Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Ministry of Finance (MoF)

Civilian Technical Assistance Program (CTAP)
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The CTAP Overview:


The Civilian Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) is a National Capacity Development program of the government of Afghanistan, designed to strengthen the capacity of Tashkeel staff and key ministries within the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, whereby assisting public agencies to effectively deliver services to the public while supporting towards the successful implementation of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and their prioritized programs.

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CTAP Capacity Building Approach & Principles:  

The Civilian Technical Assistance Program’s Capacity Building Approach offers Afghan ministries the rare, but important, opportunity to identify and articulate their own needs to find just the right candidate to build their capacity. Since its establishment, CTAP has been operating on the following key principals:

  1. Demand-driven, government-led approach: The requesting agencies identify and define  their own capacity development objectives (based on analysis of their strategic priorities), and then request assistance from CTAP in order to address them;  
  2. Best practice capacity development methodology: CTAP Advisors work within the government departments to implement true capacity development activities including business process restructuring, policy development and creating new functions. Through a systemic mentoring/advising process, they not only help their Tashkeel counterparts understand what to do but, more importantly, guide  them on why and how to do their tasks;  
  3. Placement in the heart of the government:  The advisors provided by CTAP are working at the heart of the government where the core, day to day business of government takes place. They primarily focus on strengthening the permanent staff, systems and structures of the government. They do not work as staff substitutes but rather with and through their counterparts at the Director-General level and below;
  4. Long-term technical assistance to get results: The design of CTAP recognizes that capacity development is cumbersome and takes more time and resources to realize results. Unlike other programs that concentrate on short-term solutions, CTAP deploys Technical Advisors for a two-year period – hence providing a long-term solution to the capacity development problem.


CTAP Process:  

CTAP Capacity building approach entails a long process to achieve the intended change and outcome. In order to better conceptualize the CTAP operation process and to better understand what your roles/ functions will be in the process, read the following step by step instructions. To put it simple, the whole CTAP process can be easily broken into specific states called the “Pre-Deployment Stage” and “Post-Deployment Stage” . Read through the steps to better understand how CTAP works.

 Pre- Deployment Stage:

  1. Initial Communication: The CTAP Communications & Outreach department communicates with the requesting organizations to inform them about the mandate, goals and objectives of CTAP through e-mails, phone contacts and face to face meetings. A team comprised of CTAP Communications and Capacity Development Departments (CDD) including the CTAP Director will go to meet any of the high ranking officials of the requesting agency. During the initial discussion, the team will provide a general introduction of the program and describes how the CTAP capacity building approach will be implemented. After the meeting, the client organization will be given enough time to conduct a comprehensive internal discussion/ consultation to assess their capacity gaps in line with their strategic priorities, identify their specifics needs and then, officially inform CTAP.
  2. Signing MoU: Once the capacity gaps are assessed and the specific technical areas are identified and prioritized for assistance, the requesting agency will draft an official request letter for assistance addressed to his Excellency the Minister of Finance based on which he will officially authorize the CTAP Director to start the process. Also, before starting the process, there is a need for both organizations (MoF & the client organization) to sign a Memory of Understanding (MoU). In practice, the process might be done with quite flexibility. In most cases it takes longer time to draft and sign this official document.  
  3. Introduction & Orientation: having received an official authorization letter, the CDD team will conduct another detailed introduction session within the requesting organization where a team from CTAP including the Program Director, the CDD and the Communications Department will meet the technical level directors, managers and the officers of the client organization to discuss about the CTAP Capacity Building process and assist them in identifying their specific capacity needs. The CTAP team will have a Presentation on RFA (Request for Assistance) and will guide the relevant department on how to fill the required information properly and accurately into the document. In addition, the session will provide both the CTAP and the relevant technical departments to better understand their roles and responsibilities towards each other.
  4. Key documents Review: The CTAP CDD team will review the strategic documents, the submitted RFA (Request for Assistance) and the organizational chart of the requesting organization, and will provide necessary feedback where necessary for correction and improvement.
  5. ToR Development & Finalization: The CDD team submits the CTAP ToR template to the requesting organization and will communicate constantly to assist them in finalizing the ToR for the requested Technical advisor[s]. Once the ToR[s] is drafted, will be checked and reviewed by the CDD team to modify and adjust that with CTAP Capacity Building approach and process. The ToR will be immediately submitted to the CTAP Human Resource Department (HRD) once it has been finalized and agreed.  
  6. ToR Advertisement: The CTAP HR Department will advertise the ToR through national and international job portals which will remain on board for a specific period.
  7. Verification of workspace:  The CTAP Secretariat does its best to verify that the client has provided suitable office space, furniture and communications infrastructure. These issues are discussed with the designated individuals at the Ministry serving as focal-points and every effort is made to inspect the facilities prior to the arrival of the Technical Advisor in-country. In some instances, however, issues do arise that require the intervention of CTAP staff. Therefore, the CDD team will conduct a pre-deployment visit to:
      • Ensure that the client agency identifies and introduces the right counterparts for the requested Technical advisor[s];
      • Meet the counterparts to ensure that they are ready for assistance and cooperation;
      • To check and  ensure that the client organization has provided appropriate work environment and facilities for the Technical Adviser;
      • To explain the Capacity building process and inform the counterparts and the supervisor about their expected roles and responsibilities.
  8. Finalizing the Recruitment Process: The CTAP Human Resource Department prepares a long list of the applicants and submits to the client Ministry for further review and shortlisting. Following that, the HR department in close and coordination with the client agency will select a panel for interviewing the applicants who will be comprised of representatives form CDD, HR, an international technical adviser and authorized representatives of the client organization. The Panel selects the qualified candidate and submits the documents to the CTAP HR for follow up;
  9. TAs Arrival & Orientation: The selected technical advisor arrives at CTAP Secretariat and he/she will stay for at least one weak at CTAP office for orientation and introduction. During the period, the CDD team will conduct an orientation workshop for the new TA and his/ her relevant counterparts and brief them about their roles and responsibilities. In addition, during his/ her stay in CTAP, the intended technical advisor will meet different departments to get deeper understanding about the CTAP implementation, reporting and monitoring process.  

              Figure 1: Showing the simplified CTAP work Procedure

Post Deployment Stage:

  1. Placement of the Technical Advisor: The technical advisor will be introduced and placed at the client organization. A team from CTAP’s CDD and HR department will accompany him/her to his new work environment. A discussion will be conducted with the TA’s relevant supervisor and his/her counterparts to reiterate the terms and conditions agreed upon by both the organizations( in the MoU);
  2. Organizational Assessment: The technical advisor will be given at least one month to conduct an Organizational Assessment to identify the main capacity development gaps within the target organization. Where needed, he can suggest changes to the ToR that has already been developed. In addition, the technical advisor will be assigned to develop a comprehensive work plan in coordination with his/her supervisor and the counterparts.
  3. Work Progress and Monitoring: once the work plan has been approved by the CTAP Director and the TA’s supervisor, he/she will start implementing it. In order to measure the work progress of the Technical Advisor and ensure that the capacity building process is going well, the CTAP M&E team will conduct regular and systematic evaluation and monitoring using the TA’s ToR and work plan;  
  4. Regular Reporting: During the whole period, the embedded technical advisor will have to prepare regular progress reports, get it endorsed and signed by his/her supervisor and then submit to the CTAP CDD team so that the Program  management can track and follow up his/her normal work progress and where necessary, suggest recommendations for change and improvement.