Tools, instruments, and methodologies for improving aid effectiveness at the national level
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Capacity Assessments

Effective capacity development (CD) always begins from a thorough understanding of the starting point. Capacity assessments are used to analyse existing capacities and weaknesses, understand the institutional context and identify stakeholders whose support or opposition can determine the prospects for successful reform. Capacity assessments can be done at many different levels – government as a whole (often called ‘governance assessments’), a particular ministry or agency, or a horizontal function (e.g., PFM or procurement). A number of agencies have produced guides or toolkits that can be helpful.
Successful capacity development initiatives begin not from an international best-practice model, but from the starting point of the beneficiary.  Capacity assessments are used to identify existing capacities and performance, as well as areas of weakness.  They can be conducted by an external assessor or by the beneficiary organisation itself.  They may be once-off exercises, or part of a regular management process.
Capacity assessments are useful ways of supporting dialogue and strategy formulation, contributing to the design of capacity development programmes and establishing baselines for monitoring.  Perhaps most importantly, capacity assessments are used to build consensus among the stakeholders as to what reforms are required.


Core texts (1)

  UNDP Capacity Assessment Methodology
  TAGS :    capacity development   Capacity assessments   UNDP
  Author(s): UNDP
Year: 2007
This UNDP guide offers a step-by-step guide to conducting capacity assessments, using UNDP’s Capacity Assessment Framework and Supporting Tool.  The Framework is made up of 3 dimensions: Points of Entry (enabling environment; organisation; individual); Core Issues (inc. institutional development, leadership, knowledge and mutual accountability); and Functional Capacities.  This User’s Guide is a companion piece to UNDP’s Capacity Assessment Practice Note.

Tools (2)

  A Guide to Benchmarks and Indicators
  TAGS :    capacity development   Capacity assessments   UNDP
  Author(s): UNDP
Year: 2005
This UNDP Guide provides a long list of illustrative benchmarks and indicators that can be used in capacity assessments, covering institutional capacity, the enabling environment and thematic capacities.

  DAC Guidance on Governance Assessments
  TAGS :    harmonisation   Capacity assessments   OECD DAC
  Author(s): OECD-DAC; GOVNET
Year: 2009
The DAC’s GOVNET surveyed donor practices on governance assessment, finding that there were many different tools and approaches in use with frequent duplication.  It produced a set of 5 guiding principles on governance assessments to encourage greater harmonisation and improve impact.  The DAC also published a Sourcebook describing donor approaches to governance assessments, the different governance definitions in use, and providing an overview of assessment tools and methodologies.

Evidence & Analysis (0)

Country Examples (0)

Events & Processes (1)

  Learning Network on Capacity Development (LenCD)
  TAGS :    capacity development
The Learning Network on Capacity Development (LenCD) is an informal network of analystis and practitioners aimed at supporting the emerging global community of practice around capacity development.   Its objectives are to facilitate the sharing of lessons and distil quality criteria for good practice; promote research, share experiences, monitor outcomes and carry out other empirical work; foster country-level, regional and international dialogue and collaboration; promote the mainstreaming of capacity development issues into agency operations; and act as a key partner to advance the OECD/DAC’s capacity development agenda.  It organises learning events aimed at local and regional stakeholders, often focused on particular sectors or thematic areas.  LenCD was a key partner of OECD-DAC in preparing for Accra.