Building Partnerships for Organizational Change

The year 2015 was ushered in with the “Strengthening the Capacity of Philippine CSOs” project culminating event for participating civil society organizations (CSOs) after its 3-year implementation supported by the USAID. Recognizing the gains that the project brought in building the capacities in organizational development of the participating CODE-NGO members, the network resolved to adopt the project’s capacity building framework and its interventions, and enhance the framework to include Advocacy Effectiveness and Member Relations and Networking, two capacity areas underpinning the nature and typical role that are intrinsic to CSO networks. Included in the network’s decision to adopt the enhanced framework is the intent to replicate the project to cover more members of CODE-NGO.

CODE-NGO’s main challenge was mainstreaming this into the network’s capacity building initiatives for members given its limited resources and the demand for interventions such as this that is not normally covered under advocacies that donors support. This was partly remedied when the Strengthening the Capacity of Philippine CSOs project steering committee members and project management staff committed to continue working with CODE-NGO in replicating the project to its other members. It was also opportune that the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) appreciate the importance of organizational development and the key role that it plays in the success of CSOs engaging in social enterprise (SE).

With the support of PEF, the former project steering committee, and former project management staff, in August 2015, CODE-NGO embarked on a project titled Jumpstarting the CODE-NGO Strategic Capacity Building Program for the Sustainability of Member Networks” that aimed, among others, to set the foundation of the mentoring intervention by training of mentors within the network that will guide the organizational change process for the mentee CSOs that will be identified by the member networks.

By July 2016, the network has trained 36 volunteer mentors nationwide with 19 coming from NCR (National Capital Region) and Luzon, 10 from Visayas, and 7 from Mindanao. The training modules were patterned after the “Strengthening the Capacity of Philippine CSOs” mentor’s training design but adjustments were made based on the project learnings. In particular, this project added a session wherein the mentors of the Philippine CSOs project shared their over-all experience, challenges, gains and rewards and tips with the CODE-NGO mentors being trained. This session allowed the mentors being trained to have a deeper comprehension of the actual practice of mentoring.

After the training, the mentors conducted “entry-contracting activities” with the 62 mentee CSOs covered in the project. This segment of the project activity clarifies expectations between the volunteer mentor and mentee CSOs through discussion of mentoring objectives, working style, schedules, communication system, and feedback arrangements, among others. This ensures that the mentoring engagement is well-defined for both parties involved. Part of the initial activity of the mentor with his/her mentee CSOs is to assess the capacity of the organization using the tool that was developed by Philippine CSOs project and to prepare the capacity building plan and mentoring plan based on this. The mentor is also expected to assist mentee CSOs in navigating organizational change as the interventions are being implemented.

In its second year of project implementation from January to December 2017, PEF, the former project steering committee, and former project management staff, continue to support this CODE-NGO replication in its conduct of capacity building training workshops for mentee CSOs on the key pillars of network sustainability — Governance, Leadership, and Strategic Planning and Management, Resource Mobilization and Development, Program Development, Implementation and Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Financial Management, and Administrative and Personnel Management — and the implementation of the mentoring plan for the mentee CSOs.

Tanya Zaldarriaga is the Membership Officer of CODE-NGO.