Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How to create ownership for the capacity development process of a network?

Capacity development of a network has its own dynamics. How to involve the member organizations of the network and ensure that they own the capacity development process of the network?

The network may be seen by the members almost as a 'donor agency', providing training and financial resources. Whereas you would like them to feel part and parcel of the network.

One intervention might be to present the outcomes, conclusions and ideas of the capacity assessment back to the network and its member organizations. However, if member organizations do not feel ownership of the network, and don't feel responsible it is hard to engage them in such a process. Another intervention may therefore be to make them more aware of their membership within the network and communicate about the existing activities.

Another intervention could be to discuss the guiding principles with the network members. Why are we a network and how do we act within the network? This might stimulate more ownership of the issues and ways of working.

Strengthening of the individual members could be an entry point too. A network's strength is determined by the strength of its members. This can be done by formalizing a partnership contract on capacity development of the members. Visualization workshops could be followed by capacity building interventions with the individual member organizations.

In networks it is a challenge to find the balance between objectives from the network (by its secretariat) and the needs of the member organizations. It is important to look at the role, needs and expectations from the member organizations towards the network.

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