Tag Archives: capacity building

Celebrating Young Civil Society Leaders from Around the Globe


On January 24 at the U.S. Department of State, CIPE, Atlas Corps, and the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan co-hosted a welcome event for the new class of Atlas Corps Fellows including five participants of the CIPE-Atlas Corps Think Tank LINKS Fellowship.

As mentioned in a previous post, this year’s Think Tank LINKS fellows represent various regions around the world and either come from leading think tanks back in their home countries or will be serving at top-tier organizations in Washington, DC.

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Learn More About CIPE’s KnowHow Mentorship

What if experienced professionals could share their expertise and wisdom by mentoring non-profit organizations around the world?

As highlighted previously in CIPE blog  (here and here), KnowHow is a virtual mentorship program that links the professional skills of volunteers with the needs of associations and chambers of commerce from around the world seeking technical assistance.

Join a conversation on Tuesday November 12, 2013 at 8 AM EST with two current KnowHow pairs to learn about the benefits of participating in the program. Hear how the Georgian Small and Medium Enterprise Association used the knowledge they gained from the mentorship to increase its membership by over 30% in less than a year. Discover what new insights and life-changing experiences the mentors have gained from sharing their expertise and experience with organizations overseas.

The webinar will feature two mentor-mentee pairs:

Peter O’Neil, Executive Director, American Industrial Hygiene Association

Olivera Popovic, Vice President, Association of Business Women in Serbia (ABW)


Elissa Myers, President & CEO, Advice & Consensus

Kakha Kokhreidze, President, Georgian Small and Medium Enterprise Association (GSMEA)

Please register for the webinar here

CIPE In Francophone Africa: The Lost Chapters

Participants in CIPE's 2010 program in Cote d'Ivoire. (Photo: CIPE staff)

Participants in CIPE’s 2010 program in Cote d’Ivoire. (Photo: CIPE staff)

Part of my mandate as Program Officer for West and Central Africa is to establish a sustainable CIPE presence in Francophone Africa, a group of countries where CIPE appears to have a light footprint. So, it was with a solid sense of purpose that I embarked on my most recent CIPE mission to Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, only to realize that my CIPE predecessors had already done fantastic work, which accounts for CIPE’s popularity within civil society circles in many Francophone countries.

You can imagine Neil Armstrong and his crew, possessed by that light mix of excitement and apprehension in their underbelly as they headed for the moon, anticipating being the first humans to acquaint themselves with it, only to get there and be welcomed by a bunch of encamped Russians: “Ah, Americans … you finally made it.” — I would be untruthful not to admit that a part of me felt outflanked by my CIPE predecessors.

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Achieving Impact in Senegal


My recent visit to Dakar, Senegal, where I met with longtime CIPE partner, l’Union National des Commercants et Industriels du Senegal (UNACOIS) was very informative and revealed how much impact a good CIPE partnership can bring to bear.

The decade-long partnership between CIPE and UNACOIS – a Senegalese private sector association with 70,000 members who operate small and medium enterprises, mainly in the informal sector — is proving increasingly consequential within Senegal’s civil society circles. CIPE and UNACOIS have partnered on three programs whose core objective was to enhance UNACOIS’ internal governance capacity.

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Are You Seeking Technical Assistance?


Does your association or chamber of commerce aspire to better serve your members?

Do you wish you could manage your organization differently so that things would improve?

Or are you looking for ways to help make your association more sustainable?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then sign up for CIPE’s KnowHow Mentorship program! CIPE is recruiting for business associations and chambers of commerce from around the world looking for free technical assistance.

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Building Organizational Capacity Around the World

How can experienced professionals share their expertise to help build the capacity of associations around the world? With this question in mind, CIPE launched the KnowHow Mentorship in the summer of 2011.

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KnowHow: Mentoring Women Business Associations

Members of Women in Management and Business, a KnowHow participant in Lagos, Nigeria (Photo: Staff).

Women around the world are still underrepresented in the policymaking and economic spheres. One way for women to become active citizens is working with civil society organizations that have the tools and knowledge to help give them a voice and advocate for reform. That’s why CIPE launched the KnowHow mentorship program (KnowHow) last year on International Women’s Day. KnowHow connects volunteers with technical expertise to local associations around the world seeking their know-how.  To date, the program has successfully matched experienced business professionals with twelve associations from developing countries, ten of which are women’s business associations.

Here are some highlights of what’s been happening:

The Association of Business Women in Serbia (ABW-Serbia)  has been working with Peter O’Neil since last summer. They have a monthly conference call to improve on ABW’s pressing organizational issues, including fundraising, financing, and membership services.  O’Neil and Anastasia Jelasic, the Business Development Advisor for ABW, recently created ABW’s working plan for the year 2012, and are moving forward with the mentorship. As Jelasic noted, “ABW expects that this KnowHow mentorship will provide the organization with the knowledge and skills necessary for making our organization sustainable as Serbia joins the path to EU membership.”

Since December 2010, Russell McKinnon has been mentoring the Women Business Owners Jamaica (WBO),  an association that promotes the success of women business owners through education, research, mentorship, and networking. Through online meetings and document review and exchange, Russ works closely with WBO to strengthen the organization’s capacity and to develop sustainable revenue sources to better serve the needs of WBO’s members and stakeholders. Yaneek Page, the President of WBO, said that “a significant benefit to us thus far is the input and guidance of our [KnowHow mentor, Russ] in the development of a comprehensive three year strategic plan that’ll serve as a platform for WBO’s organizational growth, resilience and continuity.”

The Association of Businesswomen and Top Managers (AFAFCI) in Romania  – which aims to become one of the main representatives of the local business community for women – is working with Harriet Fader to identify the needs and values of AFAFCI’s 39 members. Through KnowHow, AFAFCI has been exposed to new strategies for increasing membership, networking activities for members to better connect and start partnerships, and ideas of community service projects. Delia Cojocaru, the Executive Director of AFAFCI, strongly believes that “exchanging experiences and best practices is essential for organization progress. CIPE’s KnowHow Exchange [is] a [great opportunity] that turned into a successful dialogue.”

Check out how other business associations in the program are improving their organizations through the KnowHow mentorships  and what the mentors think about assisting  associations in other countries. Two of the mentors, Peter O’Neil and Susan Sarfati, also shared their KnowHow experiences on video.

CIPE will continue working with women’s business associations to help empower them by growing their capacity. If you would like to help build women’s associations’ know-how , or if your association could benefit from getting a mentor, let us know!