STRATEGIC PLAN

STARS is one of the CEN network member and follow up CEN strategic plan and  individual strategy

sterategic plan

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABBREVIATIONS……………………………………………………………………. 2

INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY…………………………………….. 3

THE COAR NETWORK……………………………………………………………. 6

OSDR…………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

STARS………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

CoAR………………………………………………….. ………………………………. 13

SHARQ (SIHE)……………………… …………… ………………………….. ….. 16

GRTV……………………………………………………………………………………. 18

NETWORK FUNCTIONS…………………………………………. ……………. 19

EXECUTIVE BOARD AND MEMBERSHIP……………………………….. 20

MEETINGS…………………………………………………………………………… 21

BOARD RESPONSIBILITY AND SUB – COMMITTEES……………… 21

ACHIEVEMENTS BY 2012……………………………… ……………………. 22

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES 2012-17. …………………….. 23

DONOR POLICY ADN FUNDING…………………………………………….. 23

GoA POLICY AND PRIORITY…………………………………………………. 24

ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND SOCIAL VULNERABILITY……..24

POSITIONING THE CEN………………………………………………………….25

INDIVIDUAL MEMBER STRATEGY…………………………………………. 26

SHARQ (SIHE)……………………………………………………………………… 27

GRTV………………………………………………………………….. ……………… 28

OSDR………………………………………………………………………………….. 29

STARS………………………………………………………………………………… 30

CoAR…………………………………………………………………………………… 31

NETWORK STRATEGY…………………………………………………………. 32

CONCLUDING COMMENT……………………………………… …………….. 35

ANNEX I: TERMS OF REFERENCE……………………………………….. 36

 

 

 

ABBREVIATIONS

ACBAR Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief
ADRRN Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network
ANCB Afghan NGOs Coordination Bureau
ANDMA Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority
ANDS Afghan National Development Strategy
AWN Afghan Women Network
CoAR Coordination of Afghan Relief
DRR Disaster Risk Reduction
GoA Government of Afghanistan
GRTV Gurbat Radio and TV
HAP Humanitarian Accountability Partnership
SIHE SHARQ INSTITUTE of HIGHER EDUCATION
MoE Ministry of Education
MoEc Ministry of Economy
MoHE Ministry of Higher Education
MRRD Ministry of Rural rehabilitation and Development
NCA Norwegian Church Aid
OSDR Organization for Sustainable Development and Research
STARS Skills Training and Rehabilitation Society
ToR

 

Terms of Reference

INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY

Coordination of Afghan Relief (CoAR) is one of the oldest Afghan NGOs, established in 1989, that took an innovative initiative in June 2008 to establish the CoAR Network that now include 5 partners: Coordination of Afghan Relief (CoAR), Organization for Sustainable Development and Research (OSDR), Skills Training and Rehabilitation Society (STARS), and the more recently established Gurbat Radio and TV (GRTV) and Institute for Sustainable Development and Technology (ISDT).

The Terms of Reference (see: Annex I) specify that the aim of this assignment is to take stock of challenges and opportunities up against each member organization and the CoAR Network’s strengths and aim, for further development of their professional capacity to develop a Strategic Plan for the period 2012-2017.

This plan will reflect how each organization and the Network foresee developments over the coming years, revisit vision, mission, mandate and core values and identify priorities for the Network and individual organisations as for their priority areas of i.e.:

  • programming and community dialogue,
  • synergies among network members,
  • relations with the GoA, communities and donors,
  • geographical focus,
  • regional presence,
  • DRR related activities through GRTV and ISDT,
  • funding strategy (ies) and priorities,
  • conflict sensitive approaches,
  • staff and capacity building,
  • framework for monitoring and evaluation,
  • and, sustainability of operations.

 

This report is based on a review of documents relating to expected developments in Afghanistan over the coming years, policy documents of the CoAR Network and a series of interviews conducted in Kabul between 5th and 9th August 2012 with the leadership of the five organisations, the Minister of Economy (MoEc) and key staff of the NGO Bureau and the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA). There were in addition two workshops conducted. The first workshop was with key staff from Network members to help identify main issues for a five year strategy, and the second workshop was with a broad range of stakeholders to seek their inputs and opinions. This included representatives from the MoEc, ANDMA, University of Kabul and the donor agency Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).

 

 

I wish to extend my sincere thanks to everyone that spent their precious time to provide their analysis, thoughts and suggestion to help develop the best possible strategy for the network partners and the Network. The period this strategy cover is expected to be challenging for the Afghans and for the non- governmental organisations (NGOs) that have set as mission to support and empower Afghans and help develop Afghanistan.

THE CEN

WORKING TOGETHER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN DIGNITY

The CoAR Network was established by CoAR, OSDR and STARS in June 2008 to “make the relationship between these organisations more systematic and formal after cooperating with each other in different areas proved to be more productive.”  The initiative was in conformity with the Afghanistan NGOs Law that allows for NGO partnerships and networks “to improve, expand or implement their activities and projects”.

The Network vision is: A just and equitable society that embraces the rights of all people for fundamental freedom through participation and contribution in all spheres of social, cultural, economic and political life. 

Based on organizational core values of Transparency, Accountability & Trust; Leadership; People Centeredness; Dignity; Commitment; Team Work; Tolerance; and Fostering Learning Environment.

The Network formulated their objectives and described their membership and management structure in a document that also outline their short (2008 -2010), medium (2010 – 2013) and long term objectives (2014 – 2018).

The short term objectives included providing and/or exchanging technical assistance and share lessons learned among network members; support each other in basic management activities and ensure coordination among member organizations for multilateral support.

The medium term objectives identified was to adopt a coordinated and cohesive approach to the implementation of projects by the member NGOs in line with Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and strategies of the networked organizations; help build organizational capacity in fundraising for implementation of interventions in line with the strategies of the member organizations; assist in sustainability of ongoing interventions of the network and to extend support to civil society organizations at the national and regional levels; to consolidate transparency and accountability among members .

