The Collaborative Governance Program is taking a new step in capacity building with CSOs. Based on an abundance of information on strengths and weaknesses of the civil society sector as well as proven tools within and outside of the program, CGP addresses the challenge of strengthening individual CSOs – including, but not limited to, those who seek to receive CGP grants. CGP will address the need to strengthen not only CSOs that carry out the crucial functions of advocacy, monitoring, and government oversight, but also those organizations focused on providing social services. CGP will encourage the best practices of CSOs and implement strategies to address the needs of CSOs within the Kyrgyz Republic – large and small; experienced and inexperienced; national-regional-local; advocacy or service-oriented and covering a spectrum of service areas (i.e., health, educational, judicial, legislative, financial, energy, and economic).

CSO Mapping

CGP collaborates with other USAID programs, the U.S. Embassy’s Democracy Commission small grants program, Soros Foundation – Kyrgyzstan, and the Department for International Development (DFID) to identify cross-cutting themes and priority areas for cooperation  to ensure the efficient use of resources in all organizations. One way CGP facilitates the best use of resources is through CSO mapping. CSO mapping involves working with other USAID/USG programs to classifying CSOs by their mission/area of interest, geographical location, resources, and other factors.

CSO Assessment

Unique among USAID programs in the Kyrgyz Republic, CGP has both the necessary information on the sector’s overall trends, strengths, and weaknesses; as well as the tools to address those weaknesses. Grants to civil society are not likely to result in significant change or advancement of the sector unless there is an extended period strengthening of current organizational and human capacity at the CSO level. In July 2014, CGP announced an opportunity for CSOs to undergo voluntary assessment as a precondition for applying to the CGPs grants program.To register for CSO assessment, find more information at: http://cso-kg.org/ CGP will continue working with CSOs that demonstrate commitment to investing in their own organizational development.

CSO Health Report

CSO assessment will include the following 10 organizational parameters: mission and values, strategic planning, leadership and governance, operational planning, human resource management, public relations,CSO infrastructure, quality management, financial management, and financial security. CGP will assess each parameter using a toolkit that measures CSO capacity and sustainability. CSO assessments will be conducted at the national and regional levels. As the result of the assessments, CSO Health Report will be issued to each CSO that includes strengths and key areas that need improvement, and comments on all 10 organizational parameters.

Capacity Strengthening Plan

CGP will help CSOs develop their Capacity Strengthening Plans based on the CSO Health Reports. The Capacity Strengthening Plan is a strategic plan for improving a CSO’s organizational capacity by addressing its weaknesses and leveraging its strengths. It can include specific plans to receive additional training and technical assistance not available to all CSOs, only those who become grantees. The CSO Capacity Strengthening Plan includes recommendations for improvement in all 10 organizational parameter areas which were assessed in the CSO Health Report. Recommendations can involve measures and/or activities the CSO should undertake and/or new tools or approaches the CSO should use. Accompanying each recommendation will be the expected results, timeframes for achieving these results, and the CSO staff member(s) responsible for each piece of the plan. Prior to applying for a CGP grant, CSOs must receive a CSO Health Report and develop a Capacity Strengthening Plan.

Portfolio of Tailored Technical Assistance

CSOs are encouraged to participate in a series of nationally-offered workshops and seminars designed to address priority weaknesses highlighted during the diagnostic assessment.  CGP has provided 11 workshops and seminars including: “Successful grant proposal writing”; “Why Do Projects Need PR and Working with Media?”; “Making Your Organization More Competitive through Improved Quality of Your Project Budgets”; “Essentials of Monitoring and Evaluation System Development in Projects” (two rounds); "Governance and NGO's: strengthening the board"; “Effective and Responsible Advocacy” (two rounds); “The Foundations of Successful and Sustainable Organization Development”; “PR and Media Tools for Civil Society Organizations”; and “Grant budgeting and preparing financial reports for use of grant funds” (two rounds).

Since 2014, the USAID Collaborative Governance Program has trained 1,611 representatives of 238 CSOs during 97 seminars and conducted diagnostics for 324 CSOs to identify their strengths and weaknesses.