On top of its research and public dialogue core programs, FSS has long determined that training will be an important area of intervention to build the capacity of government and civil society organizations. In this regard, the 2006-2010 Strategic Plan envisages FSS into becoming a specialized training and capacity building institute in the long term side by side with its research-based policy dialogue mission. Over the years, FSS has undertaken a number of training programs in line with this strategic objective. Some of these include the following:
- In 1999, FSS in collaboration with the Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA) conducted its first training program for journalists in the government and independent media. The aim was to develop and enhance the professional competencies of journalists on how to report on issues of economic and social development in the country. As part and parcel of the training program, FSS commissioned a study on the status of the private press and published the output as a monograph titled ‘Survey of the Private Press in Ethiopia: 1991-1999’. This has been widely disseminated.
- In 2004, FSS conducted a six-day Research Methodology training program for civil society organizations, government agencies, staff and members of Parliament and the Chamber of Commerce.
- During 2008-09, FSS launched a series of Training Workshops for state and civil society development actors as a pilot project. These regional training Workshop focused on the principles, methods, types, and best practices of advocacy by members of civil society and other state actors. A total of one hundred forty four (144) development workers were trained in five regions (Addis Ababa, Bahr Dar, Hawassa, Jimma and Mekele).
- Short Term Training in Project Cycle Management—2009/10
Anticipating that restriction on rights-based advocacy in the new CSO law will force indigenous CSOs to reorient their programme to service delivery and development activities, FSS designed a training programme for such CSOs with a view to enhancing their capacity to develop and implement successful development projects. Since the law also provides for sector administrators
to vet the CSO projects and closely monitor their implementation, it was felt that their participation in such training in project cycle management will help foster a partnership between GOs and CSOs based on a clear understanding of the steps and issues involved in project management processes.
The project cycle management training included practical tools and demonstrations in socio-economic and gender analysis, project identification, project design, project appraisal, proposal preparation, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting. It was contextualized to reflect the MDG and PASDEP priorities while also being reinforced by feedback from the preliminary assessment of the impact of the new law on CSOs. FSS intends to use the experience gained from conducting this training to scale up the operation in future as a full-fledged programme for income generation.
The first training under this program was given from 21 to 27 April and the second one from 18 to 22 May. The third and final training workshop was given on 6-10 July. Altogether, 62 trainees drawn from the technical personnel of kebeles, kifle ketema, AA bureaus, and CSOs took part in the workshop. The first workshop was held at the Semien Hotel while the second and third were held at FSS. The third and final training used an Amharic version of the module, which has been revised and made ready for future use. The training was part of a three-year project funded by the European Union under its EIDHR programme.
- In 2009/10, a second training program in Project Cycle Management was offered to technical staff of CSOs and government organizations working with grassroots communities. This was intended to enhance the management skills of the technical staff of CSOs and government organizations working with grassroots communities. The training was conducted in Addis Ababa for selected staff of indigenous civil society organizations and government offices to familiarize them with the principles and practice of Project Management. A total of sixty three (63) development workers were trained.
- In 2010, FSS offered yet another successful training program in project cycle management to about 30 participants drawn from woreda and zone administrations. The training was sponsored by the Conflict Early Warning & Response Mechanism (CEWARN) of the Inter-Governmental Authority of Development (IGAD). Consultations were held with CEWARN to make the training course relevant and tailor made in line with the needs of the sponsoring organization and the trainees.
To facilitate its work, FSS has compiled two training manuals to be used for its training programs: a. Civil Society Advocacy; and b) Project Cycle Management). These manuals will continuously be updated and made more relevant by incorporating practical examples, feedback from trainees and context specific case studies. The final improved versions of these manuals have been translated into Amharic and disseminated among the development and civil society community.
Future and Current Plans
Continuing with its tradition and a commitment to evolve into a center of excellence in practical and relevant training, FSS Management has decided to focus on 3 selected areas of training: (1) project cycle management; (2) Impact Assessment Training; and (3) Applied Research skills. Materials for these programs have either been finalized or are in the process of being prepared. The training offered will be demand-driven; tailor made and relevant to the needs and requirements of the requesting organizations.