Empowering Effective INGOs

Our goal is to encourage and empower other small and medium size International Non-Governmental Organizations throughout the world. INGOs are increasingly becoming a driving force for international development, because of this it is crucial that INGOs are implemented and developed in a well-informed way.

Below are best practices for INGOs and the nonprofit sector in general. The focus ranges from how to accomplish change, to management and capacity building. When appropriate, comments are made regarding adapting these ideas to cultural and socioeconomic conditions found in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Strategic Planning

Planning is important, but it’s only a plan. Managers need to recognize that plans and strategies also “emerge” from the work (Mintzberg) and should not tie themselves down to plans if they want to be effective, because organizations need to be able to adapt to changes circumstances. The unpleasant truth is that managers, even with detailed plans, often do not act rationally, especially in situations of organizational threat (Galaskiewicz and Bielefeld, 1998). Still, it has become a best practice to use a logic model (planning model) to organize work (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). The key element in more recent logic models is the linking of measurable outcomes to the overall objective. This requires thinking that can link outcomes to longterm goals and that can efficiently incorporate measurable indicators into the organization’s daily activities. Logic models order the plan in the following manner: Overall goal, strategies related to the goal, activities detailed for each strategy, inputs (costs) related to each activity, outputs (eg, # of trainings) for each activity, and outcomes (tying activities back to the strategies and overall goal so that there is measurable data that shows whether or not the goal is being accomplished). If activities are not accomplishing the goal, they should be modified or eliminated. The use of a logic model implies that the organization has already defined the problem (best done through a review of the literature related to research on the problem) and developed a solution that is based on a solid or promising theory of evidence (Rossi, Lipsey and Freeman, 2004).

The DELIVER model (Shankar, 2009, 2011) was developed to guide the implementation of effective health programs in low resource countries. It is a structure for incorporating real- or quick-time feedback into the operational process so that learning can help guide improvements. The feedback should be data-driven and related to the outcomes that are important measures of success for the program. It also stresses the linking nature of relationships, both vertical and horizontal, that creates a collaborative work environment and allows data from the local people and frontline activities to drive decision-making.

Organizational Change

8 Ways to Succeed in Efforts of Transformational Change

  1. Establish a sense of urgency (ongoing, to build the leadership circle)
  2. Form a powerful guiding coalition (ongoing, moving throughout the organization)
  3. Create a vision (and strategies)
  4. Communicate the vision (a lot)
  5. Empower others to act on the vision (getting rid of obstacles, encourage risk taking)
  6. Plan and create short term wins (opportunity to praise people for their work)
  7. Consolidate improvement and produce still more change (through bigger wins, newly hired employees w the vision, new themes/projects)
  8. Institutionalize the new approach (helping people see the connections, succession planning)

(from Leading ChangeWhy Transformation Efforts Fail, Kotter, 1995, Harvard Business Review)

Necessity of User and Family Groups

This chart comes from the WHO-AIMS (World Health Organization’s Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems) and describes the prevalence of user/consumer and family associations by world regions as outlined by WHO.

In this study the countries used by region are

  • (AFR) African region: Burundi, The Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda
  • (AMR) Region of the Americas: Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay
  • (EMR) Eastern Mediterranean Region: Afghanistan, Egypt, Gaza Strip and West Bank, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia
  • (EUR) European Region: Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kosovo, Latvia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine
  • (SEAR) South-East Asia Region: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India (State of Uttarkhand), Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste

Of the 42 reporting countries, 34 reported data on user/consumer and family associations. Of these, 19 (8 LICs (Low income countries), 10 LMICs (Lower-middle income countries), and 1 UMIC (Upper-middle income countries)) reported not having user/consumer associations, and 16 (9 LICs, 6 LMICs, and 1 UMIC) reported not having any family associations. The presence or absence of user and family associations could not be determined for the remaining 8 countries. (WHO-AIMS, pg 58)

percentage of countries with user/consumer and family associations by WHO region

3/8 of countries surveyed in the Americas are entirely without any form of user/family groups. It is also important to note that less than half of the reporting countries had user/family groups. CHHD realizes that user/family groups are an important instrument to help towards improving mental health, especially in low resource areas. Due to this CHHD strives to increase efficiency, spread awareness, and build capacity of new and effective NGOs.

Capacity Building Resources for INGOs

Below are a few of the INGOs that we consult with in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the non-profit field.
Asociasion de Capacitacion e Investigacion para la Salud Mental (ACISAM)- ACISAM or The Association of Training and Research for Mental Health is located in San Salvador, El Salvador. This INGO integrates a group of professionals who develop coordination, training, research, support groups, direct intervention, and participatory communication to address issues affecting Mental Health in its various manifestations.
In accordance with providing the best quality care for Persons with Mental Disabilities we have created a qualitative evaluation of the FESEP (Family Education, Support, and Empowerment Program) that is run by ACISAM.
Congo Village School Project (CVSP)- CVSP strives to develop basic social and economic conditions in poverty-stricken rural societies located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. CVSP aims to increase community development by establishing a three-pronged approach. CVSP focuses on engaging and promoting education, farming, and sports programs.
Iglesia Bautista Discipulos de Cristo (IBDC)- IBDC or Disciples of Christ Baptist Church is a church group located in San Martin, El Salvador. IBDC focuses on community development by concentrating on urgent issues in the San Martin community. Led by Pastor Jaime, IBDC undertakes much needed projects such as the moving of 200 families from squatter settlements to a legal piece of land in which housing, running water, electrical connection, and a community setting can be provided.
Imagine is a women’s program that is international in scope- with implementation in Afghanistan, India, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. Imagine strives to select trainers from established NGOs specializing in women’s empowerment. After selection these trainers attend two US based trainings and become certified to conduct empowerment workshops for a minimum of 200 women in their country by the Empowerment institute’s School for Transformative Social Change. These 200 women are in turn responsible for communicating the core empowerment concepts to at least 25 individuals in their communities for a total of 5000 people affected by the empowerment workshops.
Seeds for Communities of Peace (SFCOP) – SFCOP is an NGO located in Burundi that aims at increasing the amount of peace in the area after over forty years of civil war and genocide. They plan on doing this by using a two pronged approach. The first step involves delivering food, shelter, medical help, education, and career/business training to over 120 orphans. The second step involves helping new refugees/immigrants in America with language/citizenship, health care, emotional healing, and employment.