Capacity development, when successful, is iterative, contextualized, and creates the possibility of transformation. It considers the individual, the institution, the community and the larger environment in which they all exist; and it can be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively.
JSI has consistently held strongly to the belief that, as implementers, we must do everything we can to develop the capacity of the local organizations we work with. Our partners know their communities and are best positioned to deliver services to the families and individuals who need them most. Yet we know they often experience challenges in effectively and efficiently delivering quality services, developing and using systems which report on impact and funding, and creating implementation plans for sustainability.
In recent years, the development community has paid increasing attention to the importance of developing the capacity of local partners to address these challenges, and I have had the privilege of being part of the thinking that has moved from capacity development being discussed in terms of training programs to a much more holistic approach of individual and organizational transformation.
Through my work on the New Partners Initiative’s NuPITA and TA-NPI projects, I and other colleagues at JSI had the opportunity to work with community-based organizations in Africa and the Caribbean with this goal in mind. With the ultimate objective of improving health services and improving quality of life, we worked hand-in-hand with local and international partners to improve both technical and organizational capacity through a process of facilitating partner staff to assess their capacity, developing tailored action plans to address their needs, and evaluating change toward their improved capacity.
Along with my JSI colleagues and our partners, I am looking forward to the upcoming series of webinars JSI is conducting to discuss a number of the lessons learned and to share with our partners from across the globe. I will lead the first webinar in the series, along with a friend and colleague, Mary Muia, from the National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE) in Kenya, who I have worked with through our NPI projects. We will discuss how JSI’s organizational and technical capacity development process unfolded and what it meant for NOPE. We will outline the successes and challenges of this process and how it might be applied in other settings. The second webinar in the series, led by colleagues Mounia Mfeser and Deirdre Rogers, will discuss how we’ve worked to develop organizational capacity through grant programs.
To register for an upcoming webinar, please visit jsi.com. We look forward to you joining us and participating in the ongoing discussion of how we can better partner with organizations and governments to ultimately improve health services.