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From the Roots Up Strengthening Organizational Capacity through Guided Self-Assessment

World Neighbors
Publication year: 
Source of the information: 
Rural Finance


Authors/Editors:Peter Gubbels and Catheryn Koss

This manual seeks to strengthen organizational capacity by providing tools and methods for self-assessment. It explains key areas for organizational capacity building, including: representative decision making; communication systems; collaboration with other groups; negotiation for services; identification and prioritization of problems; implementation of activities; lobbying for local interests; clarity of vision and purpose; systems for raising revenue; mobilizing human capital; and monitoring and evaluation.

Capacity building can be understood as an explicit effort to improve an organization’s performance in relation to its purpose, context, resources and sustainability. The self-assessment process presented in this field guide is designed to help organizations recognize their own potential and decide for themselves how to best address the challenges they face. This guide has been written specifically for local intermediary organizations working with community-based partners. Throughout the guide there are tips on how to adapt and create exercises and methods to fit the specific needs of the organization with which you are working and the local context. The margins are used to summarize the main points and the text is broken up by useful graphs, charts and graphics that assist in the explanation of the main concepts.

The guide contains nine chapters, appendices, a glossary of key concepts and a list of recommended resources. The chapters are as follows:

1.    The big picture of development
2.    How to use the guide
3.    The main concepts of organizational self-assessment
4.    Ideas for preparing exercises
5.    Overview of planning a guided self-assessment workshop
6.    Conducting fieldwork
7.    How to work with facilitators
8.    Analysis and documentation
9.    A reference list of exercises used in the guide