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  • Thomas Stevenson, Project Manager

USAID Strengthening Local Organization Activity’s closeout event recognizes progress, work remaining

On August 21, the Strengthening Local Organizations (SLO) Activity held its virtual closeout event, formally concluding its collaboration with 10 Salvadoran civil society organizations (CSOs). Senior personnel from the CSOs observed that SLO’s methodology meant that even short-term support would leave lasting results. “[SLO] encouraged CSOs to create their own content and experiences,” noted Geron Claros of UNIVO, “which cultivated a process of permanent training and improvement.” CSO leaders also took the opportunity to express appreciation for project support and the wish to receive more of the same high-quality support at some future date.

“This has been a great initiative,” said Julio Meléndez of FUNDASAL. “Education goes on.” “We ought to maintain the spaces [SLO has created], in which socially conscious institutions could get to know one another and share their common experiences,” concurred Manual Montano of CRISTOSAL.

More than 50 participants—including USAID officials, project staff, and senior personnel from the 10 supported CSOs—tuned in for the event. Field Office Project Manager Eli Landa opened the event with words of welcome, followed by USAID’s Guadalupe Palencia. Ms. Palencia thanked SLO on behalf of USAID/El Salvador for consistently going the extra mile to ensure high-quality content and resources, as well as the CSOs themselves for their willingness to go through the demanding capacity building process. These addresses gave way to a series of videos, which served to reinforce the project’s many months of technical support, including reminding beneficiaries where to find resources now available to them.

After two years of collaboration, the SLO project team and beneficiary CSOs certainly would have appreciated the chance to gather in person to look back and reflect on their progress.

As the pandemic rages on, however, SLO’s Zoom gathering offered the next best thing. And, whatever the modality, the event underscored the value of USAID’s capacity building support to CSOs, as well as the CSOs’ will to keep learning, growing, and moving forward.



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