Our Capacity Building Project Manager Yassine recently attended a US Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored partnership learning workshop. A number of participants were gathered from across the civil society sector for a five-day workshop to network, to learn from one another and to grow in understanding.
We asked him to share his thoughts…
It was an honour for ACT to be invited to a workshop that was co-designed and executed by local and new partnership organizations to USAID. It was one of their partners learning programmes under the name “Building Resilient Communities”. The aim of the workshop was to foster collaboration and learning through capacity strengthening and monitoring, evaluation, and learning techniques.
During the workshop we were introduced to new input that would benefit our organisational capacity, especially around the topic of “communicating your impact”. USAID recognises the significance of the efforts and influences generated by local associations: with the aid of the various resources they offer, we have been assisted in understanding how to effectively convey our impact in a presentable manner. We can now put the association’s branding into perspective. Did you know that selected colours and shapes have hidden meanings behind them? This can be a way to reveal the identity, the personality and the story of your own association.
Throughout the workshop, we engaged in numerous sessions focused on networking and the “Organisation Spotlight” initiative. Each association had the time to present themselves and the work that they are involved in, as well as informal gatherings that allowed participants to discuss various issues. The outcome of this was hugely positive, as organisations from diverse countries such as Tunisia, Iraq, Lebanon, Morrocco, and United States got to share some of their remarkable achievements and the transformative impact they are making within their communities. I was greatly encouraged by our time together, and by the opportunity to present ACT to such a driven and passionate group.
The experience has been brilliant for our association’s professional growth and personal connections. All those who were part of the group bonded greatly, despite language and other factors which could have been a barrier. This is a result of USAID’s hard work on focusing on the concept of “localisation” and bringing together civil society actors, each from their region to foster connection, collaboration, and collective work.
As part of this event, ACT’s Director of Projects Julia (pictured in the middle of the back row) was also invited to join in a panel discussion with USAID’s Executive Director, Local, Faith, and Transformative Partnerships Hub within the Development, Democracy and Innovation Bureau, Adam Phillips and leaders of other faith-based communities and associations. In this meeting, Julia and the other local representatives were able to share with the US delegates about the good work being accomplished by local faith-based communities in Tunisia despite the challenges we often face. Following the formal dialogue period, multiple members of the USAID team approached Julia to express an appreciation for ACT’s work and contributions to the discussion.
ACT is thankful to USAID for the invite, and the opportunity to be a part of an exciting and important initiative. We look forward to journeying together with our newly made partners and friends – including US Ambassador to Tunisia, Joey Hood, pictured here with Yassine and other young advocates working in Tunisia!