The long term objectives are to help bring specialization among the network organizations to ensure efficiency and effectiveness facilitated through existing capacities and work experience.

The Network members are the 3 founding organisations CoAR, OSDR and STARS, later joined by established Gurbat Radio and TV (GRTV) and Institute for Sustainable Development and

OSDR

Organization for Sustainable Development and Research (OSDR) was established as the Agricultural Survey of Afghanistan (ASA) in 1987 in Peshawar, Pakistan, to study the agricultural situation in Afghanistan as part of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA).

It continued its activities under the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), as the ACBAR Survey Unit (ASU), from December of 1994 to July 2001. From August 2001 to December 2002 was the organisation renamed the Afghan Survey Unit (ASU) and affiliated with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), before joining with Coordination of Afghan Relief (CoAR) in December 2002.

It was registered as Organization for Sustainable Development and Research (OSDR) on 8 August 2008 with the Ministry of Economy.

OSDR has conducted a series of formal and informal surveys, monitoring, evaluation, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) workshops, and trainings related to agriculture, survey methodology, monitoring, evaluation, peace building and disaster related issues.

OSDR works in all provinces of Afghanistan. In addition to having highly skilled staffs at the main office can the OSDR draw on trained and experienced reserve staff from most provinces of Afghanistan on a project basis.

OSDR cooperates with SEEDS INDIA that is an expert in disaster management and environmental conservation. SEEDS INDIAS provides OSDR with technical assistance and links OSDR with global research institutes.

VISION

OSDR vision is to support social and economic development with special focus on the most vulnerable communities through provision of skills, knowledge and information.

MISSION 

OSDR mission is to provide policy and decision makers during ongoing reconstruction, nation and state building process with timely and reliable data and information for an informed decision and to develop indigenous human capacities to ensure future self-reliance and sustainable development.  

PRIORITIZED LONG TERM ACTIVITIES

  • Research, Survey, Monitoring and evaluation
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Capacity Building
  • Sustainable Development Activities

 

STARS

Skills Training and Rehabilitation Society (STARS) was established by a group of concerned Afghans in 1997 to offer services to fellow Afghans, and particularly women.

STARS is registered with the Ministry of Economy and other line ministries and is a member of Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR). STARS has since 2006 been a  member of Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN), globally STARS is a partner of the Hauirou Commission, a network empowering grassroots women to build resilient communities.

STARS advocates for gender equality and assisting local communities, primarily in rural areas with limited opportunities for education, to improve their educational facilities.

STARS focuses on the poor and strives to educate the poor by learning them to utilize their own resources to improve their livelihoods and lives.

During the years of its existence, STARS has conducted significant activities in ten provinces of Afghanistan: Kabul, Balkh, Jawzjan, Daikundi, Nengarhar, Herat, Ghor, Parwan, Paktika and Faryab. Activities included support for agriculture, livestock, education, skills development, health, disaster management and construction.

In all its projects, STARS tries to strengthen local cooperation, bring about better coordination amongst the different tribes and races, promote gender-sensitive and responsive learning at all stages of development and help people feel the ownership of the project. In every project is STARS trying to secure market or relevant industry links for the beneficiaries to secure income and become self-sufficient.

VISION

To economically empower society, and especially marginalized women who are the single most vulnerable group of Afghan society.

MISSION

Support the vulnerable groups of the society, especially lead women to self-reliance through skills development, income generating activities and public utility.

PRIORITIZED LONG TERM ACTIVITIES

  • Women Supported Programs

Such as:

  • Income generation for women
  • Formal and informal education women
  • Health
  • Disaster Risk Reduction

 

 

CoAR

Coordination of Afghan Relief (CoAR) is an Afghan, independent, nonpolitical, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization, created at the initiative of a group of Afghans in 1989. It has been registered under # 11 with the Ministry of Economy and with line ministries such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock.  CoAR is a member of the Steering Committee of the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR) and Afghan NGOs Coordination Bureau (ANCB). Internationally is CoAR is board member of ADRRN and member of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP). Recently CoAR Network obtained the membership of CIVICUS as well.

The organization was initially involved in cross-border, emergency relief activities and in providing services to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Since then, the organization has evolved into one of the largest Afghan NGOs, implementing both humanitarian and development projects.

CoAR is mainly involved in the sphere of agricultural development, livestock services, formal and informal education, irrigation engineering, DRR and health programs. Human rights, peace building, gender awareness and justice are cross cutting issue. CoAR is financially and technically support by many donors as:

Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), Christian Aid (CA), Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), DED, European Commission (EC),

(UN) Food and Agricultural Organization                                           (FAO), Creative Association

(CAII), Embassy of Japan,

Trocare/Irish Aid, Save the

Children-UK,       USAID        ,

Ministry of Education

(MoE), World Bank (WB)

GIZ. CoAR developed long term partnerships with some donors, such as NCA, who has played a vital role in developing CoAR

and CoAR Network.

 

VISION

A just and equitable society that embraces the rights of people to fundamental freedom to participation and contribution in all spheres of social, cultural, economic and political life.

MISSION 

Supporting the process of community development through various programmatic and organizational interventions leading to creation of an enabling environment for communities to improve their life standard.

PRIORITIZED LONG TERM ACTIVITIES:

  • Education
  • Agriculture and Livestock
  • Rural Engineering
  • Health
  • Disaster Risk Reduction

 

ISDT

The Institute of Sustainable Development and Technology for Higher Education (ISDT) was established under umbrella of the CoAR Network in 2010. ISDT is registered with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE).

