To celebrate the successful conclusion of the USAID-funded Local Capacity Development (LCDA) project, LINC hosted a learning event in Mexico City, Mexico on August 15, 2019. The event, which drew the participation of USAID/Mexico and 30 civil society stakeholders including the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Monte de Piedad, and Promotora Social, presented the results of the four-year activity and shared important lessons learned. During the event, the stakeholders and experts in attendance also discussed their own experiences and shared thoughts on strategies for encouraging donors to support capacity strengthening of their grantees, how to improve participation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in capacity strengthening activities, and methods to increase application of new skills within CSOs.
LCDA’s certificate training course, the “Diplomado”, combined classroom training, practical application, virtual discussions with topic experts and peer-to-peer learning networks to support CSOs in their continuous development and allow for greater collaboration, networking, and sustainability of results. Covering 10 modules of organizational management topics and over 80 hours of training content, the Diplomado curriculum was updated in 2018 to incorporate more virtual learning opportunities and a new module on complex local systems approaches and tools.
Over the past four years, the Diplomado course was delivered by LCDA eight times in Mexico City and in the northern priority border cities of Tijuana, Monterrey and La Paz. With each cohort, the Diplomado grew into an important and relevant offering within the local CSO community, drawing interest from both local and international donors in Mexico. By the end of the program, over 179 Mexican CSOs and 286 CSO executives completed the Diplomado, gaining the necessary organizational management skills to compete for and manage international and local donor resources.
All generations of the Diplomado, the course has showed meaningful results in organizational capacity and performance. Of sampled graduates, 89% have shown an increase in institutional capacities. Additionally, the course has consistently received positive feedback from program participants, reporting that their participation in the Diplomado allowed them to grow and develop their organizations, despite the often-limited funding available to support civil society work in Mexico.
While LCDA and USAID-funding for the Diplomado has come to an end, it will continue to be offered independently by LINC’s Mexican implementing partner, Fondo Unido Mexico (FUM). Over the past 3 years, LINC has provided targeted technical assistance, mentoring, and capacity support to FUM so they may sustainably manage and deliver the Diplomado on their own. As result, FUM has been able to successfully leverage its unique business model to attract diverse local and international funding and generate new revenue sources for the Diplomado beyond the contractual life of the program, signing agreements with United Way South Korea, Nacional Monte de Piedad and Fundación Merced. The course has been delivered four times by FUM with non-USAID funding and they have already received funds to deliver two more cohorts in 2020. LINC looks forward to seeing how the Diplomado continues to grow under the leadership and direction of FUM.