Capacity Building Cycle for the 3rd and 4th Cohorts of CSOs Launched
13 March 2017
The Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building (BALADI CAP) project officially launched its capacity building cycle for the third and fourth cohorts of Civil Society Organization on Thursday, 9 March 2017. The event brought together 15 different Civil Society Organizations across Lebanon.
The audience included 28 participants from Al Younbouh, Alef – Act for Human Rights, American University of Beirut – Nature Conservation Center, Arcenciel, Civil Association for Community Development, Darb El Jabal NGO, LAU – Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, Lebanese Foundation for Permanent Civil Peace, Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training, Association Nabad for Development, NAHNOO, Rescue Me, Restart Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, S.H.E.I.L.D, and Sada El-Bekaa Organization.
The event laid the foundation for BALADI CAP’s upcoming capacity building cycle. Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El Zein introduced all the technical aspects of the program in detail and the various milestones organizations pass through including public trainings, customized on-the-job trainings, and communities of practice among others. Dr. El Zein stressed on the importance of leadership and staff commitment and engagement as key ingredients to the success of the program. In addition, the session allowed BALADI CAP team to address all the doubts, queries and concerns of the CSO representatives.
BALADI CAP’s technical assistance program will help improve the institutional capacities of Lebanese Civil Society Organizations in Lebanon. They will become more empowered and thereby play a stronger role in the advancement of their societies. With additional CSOs on board, BALADI CAP now boosts some 40 CSO organizations as partners/trainees/grantees, in addition to 38 municipalities benefiting from BALADI CAP institution building services.
Baladi Cap CEDG Launching Event
17 February 2017
The Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building (BALADI CAP) project officially launched its Municipal Technical Assistance Program on Friday, 17 February 2017. The event, held at the Hilton Beirut, Habtoor Grand, Sin El Fil, Beirut – Lebanon in the presence of Her Excellency US Ambassador Mrs. Elizabeth H. Richard and USAID Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson brought together BALADI CAP’s municipalities and unions, as well as Civil Society Organizations benefiting from its various capacity building and advocacy programs with a noticeable media presence.
The audience included 56 Presidents, Vice Presidents and Council Members of the municipalities of Al Abbadiyyeh, Chiyah, Choueifat, Fnaydek, Hadath, Jdeideh, Al Mina, Qlayaa, Qobayat, Sarafand, Aley, Anjar Hosh Moussa, Barja, Bebnine Al Aabdeh, Bechmezzine, Beit Chabab, Bikfaya Al Mhaydseh, Burj Hammoud, CHebaa, Halba, Hasbaya, Jezzine, Kfardebian, Kherbit Qanafar, Mishmish Akkar, Qob Elias Wadi El Delm, Qornayel, Tannourine, Zahleh Al Maallaka Teenayel, Zgharta/Ehden, as well as the Unions of Municipalities of Hasbani and Gharb Aala. These municipal partners had the opportunity to network with HE US Ambassador Richard, USAID representatives, and BALADI CAP’s Staff, as well as with 30 representatives from BALADI CAP’s Civil Society Organizations who also participated in the event.
BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party and HE US Ambassador addressed the audience to stress on the importance of the opportunity offered by the program to empower municipalities to become more responsive to their constituencies’ needs. This official launching of the Municipal Technical Assistance Program allowed USAID to reiterate its commitment to strengthening local authorities’ capacity to better engage in public decision-making. Additionally, a closed technical discussion followed, allowing for BALADI CAP Chief of Party to address the doubts, queries and concerns of the municipal representatives. At the closing of the program, the latter expressed positive feedback about the event and their commitment to proceed with the program.
CEDG Kick-Off Event – July 14, 2016
Building Capacity of Municipalities to Face Growing Challenges in Lebanon
The Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building (BALADI -CAP) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched its Civic Engagement for Democratic Governance (CEDG) component during an event held on Thursday July 14, 2106. CEDG is a two-year capacity-building component of the larger BALADI CAP program with a focus on strengthening the institutional capacities of municipalities, primarily in organizational development, financial management, information technology, and disaster management/contingency planning. With a strong emphasis on increased citizen engagement in public policy and decision-making, component activities will assist municipalities to make better decisions and deliver quality public services.
CEDG will work with 35 selected municipalities throughout Lebanon and is in the process of conducting a mapping of the various municipalities in order to identify a geographically diverse pool of municipality partners that will take part in CEDG’s Tailored Technical Assistance Program (TTAP). This mapping exercise will examine the capacity of municipalities to commit to the intensive TTAP capacity-building approach, including the number of full-time employees, municipal council members, active municipal committees, and overall budgets.
The event brought together presidents and municipal council representatives from 15 municipalities across Lebanon in order to provide them with detailed information about the program and gauge their interest in participating. Following introductory visits, a final list of CEDG municipality beneficiaries will be announced and implementation of the benchmark capacity assessments will begin.
“We hope one day we become an e-municipality, whereby everything becomes online. This will be a cornerstone to combating corruption, something which has sadly become all too familiar in Lebanon”, said Antoine Abu Younes, Vice President of the Zahle Maalka Municipality.
