Three things I’ve learned by working for international cooperation agencies

septiembre 7, 2018
Entrevista para revista chilango
agosto 27, 2018
Three things I’ve learned by working for international cooperation agencies II
septiembre 10, 2018

For the past five years most of my professional experience has centered on collaborating with international cooperation institutions, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) or United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Center for Excellence (UNODC). It has been an extremely rewarding professional experience because I have been able to provide services as a consultant, manager of a private company, as well as part of a program financed by resources provided by the US government.

In this time period, I have collaborated with stakeholders from national and local governments, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector. I have also worked with colleagues from different backgrounds for many hours to achieve the goals set by the donor and the local partners of the institutions. These efforts required many hours of dialogue, coordination and decision making.

International cooperation agencies’ work is fundamental for institutions in developing countries because it enables policy makers as well as the operators in the field access to resources and capabilities that would otherwise not be available. To do this, agencies act as a hinge that allows government organizations form different levels to collaborate not only with the agency but with civil society, private sector, and academia in activities to increase their own capabilities or enable communities to become resilient.

Although collaboration and cooperation is always welcomed and well-received, there are at least three challenges I’ve faced. Here is the first one, the other two will be published Monday and Wednesday.

  1. Multisector collaboration isn’t easy: Collaboration between sectors is desired by most as a mechanism to enable the group to achieve a bigger goal for example strengthen the capacity of the police to better interact with community. However, this is often times, easier said than done. Conflicting institutional agendas, differences in budgets and even political decisions can transform desired goals by the group into a daunting task. In my experience, dialogue between the agency and stakeholders to provide accurate information to facilitate decision making, flexibility to answer some of the request from group members, and having some room to move the schedule to achieve the goal is always useful. Either working as team leader in charge of developing a web-based visualization platform for the government; managing a joint session between government and academia to diagnose human rights at the southern border; or discussing the support for learning materials to be published, these tactics have always proved to be useful.
    There are costs for consultants, contractors and program operators. For instance, delayed payments, contract amendments and quarterly reports explaining limited progress, are only some issues I have had to overcome.

For the past five years most of my professional experience has centered on collaborating with international cooperation institutions, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) or United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Center for Excellence (UNODC). It has been an extremely rewarding professional experience because I have been able to provide services as a consultant, manager of a private company, as well as part of a program financed by resources provided by the US government.

In this time period, I have collaborated with stakeholders from national and local governments, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector. I have also worked with colleagues from different backgrounds for many hours to achieve the goals set by the donor and the local partners of the institutions. These efforts required many hours of dialogue, coordination and decision making.

International cooperation agencies’ work is fundamental for institutions in developing countries because it enables policy makers as well as the operators in the field access to resources and capabilities that would otherwise not be available. To do this, agencies act as a hinge that allows government organizations form different levels to collaborate not only with the agency but with civil society, private sector, and academia in activities to increase their own capabilities or enable communities to become resilient.

Although collaboration and cooperation is always welcomed and well-received, there are at least three challenges I’ve faced. Here is the first one, the other two will be published Monday and Wednesday.

  1. Multisector collaboration isn’t easy: Collaboration between sectors is desired by most as a mechanism to enable the group to achieve a bigger goal for example strengthen the capacity of the police to better interact with community. However, this is often times, easier said than done. Conflicting institutional agendas, differences in budgets and even political decisions can transform desired goals by the group into a daunting task. In my experience, dialogue between the agency and stakeholders to provide accurate information to facilitate decision making, flexibility to answer some of the request from group members, and having some room to move the schedule to achieve the goal is always useful. Either working as team leader in charge of developing a web-based visualization platform for the government; managing a joint session between government and academia to diagnose human rights at the southern border; or discussing the support for learning materials to be published, these tactics have always proved to be useful.
    There are costs for consultants, contractors and program operators. For instance, delayed payments, contract amendments and quarterly reports explaining limited progress, are only some issues I have had to overcome.

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