APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde strengthens financial systems for better results
NAROK, RIFT VALLEY, KENYA — Symon Ketere had mixed feelings about the growth of the Narok District Network for HIV/AIDS Forum (NADINEF). The network of 12 nongovernmental partners had received extensive technical training by APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde program, and the increased capabilities of the partners enabled the group to dramatically expand its health and development work in the district. Ketere was pleased that more people were receiving critical services. But, as the accountant for NADINEF, Ketere needed additional support to ensure the organization’s financial capabilities could keep up with the expansion.
Many grassroots organizations face challenges in managing funds. Growing organizations frequently have weak financial systems, do not have access to basic training in financial management and can barely afford to hire qualified finance staff.
APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, makes building the capacity of local organizations to effectively manage their finances a priority by helping to provide financial management training, computers and software.
“We decided to train all our local implementing partners to use an affordable but effective accounting package, in addition to the continuous training and mentoring on procedures we provide,” says Peter Ongeta, a senior finance officer with the project.
Accounting staff have been trained and given computers loaded with QuickBooks, a software program popular with small businesses and organizations around the world. The software helps to manage cash transactions, banking, inventories and payrolls, making it possible for the 12 local organizations collaborating with APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde to produce timely reports for decision making.
The new system has greatly improved the way NADINEF manages its transactions, according to Dominic Lesaloi, NADINEF Coordinator. “We can now quickly compile and submit our reports at the end of the month, instead of two weeks later,” he says.
With APHIAplus support, NADINEF collaborates with six grassroots groups to support over 6,800 orphans and vulnerable children through a network of 360 community volunteers. Ketere says the new system gives him ample time to mentor smaller groups in financial management, an important consideration because the groups are spread over great distances and operate in hard-to-reach areas with an unreliable telephone network.
The financial management support is only part of a broader Nuru ya Bonde package of technical assistance to help local organizations better implement interventions to improve the lives of individuals and families in the Rift Valley region. The needs of each organization are determined when they are selected to join the program. All new partners undergo an initial capacity assessment using a standard questionnaire. This is followed by a process to jointly develop a scope of work, a capacity-building plan and a subagreement that guides the organization in project execution.
After an initial orientation and training on program strategies and management, APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde finance and program teams continue to mentor the organizations, keeping track of their progress through regular reports and site visits, while providing solutions to challenges as they arise.
As a result of the trainings and support, local implementing partners are able to provide accurate, timely financial reports and are now able to better serve more families in need. As of March 2013, the 12 local organizations are supporting more than 24,000 people living with HIV and 84,400 orphans and vulnerable children in the five counties covered by the project.
FHI 360 oversees overall program management and provides technical leadership to the APHIA-Plus Nuru Ya Bonde program.