AFKAR 3: best practices and lessons learned
In the framework of promoting good governance practices in NGO management, AFKAR program produced a set of practical publications, in collaboration with specialized experts. These publications were the result of more than two years of training sessions, targeting civil society organizations, as well as representatives of ministries and municipalities. AFKAR team summarized his experience, shared best practices and lessons learned, and detailed the steps taken to solve the emerging gaps within the projects.
The english booklet, entitled "AFKAR 3 Sharing Best practices and Learnings", clarified AFKAR 3 program role in providing technical support to civil society organizations during the implementation of their programs and in strengthening their capacities, as well as government employees involved in the training. The publication covered three topics. The first is a detailed explanation of the civil society organizations reality in Lebanon and their orientations, regarding services, advocacy, and participation in the formulation of public policies. The second part presented the challenges faced by these organizations at the internal organizational level and in terms of cooperation with the stakeholders, especially in reaching the policy makers. The booklet also expanded, in part three, the lessons learned from Afkar 3. This section focused on the importance of monitoring and evaluation, conclusions and lessons learned in project follow-up. It pointed to the necessity to take into consideration the experiences, the processes adopted and highlighted the successful practices, as an essential part of addressing the issue of information and organizations awareness. It also stressed on the importance of measuring the impact expected from the beginning of the project and beyond.
The publication warned against resorting to project experts in the organizations, during the preparation phase, based on their own experiences, without taking into consideration the field reality and the stakeholders role. Therefore, this situation leads to difficulties on the level of feasibility and impact. The booklet pointed to the lack of interest shown by organizations generally in the follow-up and evaluation fields. It recommended the compatibility and complementarity of the various documents of the project, taking into account the logical framework at all steps. As well, it suggested a balance in the team members distribution tasks.
Regarding cooperation, building partnerships and alliances, the relations between the organizations themselves and the local authorities in particular should be strengthened in order to avoid lacks and problems, aiming to ensure the sustainability of the projects and encouraging the adoption of memorandums of understanding.
In terms of capacity building, the booklet stressed on the importance of the participatory approach in the preparation phase, through trainings with various stakeholders from civil, governmental and municipal organizations.
Among the recommendations and observations emanating from field visits and monitoring, the manual, prepared by Transtec experts, suggested on evaluation committees to extend the field visits evaluation process, before signing any project, in order to identify the weaknesses and the accurate elements requesting follow-up. It pointed to the necessity to assess technical resources by highlighting the issues of governance and management, both financially, organizationally, and on human resources level, as well as highlighting partnerships and coordination ways. Besides, it focused on the central role of local groups and rights holders.