NGOs and Civic Activism II – A Multi-Regional Project

IVLP group meets with Barry Silverberg, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Studies at Austin Community College in Austin, TX

On Monday, October 22nd, 2018, Meridian welcomed a group of 14 non-profit leaders and civic activists from across the African continent for the International Visitor Leadership Program, “NGOs and Civic Activism II.” The program’s theme centered on the innovative management strategies of non-governmental organizations that support and promote social or political issues and explored the diversity of the independent sector in the United States. During this three-week program, the participants examined methodologies used by NGOs for strengthening leadership, recruiting volunteers, developing fundraising, and advancing missions. The participants first convened in Washington, DC before splitting up into three groups for separate programming in Greensboro, North Carolina; Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama; and Louisville, Kentucky. The group reconvened in San Antonio, Texas before traveling to Austin, Texas, and concluding their program in Portland, Oregon.

In Washington, DC, Ms. Ella Washington, PhD, at Gallup, Inc. facilitated a lively workshop on the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment tool where the group discovered their personal strengths and analyzed how best to utilize and develop their leadership skills. Mr. Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction, explained the relationship between the federal government and U.S. NGOs and the role NGOs play in monitoring and influencing policy formulations and relevant legislation. Ms. Lily Ciric-Hoffmann led an interactive social media workshop on communication and outreach strategies to diverse and underserved communities. A meeting with the American Association of University Women examined grassroots empowerment programs for women and girls; and a discussion with Youth Service America offered insight into how to empower youth through meaningful service, leadership, and civic engagement.

Following successful programs in North Carolina, Alabama and Kentucky focused on civic activism through the lens of civil rights; grassroots support for marginalized communities; foundation support for local nonprofits; and university training in NGO leadership and management, the group reconvened in Texas with several substantive appointments. A meeting and community service activity with Haven for Hope demonstrated the scope of the homeless problem in Bexar County and provided an opportunity to look at successfully recruiting and effectively retaining volunteers. Mr. Barry Silverberg, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Studies at Austin Community College, developed a workshop offering best practices in non-profit management including grant writing, volunteer leadership, governance, and strategic planning. The project concluded in Portland, Oregon with programming focused on local non-profits that work to ensure the health and sustainability of the community. The Nonprofit Association of Oregon provided insight into the relationship between the state and local governments and NGOs. The group was warmly welcomed by the principal and staff of the West Linn High School, where they engaged in conversations about local and global action on social issues. A meeting with HAKI Community Organization highlighted the services they provide to immigrant and refugee populations in Portland. Through visits to large and small non-profit organizations, the participants gained an appreciation for the scope of work being conducted in the United States and returned home with some new ideas.

Sponsors and Partners

U.S. Department of State
International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State
Global Ties Alabama
World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana
Global Austin
NC Global Leadership
San Antonio Council for International Visitors

Project summary

NGOs and Civic Activism II – A Multi-Regional Project | November 2018
Number of Visitors: 14
Regions: Africa
Countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Impact Areas: Civic Engagement
Program Areas: Exchanges
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector