Impact Alliance

Impact Alliance mobilizing NGO capacity in Cameroon
A success story from Bamenda, Cameroon
by Dan Barthmaier
August 25, 2005


A group of graduating students display their certificates
at the end of a workshop.
As a Johns Hopkins SAIS student completing summer internship with The Fomunyoh Foundation (TFF) in Bamenda, Cameroon, part of my assignment was to help facilitate capacity building workshops for local NGOs. Bamenda and the Northwest Province of Cameroon are endowed with an active NGO sector, with local grassroots organizations covering various fields. As TFF's mission is to help build local capacities and help strengthen civil society and democracy in Cameroon, I had an opportunity to work with a wide variety of NGOs. These ranged from HIV/AIDS groups to farming cooperatives, Muslim Women's groups, and handicapped associations. In spite of their laudable aims and activities, many of these organizations lacked necessary tools to achieve them in an efficient manner. Impact Alliance's resource center filled the gap and helped us meet the need of local NGOs in Bameda. The Resource Center proved to be invaluable for providing the information needed to conduct the workshops to build capacity of these local NGOs.

The Impact Alliance has extensive resources on various practice areas of capacity building — compiled from sources from around the world. For our workshop, it provided excellent materials from a wide variety of experienced NGOs and practitioners which allowed us to choose the most applicable sections and combine them to create a thorough and valuable curriculum for our class. Organizations were particularly interested in strategic planning, project design, monitoring and evaluation and resource mobilization. The easy accessibility of the resources on various topics of interest on the web portal enabled us to continually update and revise our curriculum to meet the needs of the class as they progressed, and address new questions as they arose. elle comme dans l'avenir, et je crois que le moment venu le Ndi cherchera à apporter sa contribution.

In the course of 6 week-long workshops over 100 individuals from over 40 different local NGOs participated in the interactive sessions. They received information and shared experiences they possessed. All sessions were received enthusiastically and participants were excited to learn about different methods practiced by NGOs from other corners of the world. It was particularly beneficial for the Bamenda NGOs to realize that they were capable of performing with the same efficiency as other NGOs from other parts of the world — and recognize that in fact, many of them were already doing so. As one participant said, "the workshops have taught me that we have the ability to perform efficiently in our own community. Before, I thought we had to look abroad for assistance. Now I know that we have the capacity right here under our noses."

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