“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” — Paul Hawken
As some of you know, I’ll be heading back to Uganda for the next couple of weeks to provide a range of assistance to USAID grantees and partners.
I’ll be working with the Uganda Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Agriculture Activity (EEA)—a three-year activity that aims to improve the environment for agricultural development, trade, and adaptation to climate change within the coffee, maize, and beans value chains in Uganda.
A specific objective of our work will be to enhance the capacity of Private Sector Organizations (PSOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to contribute to policy decisions related to agricultural development, agriculture trade, and climate change adaption.
In addition to providing one-to-one structured and intensive technical assistance with three agricultural associations, I’ll be leading a four-day association management training workshop for close to 50 participants from a wide variety of agricultural CSOs and PSOs.
Our approach is practical, results-oriented, and grounded in the adult experiential learning cycle. The workshop will foster participation and the application of real-life experiences, ensuring that members of selected organizations will be able to:
- Better understand the roles of a member-driven organization;
- Ensure a structurally sound organization that is well-staffed, well-managed, and well-governed;
- Define or refine their organizational mission, objectives, and goals, and develop a strategic plan and program of work;
- Ensure responsive, accountable, and engaged boards and effective association governance mechanisms;
- Ensure development of the organization’s human resources;
- Apply strategies for revenue generation and tools for effective financial management; and
- Develop and apply external and internal communications strategies and tools.
In addition to the specific management issues that we will cover during the first three days, the workshop will also include one full day focusing on specific association membership engagement issues. We have asked board members to join their staff leadership on this day, so that teams from each organization can work together on clarifying member benefits, messaging, and participatory process development.
- EEA Partner Teams will be able to:
- Clearly define their member benefits;
- Understand that their members will do a costs-benefits analysis before they decide whether or not to join an association;
- Recognize the primary reasons PSOs and CSOs join associations;
- Understand and apply proven tools for attracting and retaining members and techniques for addressing member non-compliance, e.g. non-payment of dues, etc.; and
- Both learn and practice strategic ways to define their messaging, communicate their successes, and market what they offer to existing and potential members.
During the second week in Uganda, I will provide more than 40 hours of individualized technical assistance to three participating associations/organizations on issues in direct support of the development of their public policy advocacy and lobbying activities. These sessions will include strategic planning, advocacy campaign plan development, and the facilitation of one group’s annual membership meeting.
We’ve been fortunate over the years to work on many agriculture projects—in Bolivia, Macedonia, and Moldova, for example—and on several projects in Africa—in Ethiopia, South Africa, and now Uganda. I'm excited to be back in Africa working on such an important project and looking forward to once again experiencing the amazing energy, passion, and power of the people of Uganda.