Selecting a Partner for NGO in Nigeria
This piece is an executive summary of the processes and steps required for selecting a winning Implementing Partner for development work. It is the first in a series meant to enrich the body of knowledge available on the topic and provide guidance to local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) desiring to manage donor funds.
Local NGOs provide the vehicle for effective intervention in their areas because of their closeness to the local communities. Faith-based organizations for example, command large followership, while community coalitions are established by the communities themselves.
1.1 LOCAL IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS ...view middle of the document...
However, so many of them have low capacity and therefore require technical support and mentoring to move forward.
A good number of the NGOs are providing services in areas where donor funds are available. This explains why majority are in the area of Reproductive health and HIV/AIDS to the exclusion of other sensitive areas of societal need like economic empowerment, education, drug abuse etc. Faith-based organizations established by their parent bodies to assist needy members have the largest network of branches across Nigeria, but lack large scale intervention capabilities.
There is a huge skill gap in the sector. For local NGOs who have partnered donor agencies in the past, a lot of their staff has been trained in different areas, but the budget constraints of retaining such staffs, that will thereafter step-down the knowledge acquired to others is a challenge. The situation is not helped by donor requirement that personnel costs on a project should not exceed 10-25% of fund received, leaving local NGOs with the option of part-time staff and volunteers for the execution of the programs. This has implications on quality of service and sustainability of programs. Sometimes, you will find out that service delivery operators do not understanding the concept and strategies being adopted, even after project orientation training because there are no experienced program officers to guide them.
Governance is another challenge facing the sector. Quite a number of them are managed like one-man business without any visible organogram, no transparency and employees have limited information about what is going on. Sometimes, it is possible there is a board, but such boards are just on paper because they hardly meet. The Executive Director is left to run the organization single-handedly; he takes all the decisions and informs the other directors. You will find out that it is very easy for such organization to deviate their goal into other areas without check. Organizations like these, present the highest risk for a donor agency.
However, despite these challenges, some local NGOs have recorded successes in their chosen areas. Driven by passion to touch lives and visionary leadership, they have contributed their time and money into causes they believe in, leaving indelible marks in the lives of their target group. In summary, the major challenges facing local NGOs can be summarized to include:
o Manpower shortage
o Governance and integrity issues
o Little partnership and collaboration among existing NGOs
o Budget constraints.
3. SELECTION PROCESS:
The process of selecting Implementing Partners may take the following steps:
1. Solicitation / Expression of Interest advertisement
2. Short listing of Applicants
3. Evaluation / Selection of prospective NGOs
4. Pre-Award visit and fact finding
5. Review of finding and Final Selection
6. Streamlining proposals and budgets of prospective NGOs