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New efforts in capacity building in MENA
Anindita Dutta Roy is the latest addition to the ActionAid team in MENA, where she will be working as a Youth and Capacity Development Adviser. She will collaborate with partners in Jordan and the West Bank, on capacity building initiatives.
Anindita Dutta Roy - ActionAid Denmarks new Youth and Capacity Development Adviser
08. September 2011
“I hope that our work will strengthen the role of young people as leaders and agents of change in the region - and worldwide,” Anindita states. She has been working with ActionAid in Amman since July 1st and is not short of ambitions. ”I also hope that our regional capacity building initiatives will add to the knowledge base in this field, and through it, highlight the work being done by youth organizations in the MENA region.”
ActionAid has developed approaches on capacity development through its youth program in the MENA region. This includes leadership training and training of trainers; using sports, theatre and music to promote youth’s civic engagement, placing development practitioners as inspirators with partner organizations. “My role is to essentially to compile these approaches into a regional capacity development strategy that can be implemented with civil society organizations here,” Anindita explains.
Her position will also involve adapting and contextualizing resources that have been successful in other parts of the world. “The goal is to develop a package of resources that are relevant to the region and to countries here, and can be used by CSOs to support their programs,” she elaborates. Her time will primarily be divided between the programs in Jordan and the West Bank, with possibilities of devoting some time to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.
A time of change
Anindita grew up in India, where she studied journalism and was a newspaper reporter for several years. She then moved many miles away to New York to go to graduate school and study international affairs. This led her to the non-profit field. She was based in New York for almost a decade and worked with an international education organization, which led her to the Middle East. “One of their youth media programs brought me to Palestine for the first time in 2007 and then again in 2009. I decided to move to the region and am so thrilled to be part of ActionAid’s MENA team,” Anindita exclaims.
She was first familiarized with ActionAid through their programs in India. “When I was looking for work opportunities in the region, I was inspired to learn more about ActionAid’s rights-based approach and to see it in action through the youth program here,” she explains. She considers it an incredible opportunity to be working with young people and youth organizations here, at this time of change in the region.
Opportunities rather than challenges
At the same time, she is also aware of the challenges that might lie ahead. One of these is that capacity development is not a priority area for many civil society organizations. This is often due to the fact that local organizations are stretched for time, staff and resources. “I hope that the strength of our practical approaches will attract them and demonstrate how essential it is to integrate capacity development into all areas of work.“
Since ActionAids work in the MENA region focuses on youth empowerment and youth engagement in social change, another challenge is that young people are often not real participants in the work of youth organizations. But Anindita is optimistic. How to make processes and projects truly participatory will be an important part of her work. “But I’d like to see these as opportunities rather than challenges,” she concludes.