First Provincial Round Table
13 Aug 2017
SUMMARY REPORT OF 1ST PROVINCIAL ROUNDTABLE ON CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society (AICS) convened its 1th provincial roundtable on “Civil Society Organizations’ Financial Sustainability” on November 21, 2016 in Herat province. The main purpose of the roundtable was to discuss CSOs’ financial sustainability, identify key challenges impeding financial sustainability of CSOs and come up with recommendations for follow up measures. The roundtable attended by 32 (19 male, and 13 female) experts and leaders from CSOs, government, media, and International None-Governmental Organizations (INGOs).
At the inauguration, Mr. Samirullah Popal, Policy Engagement Specialist of AICS welcomed the participants, explained the ground rules for roundtable discussion and introduced the agenda. Subsequent to participants’ introduction, Mr. Popal delivered a presentation on “The State of Enabling Environment for CSOs in Afghanistan” a report recently published by AICS. The main purpose of the presentation was to establish linkage between findings of stated report on CSOs’ financial viability and purpose of routable, and to inspire thoughts and reflections of participants on discussion agenda. Followings are main discussion points of this roundtable:
- At the onset, a representative from Women Activities and Social Services Association presented his views about importance of CSOs financial sustainability and indicated that lack of CSOs’ access to financial resources has affected CSOs performance, services and ultimately their credible image in the society. He also added that declining funding opportunities for CSOs will further impede CSOs activities and civil society development as well as deteriorate enabling working environment for CSOs in the country.
- Other participants also added their views and recognized financial sustainability as a biggest challenge for CSOs not only in Herat province but all over the country. Some participants referred their discussions to Ministry of Economy’ recent annual report which indicates that 62 CSOs closed down in Herat province mainly due to lack of access to funding.
- Some participants raised their concerns about further decline in donors fund in upcoming years and emphasized on collaborative action of CSOs to strategically overcome this problem.
- According to some participants, poor capacity of CSOs in proposal writing and lack of CSOs engagement in design of local projects have also reduced their fundraising opportunities. Some CSOs perceived that CSOs’ proposals are lost in some donor organizations or perhaps the donors might be interested only in few CSOs to contract.
- A number of participants believe that the donors should not be a sole source for funding CSOs. CSOs should have their strategy for raising fund form alternative sources, including private sector, membership fees, and individuals.
- Some participants shared their views by describing the role of improved networking between CSOs of Heart and Kabul provinces through different platforms such as Partnering for Public Good (PPG) initiative which can contribute to CSOs’ sustainability.
- Subsequent to Mr. Popal’s elaboration on Partnering for Public Good (PPG), most participants encouraged the role of donors, private sector and media in enlarging opportunities for CSOs sustainability. It was also requested that representatives from regional CSOs should become members of PPG working group to tighten links between Kabul and provinces for enhancing mutual collaborations and achieving better results.
- CSOs should work collectively to influence donors to simplify their funding requirements for small CSOs.
- Donors should set their funding priorities in line with real community needs as identified by CSOs. Donors should also consult provincial CSOs during design of their projects.
- Donors should design long term programs and undertake effective capacity building interventions to build local CSOs’ capacities on project management and fundraising.
- CSOs should continue to build their expertise and gain more specialized capacities in program design and implementation. This will help CSOs to ultimately take leading role in their programs and raise funds from diverse sources.
- CSOs should continue to strengthen their ties with each other. Close coordination between CSOs will allow them to share their resources and strengths which will have greater impact on their sustainability.