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Civil Society Capacity Building for Advocacy

Situation

Civil society in Nicaragua has grown in size and credibility over the past decades. Yet, weak organizational structures, ineffective advocacy techniques, and lack of reliable funding prevent many Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from fully serving Nicaraguan society.

Approach

The Capacity Building for Civil Society Advocacy (CBCSA) program supports citizens’ ability to engage in democratic governance through civil society and the media in order to shape policy dialogues and promote government accountability. Dexis and its subcontractor Chemonics International are empowering 10 CSOs to more effectively promote awareness, advocacy, and activism in Nicaraguan society. The program also improves CSO management capabilities and uses evidence-based practices for advocacy campaigns.

This multi-year initiative is known locally as the ‘Programa de Fortalecimiento y Desarrollo Institucional,’ or FDI.

 

Dexis shares USAID’s commitment for bolstering civil society in Nicaragua and around the world.

Activities

Dexis provides field program support and capacity building for CSOs to strengthen their ability to advocate for citizen demands. Dexis’s field-based team provides targeted consulting services for each CSO and for the cohort as a whole, exposing them to global best practices for nonprofit management, advocacy, and technical expertise.

  • Field Program Support: Dexis established a local office and team that serves as a hub for Nicaraguan CSOs to receive training in strategic planning; advocacy and outreach; program monitoring and evaluation; financial management; and more. Dexis has also fostered partnerships between CSOs and the private sector and media.
  • Information Support Services: Dexis developed a CSO support platform for neutral dialogue, learning, and cooperation. This platform created a space for CSOs to connect through bi-annual meetings, unite for web-based knowledge exchanges, and conduct media outreach.
  • Human Resource and Institutional Capacity: Dexis and its CSO partners are developing effective strategic plans and program designs based on CSO mission objectives in order to improve management policies and structures. Dexis is also improving financial sustainability through more effective fundraising as well as the use of volunteers and new technologies. CSOs use evidence-based advocacy to educate, mobilize, and monitor constituents’ interests.

Results

  • Completed rapid project start-up: In a very challenging political and regulatory environment, Dexis set up a local office and recruited a high-caliber local team of nonprofit, grants management, and technology professionals to implement the CBCSA program.
  • Co-designed program activities with partner CSOs: Dexis surveyed participating CSOs to understand their training and capacity needs to better design program activities and objectives.
  • Launched online CSO platform: Dexis launched the ‘Voices for Nicaragua’ platform to promote neutral dialogue, learning, and cooperation among participating CSOs.
  • Identified capacity gaps and solutions: Using USAID’s Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD) framework and the Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool (OCAT) as a foundation, Dexis identified performance gaps and develop a tailored Capacity Building Plan for each CSO.