ISDT offers quality higher education in management science, law and legislation, disaster management and computer sciences to girls and boys, for certificate courses, diploma courses, BA, and – at the approval of the MoHE – for MA and later on PhD programmes. ISTD is considering offering more specialised training for NGOs and GoA staff, where Disaster Risk Reduction is a field of interest where they presently are in dialogue with the University of Kabul (UoK) and ANDSMA on a future collaboration.

ISDT has a close relationship with the University of Kabul and University of Peshawar, and is seeking international academic collaboration to strengthen the quality of their teaching.

 

 

VISION

ISDT is a high quality educational institute that creates a sustainable environment for peace, social justice and creating a fully educated society with the support of a world-class faculty.

MISSION

ISDT enables each student to become broader in perspective, more literate, ethically more sensitive, and to participate and support wisely the process of community development through various educational programs, creation of an enabling environment for communities to improve their living standards.

 

 

 

 

Gorbat Radio and TV (GRTV) was established by CoAR in 2009 as part of GRTV civil society mandate of informing and engaging the Afghan  public by communicating the realities on the ground. More importantly GRTV was established to contribute to the awareness and educating the Afghan Nation on the issues of Disaster Management and Environment.

GRTV is registered with the ministry of Information and culture and the Ministry of Economy.

GRTV has four distinct services, the Gorbat TV, Gorbat Radio, Gorbat Production and the Gorbat website http://www.gorbat.net/ , where also the TV and Radio programmes are available internationally.

GRTV has made major investments in digital recording, production and transmission equipment that has prepared it for broadcasting in all parts of Afghanistan. GRTV has therefore an untapped potential to further its civil society and information mandate, and to act as a voice for issues addressed by the other Network partners.

GRTV GOAL

To address the public and private perceptions, improve the non-governmental organizations image, to contribute to the peace justice process and Environment justice/ Disaster Risk Reduction, and to ensure that there is a consistent understanding of the CSOs accountability before the community, through establishment of local radio/Tv station in different provinces.

 

 

 

NETWORK FUNCTIONS

The CoAr Network has identified three core functions to help achieve the objectives for which the network was established.

Core Function 1

As a long term objective, the network shall consider avoiding functional duplication, characterized by involvement of the member organizations in same-sector activities. This way, members can even work in the same area. This ensures that each organization focuses on the implementation of its specialized area of operation, and the members can then integrate their activities to achieve maximum output in a particular location. The specialization is to be determined based on the capacity of a member in a specific field. The specialization can be in disaster management, agriculture, health, education, capacity building/skills training, livestock, research, or any other field as deemed feasible for implementation by the individual organization.

However, since members of the network possess multi-sector expertise, it might be feasible for the members to engage in same-sector activities for the time being. In particular, the Network encourages a coordinated approach to the implementation of humanitarian projects, the main reason behind of this is to share experiences and increase technical and Managerial capacities of the networked members organization staff, in which case duplication shall not be considered at all. But to achieve the long term objective, member organizations shall strive to bring specialization in their developmental sectors.

Core Function 2

The member organizations shall, to the extent possible, work together to strengthen each other. This includes coordinating activities where two or more of the member organizations operate. This entails that member organizations are required to help each other implement a project optimally, which includes providing a member organization with staff from another member’s reserve in the event that no qualified staff could be found and employed. Also, it includes providing capacity building and other facilities to a member organization, which shall be determined by the possibilities and capacity of the auxiliary organization

Core Function 3

Fundraising will form a basic function of the network. For this purpose, a fundraising committee shall be established, through which the committee members will have certain roles of mobilizing financial resources in a coordinated approach. Different ways of responding to an offer from a donor shall be considered to make sure that funds are secured for sectors implemented by the Network, regardless of what each member specializes in. This means that there should be an integrated approach to raising funds among member organizations.

EXECUTIVE BOARD AND MEMBERSHIP

The Network has an Executive Board, elected through a series of meetings and discussions among the member, and based on the members experience and qualifications. CoAR Network considers two types of membership: 1) executive membership and 2) nonexecutive membership.

Executive Membership

The executive network membership has the privilege of making decisions regarding the network, as the executive committees are formed of representatives from those organizations holding this kind of membership. Currently, all the founding organizations have executive membership in the network. Any organization who attains the status of an executive member shall introduce 1-2 representatives on their behalf to the executive board of the network. The current executive board has the authority not to let the number of executive board members exceed 11 people. Admission into the executive board requires certain criteria to be met, where the organization shall:

  • Be implementing programs that are the same or similar to those implemented by any of the existing member organizations
  • Have experience implementing projects in Afghanistan
  • Be registered with the Government of Afghanistan
  • Be a member of a coordinating body in Afghanistan
  • Aspire to and stay committed to the objectives of the network
  • Meet certain accountability and transparency criteria required by the board.

Non-executive/Ordinary Membership

CoAR Network welcomes organizations to take network membership as ordinary or nonexecutive members. The main criterion for membership is that they shall be registered as an NGO with the government of Afghanistan.

Any organization having been accepted into the network as a non-executive member shall not have the power to vote or otherwise effect a change in the decision-making process of the board. But they shall be entitled to all other privileges—except for voting on decisive issues—generated by or accrued to the network. These privileges include, but are not limited to, coordination in fund raising, providing basic management support, and other benefits the network would like to realize, which are either explicit or implicit in the objectives of the network.

The representative introduced to the network by these organizations shall also not necessarily possess the same qualifications as those required of a representative introduced for executive membership. He/she shall merely be a staff member of the applicant organization.

MEETINGS

CoAR Network members shall hold meetings regarding issues of concern for all members.

The board shall convene different meetings such as monthly, annual, and special meetings.  The modus operandi governing the holding of these meetings is described as follows.

BOARD RESPONSIBILITY AND SUB – COMMITTEES

The executive members are responsible before the Network, as they represent their organizations. No other member of the organization shall have either authority or responsibility concerning any issue pertaining to the Network.

