2016 has been a year characterized by major changes in two of the major business areas of Bente Consulting: support to civil society development through Danish NGOs and the upcoming closing of the Danish Embassy in Mozambique.  This has called for forward looking strategic choices in terms of new geographical areas and new clients. In spite of this, 2016 has been characterized by a mixture of old and new fields of work and the main tasks have concentrated on:

Civil society and organizational capacity development – unfolded through a Thematic Review of the Danish trade union 3F for Danida with field visits to Zambia and South Africa; mid-term-evaluation of Norwegian People Aid’s support to farmers’ organizations in Mozambique, and review of the Danish Association of the Blind’s Asia-Pacific Program with a workshop in the Philippines. And finally, the part-time position as grant assessment consultant for Globalt Fokus’ capacity development fund, has provided insight knowledge on Danish CSOs and innovative initiatives on organizational capacity building. I have, however, decided to leave Globalt Fokus, as the schedule is often incompatible with my other assignments. 

Governance and Human Rights – finalizing the formulation of the Danish Governance and Human Rights Program in Tanzania, including the preparation of Development Engagements with seven local CSOs, development programs and institutions. Youth rights were the main focus for the appraisal of BØRNEfonden’s Youth Program in West Africa carried out at a participatory workshop in Lomé with particioants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo.

Program management – represented through two separate, yet interlinked assignments: A Lessons Learned Study for the Environmental Sector Program Support (institutional capacity component) in Mozambique, gathering lessons learned on program management and capacity development of involved government institutions; and the preparation of a perspective document on a possible Phase II of the Municipal Development Program in Mozambique. Both programs are components under the overall Danish engagement in the environmental sector in Mozambique.

Mozambique – going from bad to worse with looming civil war, economic crisis caused by the former government’s clandestine loans, political killings, increased corruption and inflation. In spite of 40+ years of independence and massive development assistance, poverty is still prevailing and little has changed for the small farmers, who are still demanding access to markets, technical know-how and farm input supplies. They have a mobile phone and easier access – but the basics in terms of education, health and social welfare bear a terrible resemblance with the 1992-situation I know so well from Zambézia Province.

At the doorstep of 2017, the first new assignment is a result of expanding into new business areas – francophone West Africa: Preparation of an advocacy training workshop with ASDAP BØRNEfonden’s Mali partner to take place in Lomé (Togo) in February. The ESPS II Lessons Learned Study will be finalized by end of January when comments from the Mozambican ministry of environment (MITADER) are due.  

Bonne Année - Feliz Ano Novo - Happy New Year – Godt Nytår!