Non-Profit Management Course Builds Georgian CSOs into Sustainable and Strong Organizations
Georgia has over 16,000 registered non-governmental organizations (NGO) – a very high rate per-capita. Despite a highly saturated market, overall capacity of the NGO sector is strikingly substandard in the country. There are a few notable exceptions of well-functioning local organizations being successful at generating a heat around issues of public concern and garnering citizen support, but recent polling done by the Caucasian Research Resource Center (CRRC) showed that only 28% of respondents trust NGOs. When compared to other Georgian institutions this number is very low.
Recognizing the need of a strong civil society in Georgia for ensuring government transparency and accountability, the USAID-funded Advancing CSO Capacities and Engaging Society for Sustainability Project (ACCESS) invested in a comprehensive approach aimed at building capacities of the Georgian CSOs, turning them into the credible and well-rounded actors in their fields. In partnership with the Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC), in October, 2015 ACCESS launched a five-month long certification program in Management of Non-Profit Organizations – the first of its kind in Georgia. The curriculum gives a comprehensive knowledge to its beneficiaries in NGO and Project Management, covering a wide variety of topics, including: the core concepts and values of a non-governmental organization; organizational strategic planning; project cycle management; fundraising and sustainability; PR and social marketing; financial management; leading and managing people; carrying out advocacy campaigns, etc. While short-term trainings in similar topics are regularly offered to Georgian CSOs, this is the first time they have been combined in a meaningful progression of a certification course. The course is especially important for the sector, given that no Georgian university confers degrees or teaches courses in non-profit management.
20 NGO representatives completed the first course in April, 2016. One of the program’s alumnae is Nana Gogokhia from the “IDP (internally displaced people) Women Association – Consent”. A lawyer by education, Nana was mainly involved in the legal work of her organization before entering the course; however, after the coursework she has acquired the necessary management skills to expand her effectiveness at Consent. For the first time in her professional career, Nana prepared a project proposal andwon grant funding for her organization. When speaking about the course, Nana said: “I wrote a project proposal for the first time in my life and got funding. The knowledge and practical experience (acquired though the course) of building a project logical framework helped me in effectively formulating the project goals and objectives. I also learned that Project Management is a separate subject that needs thorough knowledge and scrutiny”.
Another strong example of the course effectiveness is alumnus Giorgi Gogishvili, director of the NGO “Migration Center”. Giorgi has been leading the organization for four years. The course helped him to significantly enhance his knowledge in project and organizational management: “Apart from the project cycle management skills that I’ve already used in practice when submitting a proposal to the donor, the course helped me in refining internal organizational management systems. Our organization revised the Charter and made it more practical and easy to use. It reflects existing management practices in the organization and helps the staff members to manage their daily operations. Now I fully understand the importance of the internal regulations and written policy documents for effective management of an organization” – says Giorgi. “Another positive consequence of the course is that I met with many valuable people from various fields. We plan to implement joint projects and supplement each other’s skills and expertise” – he added.
The second round of the Non-Profit Management module started in April, 2016. EWMI ACCESS will continue funding the course for three more years. ACCESS hopes that similar courses will make Georgian NGOs and civil society in general, more capable of setting priorities and managing their projects in a professional manner. The ultimate goal of these and similar other initiatives is to ensure that NSOs are reliable stakeholders for the government and the society, bringing public voice and concerns on the political agenda and facilitating democratic reforms.