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Update from Brenda

Brenda Lipson

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21st Jan 2013

It is a new year, and I am full of good intentions.  One of them is to try to communicate more about what I am working on – so here goes.

The last quarter of 2012 was taken up in a number of very different types of work, some of which I will be writing about in a bit more depth on another occasion. One area of work was focused on facilitating Oxfam teams in 5 Latin American countries to reflect on their capacity to respond to emergencies. These Humanitarian Capacity Assessment workshops aimed to help the teams to identify their strengths and those areas which would benefit from some capacity development investment. I was very touched when just the other week I received, unsolicited, a copy of the Nicaragua capacity development plan which highlighted the usefulness of the workshop.

A fair bit of my work is about supporting organizations to think about their approach to partner capacity building. As well as facilitating two Open Training INTRAC courses on this topic (one with my Framework colleague Bruce Britton), I was also invited to spend a day with Belgian NGO Federation members to explore this area of their work.  My ‘Belgian Theme’ will be continuing in March/April as I will be working with two other organizations to help them reflect and develop their approach to capacity building.

Sector-wide capacity building sounds a very daunting prospect! Well, this level of work is something that I am currently heavily engaged in. It started in October in Ethiopia as I took up my responsibilities as Technical Advisor for a Civil Society Strengthening Programme.  After two visits to the Addis-based team, my work with them is picking up in pace and we are now finalizing some new capacity diagnosis tools for use in March.

On a different note, there was some work with the Ethical Property Company. This was focused on support to the Board and Senior Management as they reflect on their international vision. Working on issues of relationships and international ‘families’ is something that I really do enjoy, and so I was delighted to have this opportunity. Unfortunately I didn’t actually make it on the day as I came down with the dreaded flu and had to find a colleague to replace me as facilitator on the day! It is a strange feeling when you have been involved in preparing something and then don’t actually get to be there. But it all came out well in the end.

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