Skill-Building for Greater Impact
A Renaissance Foundation, Portland State University and Mercy Corps Partnership
Will a better-skilled person deliver a better program?
We say YES!
In 2008-2009, Mercy Corps programmed $172 million into relief and development efforts, reaching 16.7 million people in need in over 40 countries. The impact of our interventions depends on the skills of our team members — they are our greatest asset.
A two percent improvement in impact, as a result of higher skills of our program implementers, is equivalent to an additional $3.4 million investment into our relief and development programs. Contribute to the ELP >
Launching the ELP
In 2009, Mercy Corps and PSU launched the ELP with its first cohort of 24 team members from eight Mercy Corps country programs in Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. On completion of the one-year program, the 2009 Cohort received certificates of completion for this MBA-derived program, demonstrating their competency in nonprofit business management.
Graduating Cohort III
The 2011 Cohort of the ELP is comprised of 32 team members—11 women, 21 men—from 18 Mercy Corps Country Programs and Headquarters, including two participants from peer agencies: Save the Children Bangladesh and World Vision Myanmar. In the 18 country programs represented in the 2011 Cohort, Mercy Corps’ cumulative team of 3,345 is helping nearly 15 million people change their lives, with combined budgets of $216,853,990. Cohort III participants graduated in the Spring of 2012.
Cohort IV and V
Cohort IV, consisting of 26 participants from 18 countries, met in Phonm Penh for the first in-residence session of the ELP in March 2012. This cohort of 10 women, and 16 men, includes 21 Mercy Corps tem members and five participants from other agencies. This group will graduate in spring 2013. Cohort V has been announced and will convene in February and October of 2013.
Brief profiles of a few cohort members showcase the number of lives they enrich through their work and how building their skill-base will exponentially increases Mercy Corps’ global impact.
Idriss’ work with Mercy Corps Niger is creating income generation opportunities and healthy lifestyle behaviors for families in 134 communities in two regions of Niger near Niamey, the capital city. Idriss is focused on empowering families to identify and address their priority needs. As a result of Idriss and Mercy Corps’ efforts, there was a 68-100% increase in the number of children under five receiving vaccinations this year. More and more mothers are assisted by trained health care personnel at the time of childbirth and members of 88 women’s groups trained by Mercy Corps are reporting an on average 10% increase in revenue over last year.
“I have shared with the team I manage and applied to my work the knowledge, techniques, and skills that I learned in the ELP modules. For instance, I am working on developing tools to strengthen the capacity of community health teams and to help them adopt more dynamic approaches. I am proud of my participation in the ELP program.”
Mra Sabai Nyun
Prior to her assignment as Senior Program Officer (SPO) for Mercy Corps Myanmar, Mra Sabai Nyun was the project coordinator for the Merlin Village Rehabilitation Project in Laputta, Myanmar. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawaddy Delta leaving tens of thousands dead. Mercy Corps emergency responders brought relief and recovery efforts throughout Laputta Township where, under Mra Sabai’s leadership, the program employed more than 1,000 cyclone survivors in cash-for-work projects, such as repairing embankments, rebuilding irrigation canals, clearing walkways, and desalinating fields. These projects provided local people with income for everyday essential needs and directly involved them in rebuilding their communities. So far the program has infused more than $30,000 cash into the local economy. Mra Sabai is also an effective trainer of Mercy Corps and partner NGO staff in community mobilization, accountability, and SPHERE standards. She has played a crucial role in helping Mercy Corps establish highly successful partnerships with local NGOs.
“The theories I am learning from ELP are concrete and objective. ELP has built my confidence especially in discussing issues and in solving problems, in evaluating self or others. It increased my motivation to learn more and to impart more of what I have learnt. I am moving towards a better situation in my work and dealing at a much more effective level with our Local Partners. I feel much rewarded.”
Ajar Jakypova joined Mercy Corps in 2004 as a financial analyst for the agency’s microfinance partner in Kyrgyzstan: Kompanion Financial Group. Established by Mercy Corps, Kompanion Financial Group is the second-largest financial institution in Kyrgyzstan, based on the number of clients. It is serving over 109,000 people with more than $36 million in loans in all oblasts of this mountainous, landlocked country. Kompanion’s mission is to support the strengthening and growth of communities by offering development products and services to entrepreneurs and individuals.
Ajar has taken on more responsibility over time and is currently a business analyst implementing the Automated Banking System (ABS) IBSO. Ajar is contributing to Kompanion's success by training 614 team members in 12 Kompanion branches and monitoring implementation to ensure proper use of the automated banking system.
“ELP helped me improve my skills in financial management and get solid knowledge in business processes, project management & problem solving, it gave me an opportunity to share experiences and learn from other ELP participants. ELP is a route for success and development, both individually and organizationally, as it ties a comprehensive and challenging training program to practical application in my real life work environment.”
As the deputy head of Mercy Corps’ biggest office in southern Iraq, Eyada has built a strong team which is helping millions of war-ravaged Iraqis rebuild their communities. Since 2003, Mercy Corps’ community based initiatives have served over 5 million Iraqis.
