4 Responses

  1. Sarah Kirk
    Sarah Kirk April 17, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I wonder about organizations that continue to get repeat volunteers for very similar positions. Once a resource mobilization officer has left and been deemed a success, they are swiftly replaced by a donor liaison officer who in turn is deemed a success – just in time for the next resource mobilization officer, or for variety, communications professional with grant writing experience!

  2. Ashlee Betteridge
    Ashlee Betteridge April 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks Stephen, even though the introduction makes me sound like a person who is very hard to please, I very much agree with your post!

    I found it baffling that the evaluation defined capacity building in such narrow terms. Even skill transfer in the most basic sense is a positive and arguably builds capacity in some way. Even if staff or counterparts move on to other jobs or other organisations, as often happens, you are still boosting the range of skills and competencies in the country’s human resource pool.

    I don’t really understand why the volunteer program would be the tool you would choose to use for institutional capacity building if it is deemed to be so important, especially since the program by nature focuses more on building ‘people to people’ links rather than institution or organisational strengthening. Do Australia Awards and other scholarships, for example, aim to build institutional capacity or just the country’s human resource capacity more generally?

    1. Patrick Kilby
      Patrick Kilby April 17, 2014 at 9:20 am

      The recommendation that the “AVID program on developing the long-term capacity of host organisations”, seems a very big ask for a 20-something person; when (in some cases) decades of technical assistance from much more experienced folk has not been able to do it. A comparison between the commercial and NGO volunteer progams would be interesting as well

      1. Ashlee Betteridge
        Ashlee Betteridge April 17, 2014 at 10:27 am

        As a 20-something person that tried and failed at this, I can only agree Patrick! I think the bar is being set too high here for something that people ultimately sign up for out of a sense of goodwill. Volunteers aren’t consultants. As the evaluation shows, in many ways this is why they are so valuable. They can achieve things that consultants cannot. If a volunteer manages to develop the long-term capacity of a host organisation, then good on them, that is wonderful–but it shouldn’t be the expectation.

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