The board is not responsible for internal administration and financial expenditure of the individual network members. However, in the event that a member organization faces a problem, that member can present the problem before the executive board, which shall pass on the issue to the related committee. In this case, the committee shall consider the situation and provide the requesting member with necessary support if possible or provide it with reasonable justification for the committee’s inability to handle the issue.

To help bring a better understanding of the responsibilities of the individual members of the board, the following committees have been established, where members shall be elected from among the executive board members:

  1. Technical and Finance Committee

This committee is responsible to support and undertake technical and financial aspects of the work carried out by the network, including: organizing network meetings; preparing relevant documents; represent the Network in external meetings; remunerate executive members; assist in reviewing members proposals and budgets; handle external and internal audit procedures; facilitate network meetings; assist members with recruitment and, if needed, arranging for staff orientation and  contribute to highlight network achievements in different publications.

  1. Fundraising Committee

The fundraising committee will ensure that member organizations have sufficient financial resources adequate to implement and sustain its target programs. The committee will hold meetings with current donors to secure their continued funding commitment as well as seeking potential new donors involved in different sectors through presenting them proposals and requests.

  1. Monitoring and Evaluation Committee

This committee shall carry out monitoring and evaluation of the projects implemented by the network members. This can be carried out in return for a portion of the respective project budget to ensure availability of technical expertise. For example, OSDR may carry out monitoring and evaluation activities for other members.

ACHIEVEMENTS BY 2012

The CoAR Network has come a long way in meeting short and medium term strategic objectives by mid-2012. Of important achievements that has benefitted network members beyond the regular meetings and committee work can be mentioned:

  • Cost reduction by sharing offices, logistics and administrative resources in Kabul and in the regions
  • Professional benefits though knowledge sharing among organisations
  • Established a joint Security service that provide information on security threats and advise on how each member can counter and mitigate potential security risks
  • A possibility to market the activities of Network members though the GRTV and ability to more systematically build staff competence through the ISDT
  • Unified stand of the network members in the hard time and successes in social, political and other programmatic issues.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES 2012-17

Afghanistan is expected to be up to a number of challenges over the coming years. Most international forces will have withdrawn by 2014 and left the responsibility for maintaining security and law and order to the Afghan National Army and the Police.  The presidential election is scheduled for the same year, bringing uncertainty over the election process and what course a new President, if elected, might set. A testing point will be the President’s ability to collaborate with the international community and the Afghan Parliament and Provincial Councils.

Donor policy and funding

This might again hold influence on how much development and humanitarian funding donors will contribute with over time, and the ability for Afghanistan to generate income through taxation and revenues from i.e. utilisation of natural resources as oil, gas and minerals. The military withdrawal will inevitably lead to a drawdown in funding to Afghanistan that will not be compensated by the intended goal of the Tokyo Conference of June 2012.  Afghanistan was then given a prospect of an annual donor contribution of 4 billion US dollars of development aid over the next 4 years. This amount is likely to be influenced by the uncertainty of the financial situation in the US and in Europe, and different national governments’ ability (and will) to argue for continued support to Afghanistan.

USAID, presently the largest donor to Afghanistan, has signalled a budget cut by 50 % already from 2013. In the end, the total funding level will depend on the ability of the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) to handle the funds, improve governance and curb corruption. Here will also the NGOs sector be held accountable as they are trusted with the implementation of many of the development programmes, being that for education, health services and rural development.

The “Tokyo Framework for Mutual Accountability”, launched on July 8 2012 will be an important test for how the collaboration between the GoA and the donors develops. The framework sets out goals and performance indicators for Afghanistan in the areas of governance (organizing transparent, credible elections processes in 2014 and 2015); rule of law and human rights (enactment of a legal framework to combat corruption, implementation of the National Action Plan for Women and the Elimination of Violence Against Women law); public finance (implementation of the IMF programme); budget execution (transparent tax and customs systems); and economic development (allocating resources to achieve Afghanistan’s millennium development goals and improving the business climate).

 

The international community, on their part, agrees to align 80 percent of assistance with national priority programmes (50 percent through the national budget of Afghanistan, in accordance with previous commitments) and also states its aim to increase the share of assistance—through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund or other incentive mechanisms, as requested by the Government of Afghanistan—to 10 percent by 2014, with a goal of 20 percent at the end of the transformation decade.[1]

GoA Policy and priority

Discussions with the Ministry of Economy (MoEc) in August 2012 gave indication of a new development strategy with increased emphasis on rural development, agriculture and generation of jobs. The Minister signalled that more of the development activities will be planned, organised, coordinated by the MoEc and the Provincial Governor and implemented at the provincial and district level. There will be a requirement that the NGOs are able to respond to locally identified needs and priorities, comply with National and Provincial development priorities and take an active part in coordination in province and district forums. This will require a larger NGO presence at the Province level, as more of the decision making on policy and programming and potentially donor contact will be shifted here.

The Minister moreover highlighted the need for the NGOs to develop and maintain highly professional organisations and Networks, able to engage with and report to the GoA. He informed that they are selecting NGOs for a closer scrutiny on a rotating basis. In addition to determine if reporting requirements to the GoA are met do they examine the composition of the Board and staff to ensure that these have the required professional qualifications, that there is no nepotism in selection for i.e. members of the Board and that there is an equal opportunity for employment.

Such professionalism in management and reporting will be required for the NGO sector to meet Donor and GoA requirements and their increased demand for documenting impact, own ability to monitor and evaluate (M&E) projects and (especially important for donors), take initiatives to reduce and avoid corruption and to ensure that human/gender rights are respected and women becoming more actively involved in the programming. That will imply that NGOs will need to have the required specialisation in their selected field of operation, solid M&E function and a broader understanding of their role as civil society organisation – not only as a project implementer.

