“An NGO that was already operational”

Following an identification phase over the course of several months, the Central African NGO African Relief Service (ARS) was selected for this mentoring process. “We were looking to offer support to an NGO that was already operational, especially in areas which international NGOs struggle to access due to the security situation”, indicates the Bioforce project coordinator. The self-assessment carried out by ARS using our Taking the Lead tool highlighted administrative, financial and organisational capacity building requirements as well as the need for support to develop a donor funding strategy.

Group training sessions for the ARS teams have been delivered in  association with the International NGO Coordination Committee and the Central African Agency for Employment and Professional Training (ACFPE); the teams are also offered post-training follow-up. An organisational analysis of ARS was being conducted alongside, mainly focusing on coordination issues, whose recommendations will be implemented in 2021.

“Implement a project to help fix our problems”

ARS’s mentoring by Bioforce also includes operational support, and that is what makes it innovative: Bioforce works alongside the national NGO offering day-to-day guidance in implementing its support programme in three healthcare centres in the district of Bégoua. With assistance from Bioforce’s experts, ARS defined, build and led a training programme in September for nine healthcare workers and the eight ARS supervisors working in the centres (including hospital hygiene, nutritional prevention, malaria, measles and covid-19 prevention) and in December for 30 community representatives (including active malnutrition screening, awareness raising messages and methods).

By training staff and installing operational equipment (incinerators for waste management, latrine blocks, placenta pits), work in these healthcare centres has gathered momentum: on average, 300 primary healthcare consultations are conducted per month, compared to some thirty previously in these areas. Women who before would have to walk miles for prenatal consultations and childbirth, can now take advantage of these services in their respective local healthcare districts. Providing nutritional and vaccination support for 15,500 CAR nationals present in these areas is one of many direct impacts of the project.

As the ARS national coordinator points out, “this new project, IRCAP, will enable us to work on the areas we identified for improvement. It’s a really interesting process: it’s not just about learning, being briefed, but also direct practical application. We have the chance to get involved, to implement a project, while benefiting from Bioforce’s guidance to help fix our problems. It’s going to be a real asset for our beneficiaries.”

300 consultations per month