Solomon Belete Tekola
MA in Development Studies, Kimmage DSC*
Solomon worked with Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Association (CCRDA), an umbrella organisation of NGOs, when he was awarded an Irish Aid Fellowship to undertake a Masters in Development Studies at Kimmage Development Studies Centre in 2010-11.
Our organisation is primarily responsible for capacity building, networking and experience sharing of our members who are engaged in various development activities ranging from service delivery, such as provision of clean water, education, care and support for HIV victims, to advancement of human and democratic rights,” explains Solomon, who is on study leave from his position as the Director of Finance and Administration with CRDA. “My doing this course in Development Studies will help my organisation in particular and member organisations in general in identifying contemporary development issues and designing effective intervention mechanisms. The course will enable me to give appropriate technical advice to our members as an extension of capacity building support.
The course in Ethics and Development has been very relevant as it raises the question whether we are doing the right thing - development organisations sometimes do more harm than good - and gives ethical advice in any development intervention. Another interesting part of this course was Climate Change, which is becoming a huge challenge to the efforts of poverty eradication. This programme highlights what are the causes of climate change, the international community policy responses, negative effects caused by it and its future impact on human development. The course helped me a lot to raise my awareness in this regard and will enable me to promote the agenda in my organisation and in our membership.
As part of the capacity building service CCRDA usually organises various training programmes throughout the year for our members. My course in Adult Learning will assist me to bring certain fundamental change regarding the design of adult training programme, style of delivery and its effectiveness. Similarly, we need to develop training on how to make working groups effective, improve the membership networking and productivity.
Instead of focussing on the issues we’ve focussed on previously, like training on management and related issues, we need to focus more on other issues like climate change, ethics of development, role of NGOs and so forth. Hence, some of the capacity building programmes we were handling in the past will definitely see change in the future. Also I’ve built up my skills in stakeholder participation that pave the way for our membership to take the leading role in the issues of the organisation. This enables my organization to be transparent and accountable, above all an organisation that best serves the interest of its members.
My research will focus on NGO accountability and this will also help the effort to build transparent and accountable organisations. The research will focus on identifying to what extent NGOs are accountable to stakeholders such as government, donors, beneficiaries/clients, peers in the sector and their own staff. It will also explore the challenges faced by NGOs in realizing accountability.
The Government of Ethiopia issued a very ambitious development plan that aims to reduce poverty hugely. According to the plan, the NGOs will play active role in attaining development and eradicating poverty. The sector, therefore, has a lot to accomplish so that the life of the people will be improved. I will contribute in the realisation of this plan and we need to work hard to contribute to our people and country’s future.
I feel very grateful to the Government of Ireland and Irish Aid for this opportunity.
*The MA in Development Studies at Kimmage DSC is now offered as the MA in International Development at Maynooth University.