The Minister of Economy pointed to another of his concerns of the NGO sector that needs to be taken into consideration: The NGO sector needs to secure and maintain a trust with the Afghan population, with the GoA and with the Donors if they are to play a prominent role in the future of Afghanistan.

Another factor here is the limited ability of the GoA to access and implement projects in remote areas and to establish a functional local representation. This might provide an opportunity for Afghan NGOs to get projects to these locations based on their skills to establish local relations, network with communities and mange projects in conflict zones.

Environmental change and societal vulnerability

Afghanistan has been at war since the late 1970s. This has led to major destruction of infrastructure and an unsustainable use of natural resources that has not been fully addressed over recent years.  Increased urbanisation has led to pollution of air and water resources that hold negative effects on health and wellbeing of the Afghans. A lack of, and unsustainable use, of water resources constitute a threat to future availability of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.

War and conflict makes people more vulnerable for natural disasters, and weak governance structures with limited resources reduce the ability to respond to upcoming challenges. This is made more critical due to the ongoing armed conflict that might reduce access and put those who try to assist in greater danger.

Another factor that is yet not fully understood is the possibility for regional climate changes that might make both Afghanistan and neighbouring countries more prone to both droughts and seasonal floods and avalanches. A lack of a consistent strategy to meet upcoming environmental challenges and reduce the risks can add to this problem. The challenge might be regional but might strike hardest the population and country that has not developed a proper system to prevent, mitigate and respond to such risks.

Positioning the CoAR Network

The CoAR Network and the partner NGOs are advised to take these signals and advised into consideration and ensure that they do meet the formal requirements outlined above. The Network members are likewise advised to revisit their present activities to explore if these can be further developed as needs, expectation and technology has advanced over recent years, not least among the youth and women.  And, thereby ensure that they are in a position to secure a high degree of trust with the Afghan population that are to benefit from their services and assistance and the GoA and the donors that need to be supportive of such efforts.

This can be summarized as a need to develop:

Professional NGOs, with

  • Thematic specialisation
  • Strong leadership/management/financial management skills
  • Solid monitoring and evaluation skills and routines meeting international standards, possibly in collaboration with donors as NCA
  • Ability to develop professional and sound project proposals for different donors
  • Ability to document impact
  • Ability to communicate achievements
  • Ability to be a learning organisation that can contribute to collective Network learning
  • Ability to build up contingency funds that can help sustain the organization as funding might fluctuate

And: Stronger management and programming presence at Province and Community level, including a shift of staff and authority from Kabul to the field.

 

A more fragile security situation requires

 

  • More decentralization, including of analysis capacity and decision making authority
  • More flexibility in planning and programming
  • Strong community links and delivery of quality projects for the communities

 

 

Such an organisational shift if resources can be illustrated as follows:

 

Figure 1: Shifting of organisational strength from Kabul to the regions

INDIVIDUAL MEMBER STRATEGY

To start with the newest members first, as they are the organisations that needs the most of attention at the moment to develop and secure the human and financial investments made in them, and to ensure that the resources they add to the network is fully utilized.

What is common for all organisations though is to develop their individual ability and skills in addressing Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) issues and thereby establish a solid foundation in an area where the Network is at the forefront of the present developments. But where further work will enhance quality and profile members and the Network towards the Government of Afghanistan, the Afghan population, regional and international DRR networks and organisations, teaching institutions as the Afghan universities and institutes, and possibly: to Afghan businesses that see the benefit of supporting initiatives that can help reduce vulnerability and help secure more professional and quick the response when an emergency occur.

ISDT

The Institute of Sustainable Development and Technology for Higher Education (ISDT) is in a process of establishing itself as a University. It will require sufficient broadness in academic subjects thought and high quality of courses and lecturers to gain a solid professional reputation to secure increased and continued recruitment of students.

Satisfied students that feel they have received valuable knowledge in a good learning environment is likely to be the best marketing tool a new University can have. International connections and solid academic collaboration is another advantage for an institution that is to establish its reputation, and there are many universities in Asia that can be drawn on for links, lectures and possibly student exchange programmes. With such contacts in place will it be easier to initiate and secure collaboration with Universities and Institutes located in Europe and the US.

ISDT wishes to be a civil society oriented Institute/university, more oriented towards securing high quality education to Afghans than using the organisation for an income generating purpose. This require thoughts on how students are treated, if they should be invited to take part in quality control of academic content and presentations and, possibly, encouraged to establish a representation that regularly meet with the ISDT management. That same goes for the Board composition, where scholars on different academic fields could be recruited in together with representatives of civil society.

Holding such a civil society orientation is likewise an opportunity to develop courses on issues of importance to civil society organisations and NGOs, and also for employees of the Government of Afghanistan. One such area identifies is Disaster Risk Reduction, though there could be opportunities to develop shorter term courses on other subjects as well, as monitoring and evaluation of aid projects, NGO management and reporting.

ISDT should set as their strategic goals:

  • To secure a high academic standard on the subjects thought and ensure hiring of staff with strong academic credentials
  • Develop strong regional and international academic networks and collaboration for hiring in of highly qualified lecturers and allow for student exchange particularly in the area of DRR and environment
  • Strengthening collaboration and coordination with ANDMA and like minded governmental and non-governmental organizations
  • Tailor courses that can help increase the professional quality and capacity of GoA and NGO employees
  • Explore the possibility for “remote teaching” and “remote learning” via internet with GRTV. Where lecturers can contribute from abroad or have their presentations recorded and for registered students in the provinces, or at work, to follow lectures on internet
  • Seek advice from ACBAR and ANCB on the NGO community’s need for courses and training, and use them to market such activities. Enter into a dialogue with relevant ministries to explore their need for capacity building
  • Ensure a vibrant student environment, encouraging them to help develop the quality of the teaching and also engage themselves in civil society activities

GRTV

Gorbat Radio and TV (GRTV) have met numerous challenges in establishing themselves and being able to provide quality radio and TV broadcasting throughout Afghanistan. Established to help support and strengthen Afghan civil society, while at the same time generate income to cover their expenses in a highly competitive market is a challenging task. Not least as there is a limited number of frequencies made available for TV broadcasting that reach the broader public, and thereby can be of interest for advertisements.

