MITRA Samaj phased out from the USAID-funded Civil Society: Mutual Accountability Project (CS:MAP) as ISO (Intermediary Service Organisation) after successfully strengthening organisational capacity and sustainability of partnering civil society organisations (CSOs) working in USAID priority sectors who now can advance local solutions to the interest of public of their respective working areas and districts.
On January 23, 2017, MITRA Samaj was commissioned by FHI 360 with “Enhancing CSO and Media Capacity for Constructive Government Engagement and Public Oversight”, a three-year sub-project under the five-year USAID funded CS:MAP. During the project tenure, MITRA Samaj facilitated Organisation Capacity Assessment (OCA) of 10 CSOs—eight in 2017 and five in the later years with repetition of some CSOs—and supported them in identifying their institutional strength and areas of improvement, followed by developing Institutional Improvement Plan. Alongside, MITRA Samaj also facilitated a total of 21 sessions of Advocacy Readiness Index of eight CSOs and supported partnering CSOs to develop their capacity building plans.
Various trainings on advocacy, social accountability, good governance, public service oversight, participatory evidence-based action research (PEAR), and others were planned and conducted as part of capacity building of partnering CSOs and the implementation of their action plans. In addition, MITRA Samaj led policy revision workshops, orientations on Local Level Policies and Operation Guidelines, and provided technical backstopping to the partnering CSOs to build the capacity of their constituencies, local bodies, citizens, coalitions, etc. on social accountability advocacy, and good governance though orientations, interactions, trainings, etc.
Coaching and mentoring was one of the key activities of the project, wherein, the Capacity Development Specialists from MITRA Samaj conducted on-site and distance coaching and mentoring sessions to the board members and staffs of partnering CSOs and supported them in implementing their action plans aimed at improving their institutional and programmatic management. This was secured by supporting CSOs in developing their five-year strategic plans, one-year operational plans, human resource and financial policies, monitoring and evaluation guidelines, communication guidelines, resource mobilisation guidelines, succession plans, crisis communication guidelines, etc. A minimum standard of good governance was also established in all partnering CSOs through coaching and mentoring support, orientations and continuous technical backstopping.
The project, in return, has made MITRA Samaj resourceful in designing and leading programmes on institutional development, advocacy, public service oversight, social accountability, good governance, and many other aspects which were mainstreamed throughout the period of performance.