Thursday, December 6, 2007

How to translate the abstract issues of capacity assessment and development?

After a participatory assessment of the network advisors at times experience that organizations have difficulties to understand terminologies such as mission, vision, strategy, etc. Notwithstanding this low understanding of capacity building elements, can I create ownership or the process? Are there ways of 'simplifying' the issues without the organizations losing ownership of the process?

It is important do the following:
  • to invest in the relationship
  • to keep the capacity assessment simple - meeting their needs and understand their language
  • to clarify what you can and want to offer to the organizations
  • continuously ask feedback from colleagues

Example of a process in a small organization with little experience with capacity development: "In one case, I went on a few field trips with various staff. By means of informal talks about their 'difficulties' and 'pain points' but also their ambitions, I formulated a capacity building question and some possible interventions. I went back to them with this formulation to check whether this captured their main concerns. It was appreciated because I formulated the questions in a different manner as they had, but in a way that they felt: Yes, that's exactly what we meant".

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