2013

Sustainable Development through Capacity Building

CoffeeTrust Jun13

Project Description
The Coffee Trust has deepened its commitment to origin by emphasizing Capacity Building as a fundamental component to its comprehensive, integrated development work that focuses on education, health care, food security, and economic development in each project location. The Capacity Building Program is specifically established to strengthen local partner NGOs in the areas of organizational development, sustainable financing, and democratic decision-making as part of the greater plan to ensure the long-term sustainability of each partner NGO.

The Capacity Building program arose out of concern for the long-term sustainability of the local NGOs, as it is the local NGO that provides the foundation for each development project.  For our partners to continue to grow, deliver the quality services, and meet the inevitable challenges that will confront them over the long-term, The Coffee Trust decided to make a deeper commitment to their sustainable growth beyond developing, funding, monitoring, and evaluating the projects.

The Coffee Trust Capacity Building Program provides training and resources for each NGO in the areas of, 1) organizational development; to ensure a stronger impact on communitites served, 2) sustainable financing; to ensure long-term funding independent of The Coffee Trust and, 3) democratic decision making; to ensure programs are sensitive to the priorities, values, and culture of each community served.

How the Capacity Building Program Functions

SWOTs and Strategic Planning
The first steps focus on the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, undertaken with several NGOs during the first half of 2013. As part of the SWOT analysis, the executives, staff, and board members of the local NGOs had the opportunity to see themselves objectively, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and consider how to address their challenges. Long-term strategic plans and short-term business plans have resulted. Some examples of important and courageous decisions made by each organization follow.

The Honey Project
As an alternative to cash crop dependendency, The Coffee Trust supports a group of honey producers in the Ixil region.  After the initial SWOT, the beekeepers decided that their long term goal would be to form their own cooperative and operate independently of the coffee cooperative under whose auspices they were orgininally formed. The honey producers are now creating their own management systems and are pursuing a course toward financial self-sustainability in the next five years.

Food Security, Nutrition, Health Care
The Rural Development Institute (IDR) promotes food security, health, and nutrition. In the last three years, the IDR has developed a chicken raising project, established family and commuity gardens and promoted the construction and use of efficient, ventilated stoves in Sotzil, Guatemala.  During the Capacity Building exercise, the IDR identified the lack of involvement of its Board of Directors, and the need to seek a new Executive Director.

Since then, the board has reinvigorated itself. A board member took over as Executive Director, and the organization has commited to raising funds on its own. Additionally, the IDR is actively implementing the Campesina a Campesina methodology to expand in more communities at very little cost. The Campesino a Campesino methodology utilizes the experiences gained by the inital beneficiaries to share with others.  The project becomes sustainable when the initial beneficiaries become the promoters.  In this case, the initial beneficiaries will provide eggs to new families for chicken raising, teach gardening,  provide seeds to new families, and teach new families how to build effiicent stoves with local materials.

Women’s Savings and Micro-Credit
The Chajulense Women’s Association has become very successful in the areas of savings and micro-credit benefiting 675 women and their families.  The organization has grown slowly to ensure a solid foundation.  However, after the Capacity Building exercise, the organization recognized that it had to increase in size to become financially sustainable. Having already developed the skils to grow, all they needed was self-recognition and the willpower to do it.

The Coffee Trust Capacity Building Team
Paula Rodriguez of The Coffee Trust focuses on assessing the needs of each local NGO, identifying, hiring, and supervising the professional organizations that conduct numerous trainings and other activities, and evaluating the progress on an on-going basis.
Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Hernandez of Los Carlos Consulting focus on facilitating seminars for each NGO and providing management tools to support the training process.
Noelio Perez Recinos, of Perez&Recinos focuses on Audits and Control Procedures for efficient administrations.
Bill Fishbein of The Coffee Trust focuses on improving fudraising skills for each local NGO.
Jonathan Rosenthal of Just-Works Consulting focuses on Democratic Decision-Making for each local NGO.

Group seminars are conducted to introduce different subjects, such as hirearchy of leadership, roles and responsibilities, auditing, strategic planning, business planning, and many others.  Group seminars are followed by individual subject trainings with local NGO staff and executives.

Later this year, the first Democratic Decision-Making Seminar will take place adding a community-involvement-dimension to each NGO.

Contact Name:     Bill Fishbein
Web Site:     www.thecoffeetrust.org
Location:     San Gaspar Chajul, Guatemala
Email Address:     bill@thecoffeetrust.org
Phone Number:     505.670.9783

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