Younis joined Mercy Corps in 2007 as a Project Officer responsible for designing and implementing youth development projects. Within one year, he became Director of Programs for Mercy Corps in Kashmir and with this came the responsibility of managing and supporting his team in designing and implementing various development projects. Mercy Corps has developed an integrated strategy that combines innovative economic development, civil society, conflict management and youth transformation programming in response to some of the most critical needs facing the population of the conflict-torn Kashmir Valley. Over the past three years, small innovative programs in agriculture, ICT, cultural preservation and youth development have been highly successful in catalyzing conflict transformation.
“My participation in the ELP gave me an opportunity to broaden my horizons and improve my communication skills by working closely with the people from different backgrounds while equipping myself with the new skills and tools that are directly relevant to Mercy Corps’ work in the Kashmir Valley.”
Dahlia Khoury joined Mercy Corps in 2005. Through her work with Mercy Corps, she is helping the rural young in Lebanon develop a sense of belonging and pride in their country. One of her initiatives is equipping youth with the skills to fight corruption and be responsible and accountable citizens. Dahlia and her team have trained more than 350 youth in both projects on different topics such as leadership, communication skills, advocacy, project cycle, time management, multimedia, good governance and cultural heritage. Our aim is empower rural youth as agents of positive change and active leaders in their communities.
"ELP has giving me new tools to use within Mercy Corps and with local partners. I am now more confident that we can create and give tools for our local partners in order to build their capacities and enhance their governance systems so they can be more effective and efficient in project implementation to serve better our communities and leave a greater impact."
Dr. Arif Noor
Since 2004, Arif Noor, MD, has been the life source behind Mercy Corps’ health programming in Pakistan. He leads a team of 180 professionals in bringing healthcare to some of the most remote and increasingly insecure regions of Pakistan. With a combination of boundless energy, exceptional people skills and the ability to provide innovative solutions to program challenges, Dr. Noor has made a significant contribution to Mercy Corps’ efforts in controlling the spread of tuberculosis in this high-incidence country, and strengthening primary and reproductive healthcare in Pakistan. His vision and efforts have resulted in national and international recognition for Mercy Corps as a leading development agency in Pakistan.
“The ELP has helped me better utilize my leadership and communication skills. I am using the tools taught in the ELP to optimize the impact my team [of 180] is generating through a wide range of public health programs being implemented by Mercy Corps Pakistan.”
Rosy’s work in Assam is focused on making mainstream development opportunities accessible to a marginalized people who migrated to the area decades ago and remain an isolated population in the tea plantations. In two short years, she rolled out a microfinance program, developed a strong community-led economic development project and monitoring system, implemented a skills-building program that has a job linkage success rate of 70% and developed successful pilot market development projects in rice cultivation, vermi-composting and poultry.
“As a result of my participation in the ELP in 2009, I can be a true social entrepreneur: designing and leading need-based community development programs through better understanding of financial and business statements and utilization of a systems-based approach.”
In the two coastal areas of Sri Lanka hit hardest by the 2005 tsunami, Mercy Corps is catalyzing the recovery of job-rich industries to fight a food crisis that threatens the most vulnerable families. As the Operations Manager, Janaka Seram has built a sound team of over 30 members who are responsible for developing, implementing and stewarding all systems relating to administration, procurement, human resources, security, IT and logistics including fleet & asset management. Janaka also helped Mercy Corps Myanmar streamline its operations and systems.
After completing the ELP in November 2009, Janaka moved into an expatriate role with Mercy Corps Afghanistan as the Operations Director. Mercy Corps Afghanistan is programming $19 million annually with a team of 600 staff to improve the lives of over 400,000 people.
“I’m using what I learned from the ELP to transform from a manager to a leader who drives his team to achieve our organizational objectives.”
Dr. Fransiska Mardiananingsih (Siska) is leading her team to create a replicable model to reduce infant deaths by improving breastfeeding practices in the urban North Jakarta district. Siska and her team have improved the breastfeeding support skills of 200 health professionals; facilitated implementation of breastfeeding friendly policies in 70 hospitals and clinics in Jakarta; and mobilized over 400 young mothers to facilitate peer-support groups for breastfeeding women (the Mothers’ Support Group). Under her direction Mercy Corps has become a major player in health, gaining recognition from the Indonesian Ministry of Health as well as colleagues in national and international non-governmental agencies.
“Because of ELP I am better able to inspire my team to take greater initiative and strive for continuous improvement.”
Contribute to the ELP and enable Mercy Corps team members to turn crises into opportunities
Initial funding for the Entrepreneurial Leaders Program (ELP) has been provided by the Renaissance Foundation, Mercy Corps, Portland State University and private donors.
- An $8,000 contribution will sponsor a Mercy Corps team member’s participation in this one-year skill building program.
- A $1,500 contribution will enable a staff member to attend a module on Financial Planning or Critical Thinking or Leadership Effectiveness.
- A $300 contribution will cover the cost of texts for one participant, for the one-year program.
- A $100 contribution will cover a participant’s text costs for two modules.
- A $50 contribution will cover a participant’s text costs for one module.
If you are interested in contributing:
Online: Click here and select the Where Most Needed Fund, then type in the comments field: "This donation is for the Emerging Global Leaders Fund."
By mail:Mail a check payable to Mercy Corps and in the memo line write: Emerging Global Leaders Fund. Mail it to Mercy Corps, Dept. W, P.O. Box 2669, Portland, OR, 97208-2669.