In Burundi, capacity development improves lives for orphans and vulnerable children

July 25, 2023
ACHIEVE is a global effort to reach and sustain HIV epidemic control among pregnant and breastfeeding women, adolescents, infants and children. The project, led by Pact, supports children like the one above in Tanzania. Credit: Aidan Tarimo/Pact

In 2020, COPED (Conseil Pour Education et le Development) began implementing its first USAID-funded project as a prime implementing partner. The project, WIYIZIRE (Come here, we will support you), is an Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) activity in Burundi. USAID engaged the ACHIEVE project to partner with COPED to provide capacity development support to WIYIZIRE to lead and manage the OVC program in compliance with USAID guidelines.

Since the start of this partnership, ACHIEVE has employed a comprehensive capacity development approach, which includes conducting capacity needs assessments, developing Capacity Action Plans and providing technical assistance, coaching and mentorship to COPED to implement its  priorities. To identify capacity development needs, ACHIEVE uses a participatory self-assessment with the Integrated Technical and Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool (ITOCA) that incorporates the USAID Non U.S. Organization Pre-Award Survey (NUPAS) indicators and the Organizational Performance Index plus (OPI-plus) to assess COPED’s capacity and performance. ACHIEVE’s technical assistance has enabled COPED to make significant progress in achieving its capacity development priorities and ultimately its organizational goals in areas including financial management, OVC comprehensive programming, strategic information, planning and program management, procurement and agreement management, partnerships, communications and sustainability. The assistance has been delivered through various complementary approaches including training, coaching and mentoring.

ACHIEVE’s support has also led to the improvement in governance and management at the organization level.

“The support in the development of policies and strategies, the evaluations in all areas, and the development of action plans for the implementation of recommendations contributed to the improvement of COPED's governance, especially with the development and updating of important documents for good governance and management of the organization," said COPED’s program director.

Most important, COPED says, is the impact that ACHIEVE’s interventions have made at the community level. These interventions included “the technical assistance to review the tools relating to the project's implementation, notably for case management, mentoring to improve the services of health providers and community workers, the development of job aids for the community management of OVC, participation in bi-weekly and monthly meetings on the challenges faced, and data quality assurance,” as noted by a WIYIZIRE participant.

As noted by COPED’s national director, “COPED will continue to build on its strengths and address capacity development gaps, recognizing that growth is a continual learning process.”