Still, GRTV has the most modern equipment that can be fully utilized when new digital TV broadcasting opportunities emerge, and a national radio broadcasting infrastructure that has the potential for increased use. The challenge is to secure the present investments in technology and staff and help develop these in a way that can secure and increase activities, ensure quality broadcasting and make GRTV a useful tool for the Afghan civil society.

The CoAR Network has realised the potential of having communication and broadcasting as important tools in their programme activity, to engage with and inform the public, and to use GRTV’s media expertise to develop information and messages to their stakeholders. There might be a larger market, in Kabul and in the regions, for similar assistance both for the NGO sector, donor agencies and different governmental bodies – if presented to them in a professional manner. There are likewise several donors that have dedicated funding for civil society initiatives that likewise might be drawn upon.

GRTV should set as their strategic goals:

  • Remain committed to its fundamental mandate in Promoting education and information in DRR and environmental issues
  • Secure high quality TV and Radio broadcasting of benefit for Afghanistan and Afghan civil society
  • Develop the civil society profile of broadcasting, combined with programmes that can draw a positive interest from such listener and interactive programming that can include the public in developing the programmes
  • Continue to work for obtaining a digital TV broadcasting licence, allowing for larger distribution of programmes
  • Develop skills to assist the NGO sectors and others to communicate their messages and information to the Afghan public
  • Actively seek funding from donors supporting civil society organisations and businesses that might wish to contribute financially to civil society initiatives
  • Strengthening coordination and networking with the national and regional like minded Media groups

OSDR

Organization for Sustainable Development and Research (OSDR) is well established as a provider of surveys and research projects for a broad range of organisations and donors. And with a track record of conducting workshops and trainings on a range of issues, lately also specializes in training in Disaster Risk Reduction.

The nature of the work requires for OSDR to work in all Afghan provinces, and for them to have trained and experienced reserve staff available throughout the country.

OSDR has strengthened its expertise through cooperation with SEEDS INDIA, being an expert in disaster management and environmental conservation, and thereby linking them up with global research institutes.

OSDR’s success is based on their ability to, on the one hand, apply rigorous survey and research methodologies that can secure accurate and testable data for their analysis, and, on the other hand, to develop these in a way that meet the requirement of each of the organizations that seek their services.  And, furthermore, be able to present the findings and the data in a manner that ease the access to the information for the customer and for the different stakeholders it needs to be presented to. This will require constant development of methodology, survey/research/training management and presentation and dissemination skills to stay ahead in a market with an increasing demand for accuracy and detailed analysis.

To maintain their strong position as a quality deliverer of much of the information that help inform and set policy, priorities and plans of donors and NGOs and document and test the outcome of their activities and programs will OSDR need to stay ahead of developments and constantly secure the accuracy and quality of their surveys and research.

OSDR should set as their strategic goals:

  • Maintain the highest quality of methodology in data collaction and analysis, securing the accuracy of data that is very important for setting policy and measuring impact and quality of different programmes and interventions
  • Develop solid methods for measuring impact and effect of aid interventions as donors and the Afghan government will demand proof of their investments
  • Seek to develop contacts with regional and international research and survey organisations to seek updated knowledge on methodology and build alliances to help specialize the services OSDR can deliver
  • Maintain a flexible and professional administration that quickly can respond to requests and needs of donors and stakeholders, including at the province and district levels when more of the aid programmes become decentralized
  • Make an ability to capture and analyse gender differences as a comparative advantage of OSDR
  • Work with ISDT to develop courses and trainings in areas where OSDR has identified a need or where they can contribute with their expertise and staff to trainings
  • Work with GRTV to further develop their presentation and dissemination of their findings to those requesting their services, and when agreed and appropriate: to the Afghan public

STARS

Skills Training and Rehabilitation Society (STARS) is a unique women led Afghan NGO that aim to offer services to fellow Afghans, and particularly women. STARS advocates for gender equality and for assisting local through support for agriculture, livestock, education, skills development, health, disaster management and construction. But STARS do also have an international outlook, being member of Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN) and a partner of the Hauirou Commission.

Emphasizing local cooperation and better coordination amongst different tribes and races, STARS moreover promotes gender-sensitive and responsive learning and aims to help secure beneficiaries sufficient income to become self-sufficient.

This is a challenging task in Afghanistan where culture and tradition set limits for the roles women’s are expected to play, but where they at the same time is in need for assistance and developments that can allow them to fully utilize their capacities for the best for their society. Finding innovative while accepted ways of doing so is a vision and aim commonly shared by Afghans and the internationally community. That goes as well for disaster risk prevention, mitigation and responses where the role and responsibilities, and thereby opportunities, held by women often is overlooked. Especially in communities where many men has lost their lives in fighting or have to migrate to secure the income of their families, and thus leave the women with a large responsibility to respond to the need of the communities in the time of crisis.

