Strengthening Small Organisations with Big Ambitions is a two-year project aiming to support small UK charities working internationally, to improve their resilience and provide more effective support to partner organisations and communities overseas. Funding is provided by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) through a Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) Capacity Development Grant.
As part of the project, INTRAC is offering capacity strengthening support to small UK-based charities working in international development with three training courses, tailored mentoring packages, and a series of five toolkits.
A core target group of 16 organisations enrolled in March 2021. These organisations have contributed to the initial co-creation phase, so that the contents, format, and logistics of the project activities could be responsive to their needs and priorities. Additional UK-based small organisations have been able to send a delegate on the training courses. The toolkits, while designed with this specific target audience in mind, will also serve a much larger audience of small non-governmental and civil society organisations across the world.
The programme is built on the following ethos and values:
- Valuing smaller organisations’ role in supporting communities
- Being responsive to needs
- Promoting cross-learning, support and collaboration
- Leaving a lasting legacy
The key topics that were identified as common top priorities were advocacy, partner capacity strengthening (PCS) and monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL), together with issues of organisational development such as planning for exit strategies, and strategic planning.
As part of this project, we delivered the following training courses:
- Advocacy: June – July 2021
- Partner Capacity Strengthening: September – November 2021
- Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning: January – March 2022
All three online training courses were articulated in six modules, with both self-paced activities on INTRAC e-learning platform, and regular live interactive sessions on Zoom. Contents draw on INTRAC extensive knowledge base and hands-on experience of the trainers, and they have been specifically tailored to the needs and operational constraints of very small organisations targeted by this project.
The 16 “core” organisations have received additional support via mentoring on a topic of their choice within INTRAC areas of competence. Mentoring is tailored individual support from an expert in the subject matter (often also a trainer) who can help review and apply theoretical learning to the individual’s current work and context, gain contextual or issue-specific support, and/or advise on developing plans, systems or strategy. Each organisation received a “mentoring package” comprising an inception call with their mentor, followed by 4 sessions lasting approximately one hour each. Mentoring took place between July 2021 and March 2022.
The toolkits, published in June 2022, are designed to complement the capacity development activities, and to bring the learning to a wider audience of small charities across the world. Drawing on the experience of the toolkits published as part of the 2010-2013 Peer Learning programme for small and diaspora organisations and which are still used today, INTRAC has condensed the learnings into five practical, freely downloadable resources available to a much larger audience of tiny and small organisations. This will ultimately enable us to contribute to our mission of influencing “positive social change by strengthening civil society organisations, help them develop, engage with others, and do what they do better.”