While the value of strengthening philanthropic organizations to see improved health and efficacy is obvious, how to determine success is not.
As part of strengthening the work of locally-led organizations, EAPN hosted the Community Philanthropy Peer Learning Forum on 17thNovember 2021. The forum sought to provide a platform for speakers and attendants to interrogate various capacity strengthening approaches with a view of defining what strength, autonomy, and operational sustainability look like. Secondly, the forum also aimed to identify and discuss metrics for monitoring OS investments with a view of identifying what works and what doesn’t.
The panel speakers for the forum were Nadia Kist (Blood: Water), Irene Gathinji (Aga KhanFoundation Yetu Initiative), and Sasha Fisher (Spark MicroGrants)while Ese Emerhi (Global Fund for Community Foundations)moderated the learning event. They shared their experiences specifically highlighting evidence of whether a particular OS investment yielded sustainable results. They noted that there is no singular way to approach capacity strengthening but ensuring authentic partner ownership is a key success factor for any OS investment.
Some of the OS tools and processes the forum identified that have had good results included;change champion teams, organizational performance index, boot camps, andcommunity action planning.
It was an enriching discussion where participants appreciated that social cohesion and trust are critical to the success of any capacity-building exercise. “It’s important to move at the speed of trust” as we go about strengthening local capacity for more effective development” emphasized Sasha.
Increased ability by partners to mobilize and re-use resources and skills gained to drive greater development within their communities was also identified as a strong indicator for any OS intervention.