GUIDE TO SELECTING AN IMPLEMENTING PARTNER.
PRESENTED BY: CHINEDU O. AGORSON, Bsc, ACA, ACIB,CISA,CCNA email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
This piece is an executive summary of the processes and steps required for selecting a winning Implementing Partner for development work. It is the first in a series meant to enrich the body of knowledge available on the topic and provide guidance to local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) desiring to manage donor funds.
Local NGOs provide the vehicle for effective intervention in their areas because of their closeness to the local communities. Faith-based organizations for example, command large followership, while community coalitions are established by the communities themselves.
1.1 LOCAL IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS (IPs)
Implementing partners are Non-Governmental Organizations, Community-Based Organizations, Community Coalitions and Faith-Based Organizations that are recipient of donor funding or support to implement development intervention activities in their community or areas of coverage.
They are expected to be not-for-profit organizations established with strong social network and capacity to support the intervention objective of the donor. They should have program experience and track record, with formal organizational structure, management processes and actively managed by their Trustees or Directors.
1.2 BASIS OF PARTNERSHIP:
The basis of the partnership between the donor and the implementing partner may include: 1. To implement intervention activities at different levels using local NGOs. 2. To strengthen the capacity of the organization to provide quality social services. 3. To mentor and nurture such organizations into bigger players in social service delivery.
2. SYNOPSIS OF LOCAL NGO ENVIRONMENT:
The development sector in Nigeria is very vibrant with a lot of NGOs registering their interest in different areas of social and economic needs. Some of the organizations are young which indicates a greater interest in development work by many. However, so many of them have low capacity and therefore require technical support and mentoring to move forward.
A good number of the NGOs are providing services in areas where donor funds are available. This explains why majority are in the area of Reproductive health and HIV/AIDS to the exclusion of other sensitive areas of societal need like economic empowerment, education, drug abuse etc. Faith-based organizations established by their parent bodies to assist needy members have the largest network of branches across Nigeria, but lack large scale intervention capabilities.
There is a huge skill gap in the sector. For local NGOs who have partnered donor agencies in the past, a lot of their staff has been trained in different areas, but the budget constraints of retaining such staffs, that will thereafter step-down the knowledge acquired to others is a challenge. The situation is not helped by donor requirement that personnel costs on a project should not exceed 10-25% of fund received, leaving local NGOs with the option of part-time staff and volunteers for the execution of the programs. This has implications on quality of service and sustainability of programs. Sometimes, you will find out that service delivery operators do not understanding the concept and strategies being adopted, even after project orientation training because there are no experienced program officers to guide them.
Governance is another challenge facing the sector. Quite a number of them are managed like one-man business without any visible organogram, no transparency and employees have limited information...