Building Organizational Capacity

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Lutheran World Relief maximizes the impact of local partner organizations by jointly assessing their strengths and weaknesses and designing strategies for greater accountability, transparency and sustainability. LWR works with our partner to conduct an assessment of areas such as organizational aspirations, structure and governance, human resources, financial management, resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation to jointly identify strengths and areas for improvement.

An explicit learning component is embedded in the action plan through frequent monitoring of targeted capacity areas to inform course correction as needed, and ultimately measure the effectiveness of project activities during the life of a project. Common monitoring tools track progress on technical, programmatic and financial management.

In order to foster sustainable organizations that benefit from internal and external credibility, legitimacy and member cohesion, Lutheran World Relief promotes good governance and accountability capacity. Trainings and ongoing mentorship with organizational leaders and members ensure that roles, responsibilities and rules are clear.

In many cases, LWR facilitates the formation or formal recognition of organizations through legal registration, membership in relevant coalitions and other channels. We also support planning processes that are inclusive and encourage sound strategic and business practices. Lutheran World Relief supports partner organization operational capacity by focusing on financial and administrative management and provision of infrastructure when needed. Our project finance staff are sometimes embedded in the partner organization to provide ongoing support to systems and mentoring that allow permanent staff or leadership to learn on the job.

To accompany learned skills, software or other infrastructure is sometimes provided to support partner organization operations. For smaller or younger partner organizations that need time to develop and effectively follow sophisticated accounting and financial management systems, LWR takes an early hands-on role to ensure proper financial management.

Building Organizational Capacity | Johns Hopkins University Press Books

Lutheran World Relief supports partner organization technical capacity through training and coaching on targeted areas essential for program implementation and to improve core business function, such as production or processing of cocoa. For agricultural programs, embedded extension workers enable partner organizations to deliver front-end services to their members. Lutheran World Relief utilizes evidence and its experiences to create technical resources that can be useful to our local partners as well as to the broader development community.

Dating to our first projects in wartime Europe, Lutheran World Relief has worked with local partner organizations to develop and implement our relief and development programs. In the s and s, these terms referred to community development that focused on enhancing the technological and self-help capacities of individuals in rural areas.

In the s, following a series of reports on international development, an emphasis was placed on building capacity for technical skills in rural areas, and also in the administrative sectors of developing countries. In the s the concept of institutional development expanded even more. Institutional development was viewed as a long-term process of building up a developing country's government, public and private sector institutions, and NGOs. Though precursors to capacity building existed before, they were not crucial topics in international development like capacity building became during the s.

The emergence of capacity building as a leading development concept in the s occurred due to a confluence of factors: [12].


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With increasing concerns about environmental issues such as climate change, there has been a focus on achieving sustainable development, or development that maximizes social, economic, and environmental benefit in the long run while protecting the earth. During debates about how to achieve sustainable development.


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It has become commonplace to include discussions about local community empowerment as well as "related concepts of participation, ownership, agency, and bottom up planning. Reports like the CVA and ideas like those of Freire's from earlier decades emphasized that "no one could develop anyone else" and development had to be participatory.

These arguments questioned the effectiveness of " service delivery programs " for achieving sustainable development, thus leading the way for a new emphasis on capacity building. In September , a commitment was sealed at the Millennium Declaration in New York by countries with the aim of achieving the Millennium Development Goals by This commitment, which helped the nations, particularly the developing countries to effectively and speedily respond to the current global economic recession, climate change and other crises, has sparked renewed interest and engagement in capacity building.

Under the UNDP 's — "strategic plan for development", capacity building is the "organization's core contribution to development. It focuses on building capacity at an institutional level and offers a six—step process for systematic capacity building. Capacity building in developing countries is explained by Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock, and Matt Andrews as a fourfold modernization process in the areas of:.

Under this theory, called Modernization Theory , growth over time in these four areas leads to a state becoming developed. The underlying idea behind this theory is that development agencies are tasked with facilitating growth, in these four areas in order to speed up the process of development or make the process more equitable. One of the most fundamental ideas associated with capacity building is the idea of building the capacities of governments in developing countries so they are able to handle the problems associated with environmental, economic and social transformations.

Developing a government's capacity whether at the local, regional or national level will allow for better governance that can lead to sustainable development and democracy. Capacity building in governments often involves providing the tools to help them best fulfill their responsibilities.

These include building up a government's ability to budget, collect revenue, create and implement laws, promote civic engagement, [20] [ full citation needed ] be transparent and accountable and fight corruption. Joel S. Migdal explains that governments can strengthen weak states by building capacity through changing land tenure patterns, adjusting methods of taxation, and improving modes of transportation. This establishes a social structure to reduce citizen conflict within the state, and a means to organize agricultural production for optimal output. Adjusting methods of taxation is another way to consolidate power in a weak state's government.

This can be done through increasing government revenue through increased taxation and also formalizing tax collection by collecting taxes in cash instead of in kind. Migdal cites the example of 19th Century Egypt's declaration of cash taxes only as the reason for increased economic capacity as farmers were forced into more market relations, pushing them to produce crops for export to increase cash revenue. This gave the state more liquid income. Also, Migdal explains that new modes of transportation can strengthen a state's capacity through decreased isolation leading to increasing economic opportunity by regional trade, increased accessibility, and reduced cost of transporting goods.

