Given my background in vaccines, some of my friends and colleagues think that I’m travelling from one village to another in the rural areas of Kenya to do vaccination campaigns. Although that would be a great thing to do but it is not the case. Actually I am working at the HQ of Amref and I am still wearing the same formal suits I used to wear back home on work days.
So I decided to give you more insight about my assignment and explain in details what I am doing here. To simplify things, NGO’s are divided into two types: Donors who give money to projects that address certain needs in the disadvantaged communities, and the other NGO’s who take the money from the donors and implement these projects. Amref is an example of the 2nd type, so it is implementing projects after getting funds from the Donors.
It is worth knowing that donors do not give funds haphazardly, they usually announce the fund opportunities through RFA (Request for Applications/proposal), and the implementing NGO’s will compete for these opportunities by sending proposals on the design of the project and how the money will be used to meet the objectives specified in the RFA.
My assignment is to work with the program development department at Amref to improve the quality of the proposals submitted and increase the winning probability. This should be done after reviewing the department’s processes at the level of HQ and the countries, to identify the gaps and correct them. In addition to that another objective is to improve the capacity for country offices staff to build and maintain donor relations.
In the last couple of months I was listening and understanding the stakeholder’s feedback to diagnose the issues they are facing. In fact we have identified two main issues: The lack of dedicated proposal writers who are currently involved in other assignments, and the absence of CRM team who creates and maintains relations with the donors, brands Amref’s strengths and collects market intelligence information.
My pulse partner and I prepared a proposal which addresses these gaps. Our proposal included team restructuring, establishing a dedicated global proposal development and CRM teams which are not bound to geographical locations. This should help Amref to effectively compete for the scarce funding and ensure that it remains on the cutting edge of resource mobilization and donor relations.
I have to mention that my pulse senior coach and mentor helped me a lot during this time by opening my eyes to many aspects of project management. They emphasized on the importance of sufficient diagnosis before rushing into the design phase, choosing the right management strategy for key stakeholders and preparation of risks management plan.
Next week, I will be heading to Uganda to attend Amref’s communication and fund raising forum, where we are planning to discuss the proposal with the global fund raising team and the senior management.
Wish me Luck 🙂