Strengthening Participatory Organizations (SPO)
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SPO is a support organization in Pakistan advocating for greater democratic governance, social justice, peace and resilience. It provides support to community organizations across Pakistan.
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Mission and Purpose
SPO’s initiatives to improve democratic governance in Pakistan through a bottom-up approach are driven by three aims:1) to enhance conceptual clarity on rights-based approaches, 2) ensure that there is an increased capacity to promote and practice sustainable, transparent and accountable systems within the organization, and 3)provide political workers with skills training, development knowledge and problem-solving techniques. The ultimate aim of SPO is to enhance the capacity of each community at district levels to self-organize and to demand democratic structures at all levels of governance.
Origins and Development
The organization began as a bilateral project between the national governments of Canada and Pakistan and transformed into a not-for-profit in 1994. SPO has 9 permanent offices in major Pakistani cities and two project offices, with its National Centre in Islamabad. According to CIDA, the organization has officially helped train and offer technical assistance to 105 community-based organizations, and 78 women’s organizations on rights-based approaches, democratic behavior, and gender and environment issues. The organization has also helped 305 projects create successful grants for funding from different donors as well as many other improvements and contributions to community development in Pakistan.
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
The project began with funding from Canadian International Development Agency. Its projects are also funded by other government agencies, international organizations and NGOS such as British High Commission (BHC) Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), European Commission (EC), Embassy for the Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) etc. and International NGOs like Action Aid, Save the Children UK, Save the Children US, Oxfam GB, Oxfam Novib, Care International and The Asia Foundation. The organization is working to become financially independent from foreign donors through generating its own resources.
Specializations, Methods and Tools
Major Projects and Events
Some of its major projects and event include Relief and Ealry Recovery Project, Restoration of Community Livelihood, Floor Relief-TMK, Ending Torture and Ill-Treatment of Women in Pakistan in Police Custody, Module Development for Capacity building of CSOs, Aawaz Voice and Accountability programme and many more.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
SPO has published various forms of media from newsletters, to research reports, to press releases, to case studies of participatory projects, which are all available on its website or at the Development Resource Center.