Ambassador Hardt Participates in Linden Fund Trust Forum
Ambassador Hardt Participates in the Linden Fund Trust Forum
U.S. Ambassador D. Brent Hardt participated in a Forum hosted by the Linden Fund Trust (LFT) on February 8, 2012, at the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) Building. The forum brought together representatives of local government, the private sector and civil society from Region 10, and donors to discuss the findings of a survey of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Region 10. This survey examined both the capacity of Region 10 organizations to pursue their missions and the factors limiting their effective functioning and optimal operation. LFT Trustee Samuel Wright and USAID’s Governance Enhancement Project Deputy Chief of Party, Kevin McLaughlin, also gave remarks at the event. Results of the survey were also announced to stakeholders, local government employees, private sector representatives, and donors.
Ambassador Hardt remarked that CSOs play an essential role in strong and democratic culture, which he said evokes the image of a three-legged stool. “If one of the legs on the stool is too short or too tall, the stool is not stable and we know what will happen with the stool,” he said. “In democratic societies, the three legs are a responsive, accountable government; an energetic, effective private sector; and a representative and engaged civil society. Each leg has an important role to play and I am pleased to note that the three legs are represented here today.” He applauded Linden CSOs such as the Linden Care Foundation for providing necessary services to the community, and hopes the survey will increase public awareness of CSOs’ excellent work. In support of the survey results, he stated, “Especially in a political context of new opportunity for engagement across traditional political lines that exists in government, I encourage CSOs and the private sector to seize this opportunity to work together for the development of your Region.”
The Region 10 CSO Survey collected information on CSOs, their capacity to perform their stated missions, and the factors limiting them from reaching their full potential. According to the survey, most CSOs in the region operate as project-based entities. Long-term strategic planning is often hindered by limited staffing, infrastructure, and resources. Collaboration with other CSOs and government agencies was recommended as a means of making their programs sustainable and meeting the community’s needs. Based on survey results, a capacity-building and sustainability program was suggested, to include a Region 10 CSO Forum, a Sustainability Road map, and resource acquisition and management tools. The Region 10 CSO Survey is part of a long-term goal of establishing the Region 10 NGO Forum.
The LFT will spearhead efforts to establish the Region 10 NGO Forum that will seek to facilitate better coordination between and among CSOs in the Region. The LFT is a not-for-profit trust formed in 1998 with the aim of creating a healthy community in which citizens, at every stage of development, feel safe and empowered by the way the community is organized and governed.