Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Peer Review in FoRS: Experience from the Czech NGDO Platform

The Czech NGDO platform –Czech Forum for Development Co-operation (FoRS)- was set up, among others, to support its members in enhancing quality and effectiveness of their work in the area of development cooperation, global education and humanitarian aid.

This support has various forms. The peer review, understood as an opening to external views and opinions that could help enrich and improve the organizations´ practice, started to be used as a new tool within FoRS last year when SIRIRI, a member organization, decided to undergo a strategic peer review within its capacity building project. This pilot process led to some constructive outcomes, including creation of a toolkit for FoRS members on how to proceed with a peer review, though certain internal processes (change at the director´s position) hampered its smooth closing when the results could not be properly shared among the NGO´s staff and experts.

Apart from the strategic peer review, the toolkit also explains the steps and specificities of the basic, narrower type of peer review and its potential to become a regular part of cooperation among FoRS members in the process of their development. It could also help them to fulfil their commitment –to carry out an annual self-assessment of their performance in relation to the Code of Effectiveness of FoRS, which also serves as a checklist. The last year, this kind of peer review was carried out between a member and an observer of FoRS. In addition, the basic peer review could serve for mutual provision of feedback related to any other important aspect for an organization, such as for example its added value in global education or strengths and weaknesses in its work with volunteers.

Following relatively high interest of FoRS members in peer reviews in the ongoing annual action plan, FoRS has recently started with identification of adequate partnerships. When defined, the partners will carry out a self-assessment related to the Code of Effectiveness, consequently identify an area where they would welcome some feedback, confront their views with the partner´s ones, adequately adapt the self-assessment and finally establish an action plan to foster their own effectiveness.

The role of FoRS consists in supporting interested members throughout the whole process so that this new tool really contributes to an increased positive impact of their development work. In line with these efforts, a peer review is also foreseen for the platform this year.

Information provided by Marie Zazvorkova, FoRS

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