Below are examples of capacity building in governments of developing countries: [22]. One approach that some developing countries have attempted to foster capacity building is through isomorphic mimicry. Similar to the concept of mimetic isomorphism used in organizational theory. Isomorphic mimicry refers to the tendency of government to mimic other governments' successes, by replicating methods and policy designs deemed successful in other countries. While such an approach can be effective for solving certain development problems that have "a universal technical solution", it often ignores the political and organizational realities on the ground and produces little benefits to those using it.

However, the new justice infrastructure has been rarely used since its establishment, because there has been a lack of bureaucracy and financial sources to support the expensive justice system. As summarized by Haggard et al.

Leveraging Competence to Build Organizational Capability

However, rather than constraining aggregate spending, the fiscal rule merely shifted spending from the central and to provincial governments. Adopting international best practices do not often translate into positive changes; in the case of Argentina, the mimicry produced little change to the vulnerable economy.

The capacity building approach is used at many levels, including local, regional, national and international. Capacity building can be used to reorganize and capacitate governments or individuals. International donors like USAID often include capacity building as a form of assistance for developing governments or NGOs working in developing areas.

The NGO's capacity is developed as a sub-implementer of the donor. However, many NGOs participate in a form of capacity building that is aimed toward individuals and the building of local capacity. One of the most difficult problems with building capacity on a local level is the lack of higher education in developing countries. The development sector, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa has many decades of 'international technical advisors' working with and mentoring government officials and national non-government organisations.

In health service delivery, whether maternal care or HIV related, community organisations have been started and often grown through the strength of their staff and commitment to be national and even regional leaders in their technical fields. Below are some examples of NGOs and programs that use the term "capacity building" to describe their activities on a local scale: [29]. The first example depicts capacity building as tool to deliver individuals the skills they need to work effectively in civil society.

In the case of Mercy Ships, the capacity building is delivering the capacity for individuals to be stakeholders and participants in defined activities, such as health care. Societal development in poorer nations is often contingent upon the efficiency of organizations working within that nation. Organizational capacity building focuses on developing the capacities of organizations, specifically NGOs, so they are better equipped to accomplish the missions they have set out to fulfill.

Failures in development can often be traced back to an organization's inability to deliver on the service promises it has pledged to keep. Capacity building in NGOs often involves building up skills and abilities, such as decision making, policy-formulation, appraisal, and learning. It is not uncommon for donors in the global north to fund capacity building for NGOs themselves. For organizations, capacity building may relate to almost any aspect of its work: improved governance, leadership, mission and strategy, administration including human resources, financial management, and legal matters , program development and implementation, fund-raising and income generation, diversity, partnerships and collaboration, evaluation, advocacy and policy change, marketing, positioning, planning.

Capacity building in NGOS is a way to strengthen an organization so that it can perform the specific mission it has set out to do and thus survive as an organization. It is an ongoing process that incites organizations to continually reflect on their work, organization, and leadership and ensure that they are fulfilling the mission and goals they originally set out to do.

Alan Kaplan, an international development practitioner and leading NGO scholar, asserts that capacity development of organizations involves the build-up of an organization's tangible and intangible assets. He argues that for NGOs to be effective facilitators of capacity building in developing areas, they must first focus on developing their organization. Kaplan argues that capacity building and organizational development in organizations should first focus on intangible qualities such as: [38]. Kaplan argues that NGOs who focus on developing a conceptual framework, an organizational attitude, vision and strategy are more adept at being self-reflective and critical, two qualities that enable more effective capacity building.

Another aspect of organizational capacity building is an organization's ability to assess, examine and change according to what is most needed and what will be the most effective. Since the arrival of community capacity building as a dominant subject in international aid , donors and practitioners have struggled to create a concise mechanism for determining the effectiveness of capacity building initiatives.

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In , David Watson developed specific criteria for effective evaluation and monitoring of capacity building. Watson complained that the traditional method of monitoring NGOs based primarily on a linear results-based framework is not enough for capacity building. He argues that evaluating the capacity building ability of NGOS should be based on a combination of monitoring the results of their activities and also a more open flexible way of monitoring that also takes into consideration, self-improvement and cooperation.

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Watson observed 18 case studies of capacity building evaluations and concluded that certain specific themes were visible: [39]. According to the report, USAID monitors: program objectives, the links between projects and activities of an organization and its objectives, a program or organization's measurable indicators, data collection, and progress reports.

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USAID evaluates why objectives were achieved, or why they were not, and the overall contributions of projects. It examines qualifiable results that are more difficult to measure, looks at unintended results or consequences, and reviews reports on lessons learned.

Organizational Capacity-Building for Nonprofits

USAID uses two types of indicators for progress: "output indicators" and "outcome indicators. Outcome indicators measure the impact, such as laws changed due to trained advocates. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article may require copy editing for run-on, confusing sentences, and poorly sourced claims such as quotes with insufficient attribution. You can assist by editing it. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. This article needs additional citations for verification.

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