17 NGOs.

These are local organisations working with the most marginalised communities in highly complex contexts but which often lack the knowledge and skills to secure long-term donor funding. This project aimed to fill that gap through expert training and mentoring delivered through a hybrid approach. While the trainers/mentors were delivering their capacity building activities virtually, the local NGOs were gathered together (through the support of IRP) during the training phase of the project. The training aimed to increase participants’ capacity to write more robust, better-quality reports and proposals for donors with the goal of enabling them to increase their chances of winning projects and securing funds directly from diverse funding sources including international donors.

In addition to the skills and knowledge shared during the training, the capacity of the NGOs was further supported through 120 days of coaching and mentoring led by 6 experts from the humanitarian sector. This benefited 116 staff from the 17 local NGOs, aiming to maximise the training through one to one, regular mentoring sessions where skills were enhanced, templates were drafted and knowledge was shared.

Feedback from the participants after the training and mentoring showed that all the participants believe it is highly likely that they will go on to use these skills in their work. Participants were also asked how they hope to change their organisational practice as a result of the proposal writing mentoring and the responses show an overwhelming belief that they will implement real changes in their organisations as a result. For example, some of the participants noted:

The project helped to get new partnerships and funding opportunities, in addition to achieve sustainability of the existing projects, expanding the list of beneficiaries, thinking differently to increase the number of direct and indirect beneficiaries, and adopting impact measurement as a long-term solution to achieve the institution's goals and vision.
The training and the mentoring sessions helped to improve proposal writing unit knowledge and we are working on writing new proposals now.

While the overall objectives and impact of the project have been achieved, the project was not without challenges. The biggest challenges were time and technology. Both the experts and the local NGOs noted these challenges but also made great strides towards overcoming them. The flexibility of the experts around meeting times (particularly during the mentoring phase) meant that sessions were not missed. In addition, the hybrid delivery approach during the training meant that internet connectivity challenges were overcome through the support of the secure internet connection created by IRP. However, it is also important to consider the lessons for future interventions from these challenges. For example, early engagement of participants from the first stages of the project (design and planning) is an effective tool to develop participants’ ownership towards the project and commitment with its activities. In addition, engaging participants in the planning of the training will help produce more appropriate time plans and lead to increased commitment to the training times.

Additionally, HAD worked with fellow H2H Network member CHS Alliance in a collaborative approach to further the capacity of the local NGOs by providing support for a CHS Alliance workshop on Strengthening Quality and Accountability with the application of the CHS. This workshop aimed to complement the support from IRP to the local NGOs in their efforts to respond to the crisis in Gaza by supporting quality and accountability through the CHS. Further collaboration between the CHS Alliance and IRP is planned as a result.

(Photo @ Islamic Relief Palestine)