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Summary of Recommendations to USAID

To foster local capacity development, one needs to "water" the local contextual garden. In this respect USAID can:

Foster relationships between and among local development players and serve as an energetic leader facilitating communication. So much effort is wasted and time lost because this CSO does not know what that NGO has already done and both are ignorant of business efforts that more or less duplicate what they already tried.

Support debate and research on major issues related to the enabling environment for civil society.

Establish trained Mission-based capacity development teams that remain in place for at least five years at a few USAID missions (probably those that show real interest in being involved). A labor-intensive effort, the team could play many roles. These would emerge from the contextual circumstances themselves. They could play roles such as "collaborator," "sounding board," "disturbance generator," "rescuer," "talent scout". Roles like these are borrowed from the Grantcraft effort that the Ford Foundation started. 

Safeguard this effort from political shifts. Effort should be taken to protect this (Implementation and Procurement Reform Objective Two) effort from shifting political priorities, funding uncertainty and the procurement constraints that typically govern USAID's partnerships.  Because trust is such an important element of many local relationships, it is critical that this initiative and lure of funds not be replaced by a new priority in a subsequent administration.

Rebrand. A re-branding of the ‘Local Capacity Development' initiative might help to build trust within local communities. For example:

  • Consider developing a new logo/branding strategy for this effort that separates it from USAID's traditional branding (and the reputation that comes with it in certain countries).
  • ‘Local Capacity Development' might imply a Western-centric notion of capacity. Consider renaming it to better reflect whose definition of capacity is being developed.
  • Instead of ‘donor' and ‘recipient', try using terms that reflect equal roles in the partnership.

Maintain relationships even after awards have ended. In capacity development work, donors might build into their projects a "safety valve" -- an individual from the project who remains on offer as a resource for the entity even after the project has ended. This affords the organization the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions as their capacity development process continues; and allows the donor to learn about what worked and what did not.


Reports & Findings

Displaying 21 - 30 of 44

International Forum on Capacity Building: Lessons Learned from Capacity Building of Southern NGOs

Author: Tandon, Rajesh and Kaustuv Kanti Bandyopadhyay

This report endeavored to capture the wealth of knowledge that emerged through numerous initiatives taken up by the International Forum on Capacity Building (IFCB) from 2000-2003.

March, 2003