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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action
from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived
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Sudan: Southern Sudan, Capacity Building
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Sudan: Southern Sudan, Capacity Building
Date Distributed (ymd): 950720
Conference Report and Joint Statement
[From the NGO Networking Service Monthly Update, June 1995,
produced by the InterAfrica Group, Centre for Dialogue on
Humanitarian, Peace and Development Issues in the Horn of
Africa. For further information please contact Vanessa
Sayers Tel: 251 1 514575, Fax: 251 1 517554, E-mail
NNS is made possible thanks to contributions from: Community
Aid Abroad, Dutch Interchurch Aid, Norwegian People's Aid,
NOVIB, Oxfam Canada, Radda Barnen Ethiopia and Trocaire.]
NGOs at Work: Who needs Capacity Building? The 'teachers'
have a lot to learn in Southern Sudan.
"Capacity building and relief work should go together," says
Alison Ayers, co-ordinator of the Operation Lifeline Sudan
Institution Capacity Building programme "in fact, we think
it makes no sense to separate them". A five day workshop on
June 26-30 which UNICEF/OLS and Catholic Relief Services
organised, challenged local and international NGOs and
donors to take a hard look at what building capacity should
be about. Day one tackled the international NGOs who say
"it's not our mandate" by discussing how the distribution of
relief can be done in a way which recognises and builds
local capacities rather than undermining them.
Some 35 people, including four Southern Sudanese NGOs, SRRA,
RASS, 12 international NGOs (operational and
non-operational), UNICEF/WFP and donors signed onto a final
statement which called on international donors and NGOs to
commit more resources to building capacity. It also set out
their views on what capacity building must be if it is going
to work (see text of Nairobi Joint Statement, attached).
The meeting was facilitated by staff from the UK based NGO
INTRAC and the Kenyan Matrix Development Consultants. It was
designed to give NGOs both general training on what real
capacity building is, and specific information from Southern
Sudan to see how it works (or not) in the area. Some NGOs
had not previously realised the number and diversity of
South Sudan's indigenous organisations which include SPLM
and SSIM civil structures created in their 1994 National
Conventions; the relief wings of these movements; Sudanese
consultancy firms; indigenous NGOs; the NSCC and churches;
community based organisations; co-operatives and ethnic
group structures. Others gained a better appreciation of the
type of role which the Southern Sudanese NGOs in particular
could play in strengthening community organisations.
Case studies of six experiences of capacity building
projects were presented: Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and
the Diocese of Torit; CRS and the Tilalo Barter Shop
Association; World Food Programme (WFP) and Village Relief
Committees; USAID, World Vision and Supraid; USAID, Sudan
Medcal Care and Norwegian People's Aid; and Across and the
Two experiences were particularly instructive, according to
Alison Ayers. The first were village relief committees,
established with help from WFP, which were designed to
encourage community participation in relief distributions.
The village Liberation and Economic councils created during
the movements' 1994 conventions were overlooked when the
relief committees were designed, producing duplicate
structures. The second was a Sudanese staff member's
appraisal of the ACROSS programme, which underlined that the
international partner must be prepared to give up power and
control if there is to be a real transfer of capacity. Few
people in the region have addressed such fundamental issues
in their programmes to date.
"The workshop received very good evaluations from
participants, and", said Ayers, "a number of agency heads
recognised that from now on they need to look first at their
own capacity to ensure that they are equipped to build
other's capacity". Proposals for follow up meetings include
a short workshop for heads of agencies and workshops for
field project staff in different areas of South Sudan are
For papers from the meeting, please contact NNS or OLS ICB
(Tel:2542 621234 Fax: 215296).
THE NAIROBI JOINT STATEMENT
1. The future of civil society in South Sudan lies in the
establishment and development of indigenous organisations
which can enable its people to become as self-reliant as
These indigenous organisations include churches, traditional
community groupings, the new non-government non-profit
organisations and the humanitarian wings of the movements -
all having been formed to deal with the needs of the people
of South Sudan.
For many years assistance to South Sudan has been carried
out via international non-government organisations supported
and funded by donors and the people of their countries.
These NGOs have predominantly been directly operational and
have only worked through indigenous organisations to a
We, the participants in the Capacity Building Workshop at
the Fairview Hotel, (26-30 June 1995) are convinced that the
future of international assistance to South Sudan must be
linked to the development of indigenous organisations. It
must involve helping them to develop into strong, competent
and effective organisations with the mission of increasing
the self-reliance of the people of South Sudan.
2. The implication of this belief is that:
(i) international NGOs working in South Sudan should commit
a significant portion of their resources - human, material
and financial - to building the capacity of indigenous
organisations, thereby improving their effectiveness and
(ii) donors sincerely interested in the future of South
Sudan should consider committing their resources to capacity
building processes, either directly to indigenous
organisations or via international NGOs committed to this
3. We recognise that support to organisations must address
all the necessary components of a healthy organisation as
shown in figure 1 and understand 'capacity building' to
include all aspects listed in figure 2 (both attached).
4. We encourage all international agencies in South Sudan to
lend their support to the processes, principles and
practices outlined above.
Nairobi, June 30 1995
(Representatives of the following organisations attended the
workshop: ACROSS, American Refugee Committee, Christian Aid,
Community Development Association, Catholic Relief Services,
Canadian International Development Agency, International
Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Norwegian
Church Aid, New Sudan Council of Churches, Norwegian
People's Aid, Oxfam, Sudan Medical Care, Supraid, Swiss
Disaster Relief, Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation
Association, Relief Association of Southern Sudan, Radda
Barnen, Unicef/OLS, World Food Programme, World Vision)
Components of a healthy relief and development organisation
Identity, Attitude, Vision, Mission, Strategy, Systems,
Structures, External Relations (donor, govt and other NGOs),
Skills, Abilities, Programme Performance (effectiveness and
public impact), Material+Financial Resources
Definitions of 5 key terms
Identity: A conceptual framework that allows an organisation
to understand its place in the world i.e. that it is an
organisation with commitment to help others and that it
believes it can mobilise resources through shared values and
use those resources to help others.
Attitude: Confidence to act in and on the world in such a
way that it can be effective and have an impact.
Vision: The organisation's view of how it would like to
world to be, its hope for "reality to be" (as opposed to
"the reality that is").
Mission: An organisation's purpose for existence; describes
in general terms how the vision will be pursued - what it
does and does not do.
Strategy: A set of concepts that guide an organisation's use
of resources to pursue its mission - the leverage points
where the organisation's activity will have the most impact.
An explicit intervention that aims to improve an
organisation's effectiveness and sustainability in relation
to its mission and context via organisational assessment,
which identifies the need for
Technical Assistance: to build the operational or technical
skills of an organisation. Through eg. skill training;
seconded staff; advisory services; physical or technical
Organisational Assistance: to build specific organisational
capacities (short term, specific, problem solving). Through
management training; leadership training; system/stratgeic
Organisational Development: to build organisational capacity
as a whole (long term comprehensive, organisation-wide
facilitating). Through organisational change and development
Institutional Development: Creating the enabling environment
for the organisation as part of the NGO sector. Through
policy reform; networking; public awareness and advocacy.
Figures developed by INTRAC for UNICEF/OLS/CRS workshop.
This material is being reposted for wider distribution
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