Kenya - Civil Society Organization Development and Capacity building for effective HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment
Primary thematic focus: Sub-national capacity development: local solutions, national strengths
In a Nutshell:
Health services, work places and families in Kenya continue to face the challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Civil Society Organizations have an important role to play in spearheading community response against HIV & AIDS. This role is acknowledged and stipulated in the global and country level multi-sectoral Strategic frameworks.
Various good practices have been identified in HIV & AIDS specific health, humanitarian and development work since the discovery of the first AIDS case. Application of these practices requires certain levels of organizational and programming competences. The role of civil society in health is to advocate, facilitate and empower communities to manage their health and gain access to healthcare. Civil society has been recognized to play a key role in providing and optimizing health services, mobilizing and organizing health promotion campaigns and messages, representing public interests for policy setting, promoting equity in resource mobilization and allocation, and monitoring the quality of care and responsiveness of health services. Civil Society organizations (CSOs) can, and do mobilise, empower and support communities to respond effectively to the HIV & AIDS epidemic. CSOs are represented at all levels of decision making in the multi-sectoral structures of HIV & AIDS implementation frameworks of One agreed HIV and AIDS Action framework, One national HIV and AIDS coordinating Authority, One agreed country level monitoring and evaluation mechanism.
In its Global Strategy Framework on HIV & AIDS, UNAIDS recognizes that the outcome of the battle against AIDS will be decided at the community level and “local capacity for prevention, care and support efforts need to be recognized, affirmed and strengthened”. In the fight against HIV/AIDS, CSOs have certain comparative advantages over other actors. On the other hand one of the barriers that restrict the ability of CSOs to effectively implement actions that will prevent further HIV transmission, provision of care and support and advocacy include limited organizational capacity for sustained impact. African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) recognized the institutional challenges facing CSOs as partners in its Maanisha Community Focused Initiatives to Control HIV/AIDS programme and invited Impact Centre to provide capacity building support. In consultation with AMREF, Impact Centre identified the following 10 key areas of organizational competences relevant for effective HIV & AIDS prevention, treatment, care and advocacy: CSO Governance and Leadership management of financial resources, Administration and Human Resource Management, HIV and AIDS Project Management, HIV and AIDS Project Monitoring and Evaluation, HIV and AIDS Technical Capacity, Networking and Advocacy, Stakeholder Involvement, Sustainability and HIV & AIDS Knowledge Management. Impact Centre developed a holistic capacity building approach around the 10 competency areas and directly supported CSOs in the Lake Victoria region. Many others were assisted with technical support by the programme implementation team.
Between 2004-2009 the programme was scaled up from the initial 19 to 82 districts across 4 provinces. The CSO capacity building approach developed is based on the systems theory of organizations. Its key principles and values are partnership, Ownership and commitment by CSOs and Organizational Learning. Implementation processes include, organizational capacity assessment, training, tailor-made technical assistance (in organizational systems development, financial management/grant management, monitoring and evaluation among others), coaching and mentoring. The process is supported by a comprehensive guidance manual.
Results and Critical Factors:
Capacity building is a key strategy for the promotion and sustainability of health prevention programs. Our approach not only enhances project/program implementation in the short-term, but provides skills to organizations and individuals that can enhance HIV & AIDS efforts over the long-term. CSOs who have directly or indirectly interacted with Impact Centre’s approach have demonstrated greater understanding and application of good practices in leadership and governance, financial accountability and transparency, increased absorption capacity and a more focused approach to health/development within their communities.
These strengths have translated into more relevant activities, better service delivery and improved effectiveness in terms of aid utilization, project impact and overall sustainability of the organizations. Scaling up of one of the health programmes (AMREF’s) that we have been associated with to an almost national level is a good indicator of the appropriateness of our approach to capacity development. Our capacity building methodology easily lends itself to a universal application by funding agencies, intermediary organizations, capacity building consultants and civil society organizations themselves. To be effective, it should be demand driven and implemented through a participatory approach and great emphasis placed on ownership at the organization level.
Name of Primary Contact Person: Patrikc Gichira
Title of Primary Contact Person: Executive Director