Governance, paperwork, management techniques, human resources, financial conflicts of interest — those are some of the training modules discussed in workshops held Jan. 22 to 25 for nine representatives of three community-based organizations serving the community of men who have sex with men (MSM).
“This training was needed because most of these young associations have serious problems of leadership and governance, human resources management and financial communication,” said Simon Peter Eyene, one of the trainers. “It is important that these Cameroonian civil society organizations learn about good governance as it applies to their work with vulnerable groups such as men who have sex with men.” He defined good governance as “a set of good behaviors that allow leaders of civil society organizations to rely on effective and understandable organizations that allow them to carry out their duties without difficulty.”
Eyene’s belief in the need for the training was shared by Michel Engama, administrative and financial official at the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS), one of the three organizations whose members trained in the workshop, which was held at the offices of Affirmative Action in Yaoundé.
“With the knowledge received during this training, our capabilities have been strengthened in ways that we had been completely unaware of, including performance-based management techniques, procedure manuals, project management, and management of inventory and property. Additional training will be welcome,” he said.
“We hope that the associations will put to use the lessons they have learned,” said the project organizer, Serge Douomong Yotta, executive director of Affirmative Action.
Regarding the Jan. 25 session, he said, “Everything went well. Already we have achieved most of the great results that we hoped for.”
“Among other things, community-based organizations now are able to articulate a vision, a mission and clear procedural guidelines; equip themselves with organization charts and matching job descriptions; capitalize on data related to their activities; and better manage their equipment and inventories,” he said.
The workshops are funded through Cameroon’s Human Rights Response to HIV initiative, which has been supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) since 2012. The program’s objectives include reducing the vulnerability to HIV of populations most at risk of HIV infection, such as MSM.
The three human rights groups Cameroon Humanity First, Affirmative Action and CAMFAIDS participated in the workshops.
—Eric O. LEMBEMBE
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