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.

CSO mapping

The Collaborative Governance Program is taking a new step in capacity building of 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 on how to engage the 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 more focused on providing social services. CGP will embrace the strengths and address the needs of CSOs within the Kyrgyz Republic – large and small; national-regional-local; advocacy or service oriented and covering a spectrum of topics and areas (i.e., health, educational, judicial, legislative, financial, energy, and economic); and experienced-inexperienced.

CGP collaborates with USAID programs, the U.S. Embassy’s Democracy Commission, the Soros Foundation –Kyrgyzstan program, and Department for International Development (DFID) to identify cross-cutting themes and priority areas for cooperation. CSO mapping including identification of CSOs by their mission/area of interest, geographical location, etc. enables a more efficient use of other program resources as well as facilitates the success of other programs seeking to empower and leverage the civil society sector.

CSO Assessment

Unique among USAID programs in the Kyrgyz Republic, CGP has both the necessary information on the sector’s overall patterns of strengths and weaknesses as well as tools to address those weaknesses. It is imperative that development organizations acknowledge and directly address the fact that grants to civil society will not result in much change or advancement of the sector unless there is an extended period of engagement at the individual CSO level for assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and then leveraging those strengths and mitigating the weaknesses. In summer of 2014, CGP will announce open door CSO assessment on a voluntary basis as a precursor to entering the grant application phase. CGP will continue working with those CSOs that elect to invest in their own organizational development without consideration to a grant. It is a measure of will to improve, which is critical for investing technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of such CSOs further.

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, linkages and networking and management of information, logistics management, quality management, financial management, and financial security. Each CSO parameter will be assessed using a tool that was created for measuring CSO capacity strengthening and its effectiveness. As the result of the assessment, a CSO Health Report will be shared with each assessed CSO that will include strengths and achievements, key areas for improvement, and comments on all 10 organizational parameters.

Capacity Strengthening Plan

CGP, through its partner Association of Civil Society Support Center (ACSSC), will provide assistance to assessed CSOs in developing their Capacity Strengthening Plans based on the CSO Health Reports. Availability of CSO Health Reports and Capacity Strengthening Plans are essential conditions and requirements to participate in CGP grant programs. To submit application documents for RfA, CSO should first submit a brief concept paper on relevant topics and pass through a competitive selection process to be “short listed” for RfA and then submit full application documents.