Building Capacity for Management and Monitoring
The Andrew Lees Trust (ALT UK) has supported the development of local Malagasy NGO Andry Lalana Toahana (ALT MG) since its inception in 2009. This has been part of the Trust’s long-term commitment following its Responsible Exit from Madagascar.
Research has shown that leadership and management skills are critical for developing and sustaining local civil society organisations. Developing core competencies is therefore a necessary strategy for the long-term health of the local organisation and for supporting local people’s development agendas.
As ALT MG’s programme of activities and community reach has grown, so too has the demand to manage and monitor the work across multiple work teams and geographic distances.
These demands inevitably place pressure on the Malagasy NGO to increase its capacity. However, international and national donors do not always provide sufficient budget to assist local NGOS in this aspect of their work .
ALT UK therefore aims to be responsive to the requests for help in this aspect of ALT MG’s development.
Growing New Skills to support Famine Relief
One example is ALT MG’s work on the famine relief in the deep south. As the activity advanced, so too did the volume of monitoring and reporting.
In particular, collecting and recording data on cash transfer payments and family support activities. The exacting science and reporting around data management and evaluations is time consuming and requires specialist skills.
ALT MG therefore sought financial assistance from ALT UK in order to be able to recruit a specialist in monitoring and evaluation.
Funds were sent to support the recruitment and salary (for the first year) of a local Malagasy expert who could assist the Director with monitoring and reporting demands, and with the development of new funding requests, vital for the long-term health of the organisation.
ALT MG identified and contracted Mme Olga Marovavy SOLONDRENIBE, a technical expert in computer management and monitoring and evaluation, with excellent experience across a range of development projects in the south of Madagascar.
Mme Olga joined the ALT MG team in February 2018 to provide this specific skill set, as well as providing additional management and fundraising support for ALT MG.
The financial help that is coming from the UK is very important for strengthening the capacity of ALT Mg. The projects we are running currently do not afford the possibility for us to develop, as we must, because the donor budgets are so restricted; there are no budget lines to support admin or an assistant’s salary, for example. …There are still so many development activities to do in Madagascar and the team benefits from Olga’s expertise to apply for these opportunities in order to stabilise the future of the organisation and also to ensure the competence necessary to assist the local population”. Hanitra Raharimana, Director ALT Mg
Mme Olga’s arrival brought many positive changes. The entire database on the FID/FSS famine relief programme was re-designed and brought fully up to date with all cash transfer payments and related activity. It was reorganised to be more manageable.
Mme Olga also assisted the field team to improve their skills and capacity to manage data collection for field reporting requirements.
Mme Olga also developed a new funding proposal for Tany Meva (a Malagasy Environmental funding body). She successfully secured the Tany Meva funding to develop a brick making enterprise for local people, which provides livelihoods as well as reducing deforestation and related environmental impacts (houses are usually built from wood in the south).
It was with huge sadness we heard of Mme Olga’s sudden death in late 2018, following a misdiagnosed illness. The ALT MG team were devastated by the loss of this warm and talented professional. ALT MG has dedicated its local artisan brick-making project to her memory.