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What skills development opportunities are most sought after by staff of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)?

At the Humanitarian HR Conference run by CHS Alliance this week, HPass expert Esther Grieder, and Research, Evidence & MEAL Advisor Seema Patel presented findings from the Humanitarian Leadership Academy’s research, which surveyed CSOs and their workers worldwide to identify the most pressing skills development needs.

Here are some headline findings from the research:

  • Project management was by far the most commonly identified learning need, followed by fundraising and resource management. This is an interesting finding which perhaps suggests that CSOs are preparing to play a greater role in accessing and managing funds, in anticipation of the localisation agenda being put into practice.
  • There was a strong focus on operational skills as opposed to technical expertise, perhaps because these are skills required by all staff rather than those seeking to specialise. Protection appeared fourth on the list. It was interesting to see that technological skills appeared fifth on the list, perhaps reflecting rapid changes in ways of working. However, expertise related to issues such as climate, infectious diseases and displacement were notably less cited.
  • Within the wider project management category, the most sought after skills were Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning (MEAL), proposal-writing, project design, report-writing and research.
  • The research specifically looked at Leadership skills The findings demonstrated a very strong focus on more inward looking skills (Team Management, Inter-personal skills & General Management were the top three), rather that outward-facing skills such as partnerships and external relations. This to some extent reflected frustration with leaders among more junior staff.
  • Barriers to skills development were complex, and included time, funding, inequalities (people with disabilities, women and younger staff cited barriers), and access to and experience with technology.

The following are some HPass badges you can earn in the priority areas identified by research participants:

Project DPro Foundation certification is based on an exam that assesses mastery of the Project DPro Guide definitions, tools, and techniques. Owned and accredited by PM4NGOs, adopted by over 30 thousand professionals, 1,300 organizations, in 173 countries, it is developed with experts from several of the world’s best-known and highly recognized non-profit organizations. Learn more here. 

This badge is for the “Response Setup and Management” learning pathway which is part of HOP Fundamentals course on Kaya. It includes modules on proposal & report writing, Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning (MEAL), needs assessment, data management and partnerships. Learn more here.

This badge is for the FIELD ‘Project Management in Humanitarian Settings’ pathway, and demonstrates the learner has essential awareness around the core aspects of managing projects within humanitarian settings. Learn more here. 

This badge is for completing the FIELD Leading and Managing People in Emergencies pathway on Kaya. Learn more here. 

This badge is for completing the FIELD Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Pathway, on Kaya. Learn more here. 

Earners of PHAP’s Core Certification in Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) have demonstrated that they have an understanding of the fundamental aspects of MEAL systems and activities needed by all practitioners engaged in MEAL activities in humanitarian and development contexts. This includes the components, concepts, and principles of MEAL; planning, designing, and implementing MEAL activities; data management and quality; and analysis, interpretation, and communication. Learn more here.