Wednesday 23 September 2015

By Wangari Karuoya


Save the Children recently held an event at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi where colleagues from all over the Save the Children International Offices and the member offices came together to discuss issues to do with Technical Assistance (TA) and find solutions on some of the factors that have led to this not being as effective as it should be in the organization. This was done through various sessions that enabled those present to have sessions that were as interactive as possible including having a market place where experiences and lessons could be shared.


Speaking  at a session which he led, Alan Paul emphasized the need for country programs to be active in   determining what kind of Technical Assistance they would like to have and also in ensuring that the skill set in the regions was matched to the gaps that are existent in that region. “What are the specific issues in Sub-Saharan Africa? “ He asked.


Some of the issues that came up as a response to this were  that TAs are mostly tied to grants thus some countries have less support in terms of this. Countries are also receiving less funding and therefore the perception of TA assistance should be changed as currently it is always associated with a budget thus seems imposed.


Some of the solutions that were favored by most included the need to have a flexible humanitarian TA capacity because there is a need for people to go to other areas when there are emergencies. It was also felt that 22 more technical advisors that are flexible would help to deliver on the 2015 strategy  and the optimization  and maximization on how TAs are used in times of emergency would also help to achieve the vision of the organization.


At the end of the three day event, the participants were pleased with the results of the deliberations and were hopeful that the solutions would be implemented. Their expectations had been met and as Raquel Abega, the Regional Advisor for Child Rights Governance for Central and West Africa, based in Cote’d ‘Iviore put it, “We had very fruitful discussions and I expect that we take forward the learnings from the different sub-regions and come up with a clear strategy and regional approach.” These were sentiments echoed by Enyo Idima, the Child Protection Thematic Advisor for West and Central Africa saying, “My main expectation was to get the opportunity to have discussions about the TA support and to see other experiences and what works and these three days have given me the opportunity to share a lot and I will take that back to my region.”


The Sub-Saharan TA learning event was organized by the Save the Children Regional Office for East Africa from the 14th to the 16th of September and its objectives included: To consider the culture of dual citizenship as TA, to collectively consider the strategic future for Save the Children in Africa based, to build a shared understanding of TA, to capture good practice and finally to develop a shared ambition for program excellence, based on a collective understanding and agreement of what program means.