Our vision is a world where civil society and non-profit organizations from humanitarian, international development, social and environmental sectors are confident, professional and working in efficient, universally beneficial partnerships with each other, public and private sectors and local communities. Our role is to contribute to sustainable, community-centered collaboration.
Salanga delivers training, consultancy, and support to organizations that address poverty, malnutrition, health issues, social exclusion and the effects of climate change impacting communities and individuals around the world. We believe in true partnerships and aim to guide our partner organizations to achieve their goals, preserve their principles and become stronger and more accountable to their target communities and donors. We believe that any organization can effectively measure its impact and deliver high-quality results while keeping their employees safe. It is a constant journey for all organizations, regardless of their size or location, and we are proud to join them on this journey – to help promote best practices, share lessons learned and uphold ethical principles in their work.
Our role is to provide the technical skills, know-how and tools to work with our partners in a collaborative and learning-focused way. We expect and require engagement and participation from stakeholders in order to learn together, build capacity and ensure the very best outcomes.
We support people-centered development by focusing on improving communities’ self-reliance, social justice and participatory decision-making. We elevate local voices and perspectives to enable project participants to inform and influence their own knowledge systems and, in turn, the projects and policies that affect them. We co-design data collection tools and systems that aim to be accessible and empowering for all stakeholders (particularly communities and front-line staff).
Project management and monitoring and evaluation systems fail when they are too complex, too resource intense, too costly, and ultimately don’t meet the needs of the end users. We embrace the “utilization-focused” approach developed by Michael Quinn Patton that is based on the principle that systems and software should be planned for and implemented in order to enhance the likely utilization of both the findings and of the process itself to inform decisions and improve performance.
We design tools and systems that collect, store, analyze and share information that makes a difference to the lives of vulnerable communities and populations – in particular women and girls. We help organizations step-up their commitment to gender-sensitive evidence-based decision making by boosting their ability to design indicators that capture gender gaps and track changes in gender equality throughout their projects. We also support data collection processes that better engage women and girls and that ensure project participants play a stronger role in data analysis, interpretation and sharing. We are committed to playing a central role in improving data collection and evaluation for gender equality.
We promote an ‘evaluative culture’ within organizations by embracing feedback, incentivizing learning and finding ways to share data more openly and easily. We build processes and practices within Salanga to learn from our experience and share what we learn. We support our partners in learning from their data by creating conscious spaces for shared reflection and improvement. We make and support evidence-informed decision making. We build in time and processes to reflect and take stock of how we are doing as an organization and a team, and how we can do better. We invest in communities of practice to share and exchange best practices and failures.
How did Salanga start? “In 2007, we came together as a group of people working in international development with an idea to create an organization that motivated NGOs to take the security of their staff seriously. A few years later, Salanga – in partnership with ADRA, a global humanitarian network – received a grant from the Czech Development Agency to build security awareness modules and train staff from central Europe. Over the years we have trained hundreds of aid workers, technical experts, students and volunteers. Sadly, in 2013 Salanga lost our co-founder, Jakub Vanek, who never returned from a high-altitude mountain climbing trip in Nepal.”
But now, Salanga focuses on much more than security issues, right? “We realized that organizations have other challenges too – such as how to measure the impact of projects, how to ensure projects are sustainable and using best practices, and how to secure funding from donors. This led us to expand our work into these areas and really allowed our team to grow and engage individuals with high-quality technical expertise. We also decided to create our own tool for monitoring and evaluation, Kinaki.
Where is Salanga now? “At this point, we have well-established partnerships with organizations around the world and are very happy to see our partners grow and do their work better, with more professionalism and with greater impact. We work with organizations in many countries and they not only stay loyal to us as their partner but also recommend us to other organizations who may be struggling to measure impact or achieve their goals.”
From an interview with Salanga’s co-founder, Jakub Nemec.
We operate from two main offices in Ottawa, Canada and Pilsen, Czech Republic, with team members based around the world. Due to the nature of our work we do our best to remain connected and accessible to our global organizational partners wherever they may be based.