It is at this junction that STARS is especially well positioned to contribute to developments in Afghanistan, and to address issues that can help ensure an active involvement of both women and men in that process. While STARS has valuable experience and insight that the other members of the CoAR Network will benefit from drawing on, STARS should set as their strategic goals to:

  • Set the highest standards in provision of development assistance, emergency relief and disaster support for the Afghan population
  • Build on the trust they have developed with women and girls to ensure that their needs are met in appropriate ways and their concerns and wishes conveyed to civil society organizations, the GoA and the international community
  • Combine their unique position as using the knowledge they obtain from being a member of ADRRN with their insight in the role women play in DDR in Afghanistan to help develop a stronger and better gender informed DDR strategy for Afghanistan and for the region
  • Develop, with OSDR, research to better document and understand women’s opportunities to take a more active role in capacity development, decision making , development and risk reduction in Afghanistan
  • Draw on their expertise in organizational development and management to help increase the capacity and skills of the members of the CoAR network and female headed NGOs to improve their organizational structures and management
  • Work with GRTV to communicate their, and Afghan women’s, experiences and abilities to the Afghan public, and help them develop programs targeting Afghan women and girls

CoAR

Coordination of Afghan Relief (CoAR) is one of the oldest and largest Afghan NGOs that has supported and worked with Afghans throughout more than 23 years of conflict. CoAR is an active member in Afghan NGO coordinating bodies, but does moreover play an active role internationally as a board member of ADRRN and membership with the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) and CIVICUS.

CoAR has continued their historic focus on agricultural development, livestock services, formal and informal education, irrigation engineering, DRR and health programs. But, as the organization has developed has human rights, peace building, gender awareness and justice been added as cross cutting issue. That development has helped CoAR secure a broad range of donors and partnerships that have helped develop CoAR as an organization, and to identify the importance of forming networks to better meet the challenges Afghanistan is up to now while helping to strengthen the capacity and skills of the individual members.

Development of rural areas and the agricultural sector is increasingly being recognized as important to secure employment for more Afghans, increase food security and reduce the vulnerability of individuals and security. Still, the sector is confronted with major challenges to adapt to the demand for better produces, improved technologies and new breeds, improved irrigation techniques and utilization of scarce water resources and not least new knowledge on soil conservation to prevent and mitigate drought and reduce vulnerability for floods to ensure that the natural resources are utilized in an optimal while sustainable manner. CoAR will have to be at the front of this development to secure their position as a leading Afghan NGO.

CoAR should set as their strategic goals to:

  • Set the highest standards in provision of development assistance, emergency relief and disaster support for the Afghan population
  • Use their unique position in the Afghan NGO sector with their international networks and membership in HAP to help improve the status and professionalism of Afghan civil society
  • To the extent possible support and establish further Civil Society organizations that contribute to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan
  • Ensure to be at the forefront of agriculture and rural development by identify new trends and introduce ways to improve the Afghan agriculture sector and rural development in a way that increases productivity and income opportunities for women and men without sacrificing the environment or increasing vulnerability
  • Work with STARS to develop strategies that ensures possibilities for women to take an active role in the agricultural and income generating sector in rural areas, while also ensuring their opportunities for active involvement in decision making and assessment of aid and development interventions
  • Develop, with other members of the CoAR network, especially ISDT, and donors, systems and methods for monitoring and evaluations that meets international standards and can help, over time, to measure the impact of different interventions
  • Secure planning, operational and analytic capacity in the regions by shifting of resources out of Kabul and thereby both reducing vulnerability and increasing contact with the intended beneficiaries
  • Work with GRTV to communicate experiences and knowledge of the fields they engage in to the Afghan public, and help GRTV develop programs that will resonate with experiences and aspirations of Afghans living in rural areas

 

 

NETWORK STRATEGY

The CoAR network aim to develop a professional network and member organisations, in line with international standards for humanitarian organisations, that in dialogue with Afghan communities, the GoA and donors can:

 

  • Be a unique Afghan led Network using their common resources to the benefit of and with the aim to strengthen Afghan civil society and their idea and role in community
  • Develop projects and proposal that addresses the needs of the communities and present it through well-developed proposals meeting requirements set by the different donors
  • Provide Afghans with assistance of high quality and be able to respond to disasters and new challenges in a highly professional manner
  • Monitor and evaluate the organisation performance and program delivery to ensure impact and organisational learning
  • Represent the interest of Afghans and the Network members towards the GoA, in different national and international forums and towards
  • Strengthen the relation among the like minded Networks and south-south cooperation

 

The Network is NOT to be a separate organisation, but be a facilitation and coordination unit drawing on voluntary basis on member organisational and staff resources, but with a dedicated Network Chairperson and Deputy Chair:

 

  • The Network members meet every month, to update each other’s on activities, potential new projects and discuss ways to develop and promote the network
  • The Network appoint by end of 2012 a Deputy Director that hold responsibility for convening meetings and represent the Network in absence of the Director
  • The Network establish by early 2013 an internal Programme Development Unit, drawn from expert staff of each organisation, to keep themselves updated on possible new projects, and to prepare professional proposals for the donorsThe PDU should be consisting of the three committees such as Technical and Finance Committee, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee and Fund raising Committee. The PDU should be in a position to review proposals and reports of their members, and if funding permits, draw in consultants with specific competence on short term contracts
  • Develop special competence on DRR, and drawing on all Network members skills/expertise for a comprehensive approach

 

Each member organisation is, however, responsible for their further professional development, and to ensure that they have sufficient staff and knowledge to secure their specialisation and administrative capacity.

There are some common initiatives identified that can help each of the members and the Network to meet their objectives:

 

  • Continue and develop the system of resource sharing among member organisations, including a common security system
  • Develop, in collaboration with their donors, systems for internal monitoring and external evaluations of their projects that meets international standards and help secure organisational learning– drawing on Network expertise and training capacity (possibly also for the broader NGO community) (in place by mid 2014) .
  • Develop a common Network system for staff appraisal and capacity development (in place by end of 2013)
  • Establish «Friends of CoAR Network», or a National Association to maintain contact with people/students that have been in contact with/ assisted by member organisations (in place by mid 2014)
  • Invite new members to join the Network, based on a set of criteria that ensure that they share the aim and vision of the Network, and contribute an annual fee towards the services provided (starting from 2013)

 

And constantly,

 

  • Maintain systematic contact with and keep the GoA, single ministries and ministers updated on the Network and their activities
  • Maintain contact with donors, to ensure that they are aware of the strengths, capacities and quality of the Network
  • Encourage all like minded and quality NGO members to join the HAP, ADRRN and CIVICUS to ensure a more professional and accountable NGO community in Afghanistan

 

The financial strength of each organisation will allow for more opportunities and ability to further build the Network and their activities.