During his presentation, BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El Zein, stressed the importance of the comprehensive approach the program applies during its interventions, including regular participatory benchmark capacity assessments, standard and specialized training workshops, on-the-job coaching and Community of Practice regional meetings. The tailored technical assistance and follow-up provided by BALADI-CAP’s municipal experts in improving the individual capacity of municipality staff will impact overall institutional performance, while ensuring the institutionalization and sustainability of the acquired skills within municipal institutions.
The presentation was followed by an active Question & Answer session where the attendees raised concerns and voiced challenges that they face at the municipal level, including those municipalities which are hosting a high concentration of Syrian refugees and the resulting impact on service delivery, resource management and security concerns. “Resource management is the single most important element to bring our municipality into the 21st century”, said Captain Marwan Al Aaawar, President of the Municipality of Qornayel. “We have invested in 25 young men and women by providing them with the necessary training and courses to become active members of the local police force, firefighters, etc.”
The discussion allowed for the exchange of information between municipalities and an overall consensus on the importance of CEDG in tackling these priority cross-cutting issues.
CEI Bidder’s Conference – June 24, 2016
Introduction & Activity Background
On June 24, 2016, USAID-funded Building Alliances for Local Advancement, Development and Investment – Capacity Building (BALADI CAP) project organized a “Bidder’s Conference” at the Padova Hotel in Beirut. The goal of the Conference was to start the process of bringing CSO applicants to advocacy grants together to create synergies, partnerships, and coalitions as well as to discuss the importance of networking. The Conference was conducted upon the receipt of the expressions of interest EOIs from applicant CSOs, based on the activities listed in the Request for Application 605 100 06 RFA2. The RFA2 that was announced to the civil society organizations (CSOs) under three advocacy areas/clusters: Human Rights; Environment – Solid Waste management; and, Accountability & Good Governance.
The number of attendees who have participated in the event was 47 (27 Female & 20 Male) representing 27 CSOs.
Session I: Introduction of Attendees & the BALADI CAP Project
The objective of this session, facilitated by Senior Advocacy Specialist, was to break the ice among the participants and to introduce BALADI CAP and the Civic Engagement Initiative (CEI) component. Participants were grouped into their respective issue networks and were asked to discuss and present the main policy challenges facing network members. CSO members then presented those challenges to other networks/CSOs.
Following the groups’ presentations, BALADI CAP Chief of Party, Dr. Fares El-Zein, introduced the program to the attendees and explained the three components of BALADI CAP, highlighting the importance of networking and coalition-building under the CEI component.
Session II: Civic Engagement Initiative Pre-Grant Award Phase
The objective of this session was: 1) to introduce the participants to the different phases of the Civic Engagement Initiative (CEI) component, its objectives and the expected results, 2)for participants to form an idea about the time and effort needed to arrive at the proposal submission phase.
Participants were requested to remain in groups and to carefully read the road map document to CEI activities as prepared by the BALADI CAP team. The document/roadmap was made available to each participant in both English and Arabic. The roadmap illustrated the activities to be conducted under the CEI component for the three months period to come – mainly prior to the CSOs’ grants issuance, specifically: Bidders’ Conference, Setting the Agenda, Problem Solving Groups, Topic Discussion Groups, Concept Note, Proposal Writing Training and Coaching and Final Application.
Participants were then requested to provide any inquiries they might have to issue network members, other networks, and ultimately to BALADI CAP’s Chief of Party. The BALADI CAP team provided answers to all inquiries, and participants received a complete understanding of the pre-application phase.
Session III: Eligibility Requirements for RFA 2
BALADI CAP’s Deputy Chief of Party provided a comprehensive presentation about the eligibility requirements for RFA2. A Q&A session followed. The session tackled the following key points:
- Eligible/ Ineligible Entities
- Eligible/ Ineligible Activities
- Selection Criteria for: a) Responsiveness of the technical approach; b)Organizational Experience and Capability; and, c) Proposed Personnel and Management Plan
Session IV: Networking and Building Partnerships
The session was intended to reinforce and optimize the networking opportunities among the participants. BALADI CAP’s team had prepared an Identity (ID) Card template per CSO that included information about the organization, its human resources, projects, geographical spread, development interventions, number of permanent and part-time staff, etc…
The ID cards were posted on a “gallery wall”. In parallel, a “networking matrix sheet” was distributed to attendees, which allowed them to check all attending CSOs based on their organizational capacity and networking priorities. Participants were requested to walk through the gallery and identify their potential partners by ticking specific boxes within their networking matrix. When properly filled, the “networking matrix” provided a visual for each CSO on its best potential partners for the project to which has applied (through an Expression of Interest – EOI).
Thanks to this networking and coalition building exercise, organizations succeeded in identifying potential partners, the latter of whom they will be contacting to check for possibilities of partnership under the BALADI CAP CEI component.
Resources: Conference Presentation