Jakub has worked in the field of international development and humanitarian aid for over a decade. In 2007 he founded Salanga. He is a practitioner at heart and draws on his experience to support Salanga’s partners in everything from program design to safety and security. Jakub understands the many demands and challenging contexts facing our partners, he ensures that Salanga is always providing customized and high quality support.
Paula brings 10+ years experience designing, managing and evaluating complex food security and sustainable economic development projects in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. She has a passion for using data to make a difference in decision-making and is inspired by MEL systems that catalyze learning and promote knowledge sharing from the ground up.
Martina has a unique combination of work experience with humanitarian and development NGOs, the UN and the IT business sector. Martina’s eye for detail, sharp mind, and ability to see the whole picture ensures the smooth running of Salanga and its programs.
Christina has 10+ years of experience as a project manager and technical advisor for development, humanitarian and social projects. Christina brings to Salanga her skills in MEL, project design and proposal development, project management and coordination, reporting, facilitation, and training. Christina is the Partnership Lead for Salanga. Having worked with many project coordinators, managers and directors, Christina understands the common struggle to produce quality, accurate and timely reports. She is passionate about finding ways to make data collection, analysis and reporting more efficient for Salanga’s partner organizations.
David is the Data Scientist for Kinaki, Salanga’s MEL software. He is an important member of the Kinaki design team and leads testing of the product. He hopes to provide Kinaki users with an easy and pleasant user experience. Further, he advises Kinaki clients with their needs regarding survey design, data management and analysis.
Alex brings 20+ years experience in community development to the Salanga team and a passion for MEL. His experience spans the sectors of natural resource management, child-centered community development, integrated conservation and development, disaster relief, early recovery, rehabilitation and resilience, maternal and child health and nutrition. Alex is leading the testing and development of Community-led Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (ColMEL) approach.
Molly is passionate about building partnerships, sharing best practices, and developing tools and processes that bring projects to life. She brings to Salanga experience from across the development sector, including past work with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Grand Challenges Canada, Global Affairs Canada, and College of the Rockies/VETA in Tanzania. Molly holds an MA from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, where she focused on Program Management, Gender and African Studies.
Gab is an advocate of evidence-based decision-making in the management of humanitarian and development programs. In his 12 years of experience in the sector, he has managed teams working on natural disaster response and early recovery, access to healthcare, nutrition and WASH, livelihood development, and gender mainstreaming in the Philippines and Sudan. He holds a Masters in Public Health, and has worked with ADRA, Save the Children and WHO prior to joining the team.
Natasha Tariq is a Remote Training Specialist at Salanga. She has worked for various international development organizations and NGOs in the US and is passionate about education. At Salanga, she is designing and adapting content for online and offline capacity building sessions in the field of Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL). She works on creating effective and accessible online training to reach learners in low-resource settings. She also builds courses on the Learning Management System (LMS), based on Salanga’s training needs and manages uptake by new users.
Petra is a PhD candidate, has worked for University Development Cooperation and has knowledge of MEL within EU programming. She is a MEL enthusiast with exceptional skills in qualitative and participatory research and monitoring techniques. She is an experienced trainer of trainers for Focus Groups, Key Informant Interviews, and Mobile Data Collection, having delivered training for teams and individuals around the world. Drawing on her experience, Petra handles the area of setting-up and managing effective systems to support the MEL needs of our partners.
Elaine has experience leading and implementing a wide range of complex strategic, programmatic and quality assurance processes to support leadership, staff, communities and children in international development and humanitarian aid programs since 2002. To date her expertise has covered on-going learning and improvement in 30 countries across 15 sectors, including gender equality and youth. The nexus of her passion, skills, and value is in empowering communities to understand and monitor the change they seek to actualize. She is ever ready to apply her energy and enthusiasm to support organizations in strengthening systems that ensure people have right-sized information to trigger change making decisions. She loves experiencing with others the “a-ha” moment that tips the balance for transformation at the individual, community and/or systems level.
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