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Local Actors’ Capacity Building Needs Beyond CVA (MENA)

20 June 2023 — By Alessia Volpe, Chair of the CALP MENA Locally-led Response (LLR) Community of Practice

In light of the findings produced by the previous year’s research cycle on LLR in MENA, the CoP made “identifying and addressing capacity building needs” a core priority for the group moving forward. The aim is to ensure that local actors are set for success, and fair competitors for grants allocations. Thus, the CoP underwent an assessment of both donors and local actors perceptions on the matter. Notably, this was beyond CVA alone, and intended to cover the perceived gaps to consider local actors as “fair competitors” for grants allocations and funding opportunities.

The assessment was structured as two subsequent surveys, one for donors and consortia, aimed to identifying gaps that they perceive or are aware of, and the second for local actors in the form of a checklist, for them to self-assess capacity building needs. Across MENA, twelve responses were recorded amongst donors and consortia, and 97 individual responses were recorded from local actors. While data are not statistically representative due to the sampling and outreach method, they can surely be considered indicative. Data collection ran from May 21st to June 2nd for the first survey, and then for the checklist between June 6th and 15th, 2023.

In order to address the most pressing needs for local actors, the CoP will then work to identify organizations or individual consultants, human and financial resources to provide local actors with trainings to bridge these gaps. According to the responses provided, beyond the CVA-related capacity building needs, the most pressing gaps to address are:

  1. Training on communication, including: a) policies on media, external comms, b) websites and credibility alliance, and c) troubleshooting related communication to donors.
  2. Grants writing.
  3. Annual reports, audits, and compliance related courses and resources.
  4. Data protection and GDPR, including questionnaires development encompassing basic PSS (e.g., data protection, questions selections and appropriate phrasing, etc.).
  5. Financial processes and budgeting.

These first steps will start bridging the perceived or real gaps to allow local actors to become “fair competitors” for grants allocations. However, local actors also called for donors to include a condition in their contracts with UN agencies and INGOs to sub-award and/or partner with them, the removal of the condition “if you have previously funded by”, as that leads to having just few organizations continuously funded and the systematic exclusion of all others, and for investments to address perceived capacity gaps.

For further information, please contact either Alessia Volpe, Chair of the CALP MENA locally-led response CoP ( or Rana Nassar, CALP Regional Representative (