There is therefore an urgent need to secure financial solidness for each member organisation and develop a common system for fundraising, practically:

  • Ensure a solid funding base for the 2 new network members (GTV and ISDT), including target work on DRR, to enable the capacity for these organisations to generate revenue for own and Network operations
  • Use the PDU to ensure a consistent work towards donors and new funding opportunities
  • Explore the long term potential for Afghan based funding, being that from individuals (members), businesses or other contributions
  • Develop contingency plans for different financial prospects, providing the

Network and members with a solid foundation for continuing activities

CONCLUDING COMMENT

The CoAR Network have member that complement each other and can help develop and make the individual members to become more professional and able to meet the forthcoming challenges Afghan are faced with, while at the same time draw on the collective knowledge and resources to strengthen a set of common services that will make them unique in Afghanistan – and internationally.

This strategy document has tried to identify the strengths of each organisation and how these can help further develop their own capacity while at the same time build the Network that can provide some common services and help increase the overall resilience, professionalism and capacity of the members. At a time when funding is expected to be reduced will those organisations that can reduce their operating costs while keeping up the quality if their work and marinating their reputation with Afghan communities and donors be the one that will be in the best position to continue to provide services to and with the Afghans.

It will require willingness to change, to adapt and to stay the course through unpredictable and possibly challenging times. The members of the CoAR Network has demonstrated that ability for soon 25 years, with innovation and letting in new people and new ideas that help develop professional and well managed and led organisations can the Network and its members be in an ideal situation to secure sustainable development and human dignity.

ANNEX I: TERMS OF REFERENCE

Terms of Reference

Development of Strategic Plan for CoAR Network 2012-17

Purpose

Coordination of Afghan Relief (CoAR) and the CoAR Network, consisting of CoAR,

Organization for Sustainable Development and Research (OSDR), Skills Training and Rehabilitation Society (STARS), Gurbat Radio TV (GRTV) and Institute for Sustainable Development and Technology (ISDT) is to develop a Strategic Plan for the period 2012 -2017.

Background

Major changes might take place in Afghanistan over the coming years that might pose multiple challenges for non-governmental organisations (NGOs).  Most international troops will be withdrawn by 2014, the same year the next Presidential election is scheduled.  There is uncertainty over how the security situation will develop and if that might hinder NGO access and demand larger flexibility in programming. Afghanistan is prone to natural disasters, and there are concerns over what extent environmental changes and sharply increased urbanization will influence on communal vulnerability. International funding is expected to be reduced despite donor pledges of 4 billion US dollars annually for the next 4 years. There will be increasing demands for “mutual accountability”, and for the GoA and NGOs to handle the funds, improve governance and curb corruption.

The Tokyo Framework for Mutual Accountability sets out goals and performance indicators for Afghanistan in the areas of governance (organizing transparent, credible elections processes in 2014 and 2015); rule of law and human rights (enactment of a legal framework to combat corruption, implementation of the National Action Plan for Women and the Elimination of Violence Against Women law); public finance (implementation of the IMF program); budget execution (transparent tax and customs systems); and economic development (allocating resources to achieve Afghanistan’s millennium development goals and improving the business climate).

While these goals are primarily set for the GOA is it likely to impact on the NGO sector, for them to support the GOA in meeting these goals and also their ability to document the impact and sustainability of their interventions. This is likely to increase the demand for monitoring and evaluation structures and methods. The GOA is likely to increase their control over the NGO sector and demand compliance with National Strategies and priorities set in the different Provinces.

 

 

COAR Network vision and core values

It is in this challenging environment that the CoAR Network with their different organizational orientations will operate over the coming years, in light of their vision of A just and equitable society that embraces the rights of all people for fundamental freedom through participation and contribution in all spheres of social, cultural, economic and political life. 

Based on organizational core values of Transparency, Accountability & Trust; Leadership; People Centeredness; Dignity; Commitment; Team Work; Tolerance; and Fostering Learning Environment.

Aim of assignment

The aim of this assignment is therefore to take stock of challenges and opportunities up against each member organization and the CoAR Network’s strengths and aim for further development of their professional capacity to develop a Strategic Plan for the period 20122017.

This plan will reflect how each organization and the Network foresee developments over the coming years, revisit vision, mission, mandate and core values and identify priorities for the Network and individual organizations as for their priority areas of i.e.:

  • programming and community dialogue,
  • synergies among network members,
  • relations with the GoA, communities and donors,
  • geographical focus,
  • regional presence,
  • DRR related activities through GRTV and ISDT,
  • funding strategy (ies) and priorities,
  • conflict sensitive approaches,
  • staff and capacity building,
  • framework for monitoring and evaluation,
  • and, sustainability of operations.

Methodology

The consultant, Arne Strand, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) will work closely with CoAR Network Chairman Naeem Salimee in setting up interviews with the CoAR Network Board and key staff of the network members and key representatives of the GoA, and for organizing a workshop with selected staff members to seek their opinion on strategies and priorities. The fieldwork will be concluded with a feedback session where initial findings are presented for key staff for their comments.

Planned Outcome

The consultant will prepare a draft Strategy Plan 2012 – 2017 of up to 20 pages that will be submitted to the CoAR Network for comments by 1 September 2012 and the upon comments and feedback the final Strategy Plan will be submitted before 15 September 2012.

 

 

 

[1] For more details see  http://www.afghanistan-un.org/2012/07/tokyo-conference-on-afghanistan/  visited 23.07.2012