Yesterday I met with several colleagues to decide which associations and projects will benefit from the regional small projects fund. Every fiscal year each country program receives USD 15,000. It's never enough.
There were 66 proposals submitted, out of which my colleague short-listed 10. We chose 6 to fund, given that the remaining 4 can apply to other donors, such as the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters. (Does Paris know about this?)
The "winning" proposals read like a laundry list of ills in Burkina Faso:
* a market garden to provide food and income for seminary students
* upgrading and equipping a center for handicapped people
* a school to teach sewing to young women
* a garden to supplement the lunch program at a school
* supplies and equipment for a center for young women fleeing forced marriages
* agricultural training for 30 young people
It's a huge wrench to go through this process every year. Every project is worthy. Every community is needy. But there just isn't enough to go around.
No major armed conflicts here. (Despite the dictatorial tendencies of the current president, who was just re-elected.) Just the usual lack of resources and poor distribution of what little resources there are. The unnamed NGO I work for has been here for 40+ years doing food distributions. Is that really development?
We do a lot of capacity building, mainly through trainings in each project or department. For example during last year's food crisis, my two colleagues and I went around and did mini-trainings for each partner on how to do a distribution. Then after the distributions were finished we organized a training for all the partners on emergency preparation and response, including contingency planning, early warning systems, etc. We try to do something like that every year since the situation in Cote d'Ivoire continues to percolate.