The Center for Global Development and Sustainability

Capacity Building for NGOs and Universities

Exterior of building at Kathmandu University, Nepal

Development and health programs require active monitoring of progress based on a comprehensive understanding of the problem to be resolved. Baseline studies that document and analyze the situation in the community before the project starts are often not conducted or available to program planners and community members and hence contribute to failures in development and health project implementation. GDS is developing institutional capacity within nonprofits and NGOs by conducting collaborative baseline research and trainings for local staff on low-cost methods to collect data on key indicators. GDS also works with universities in developing countries on curriculum design, pedagogy and governance issues.

NGO Baseline Studies

Ghana: GDS and RAINS are teaming up for capacity-building collaboration to enhance baseline studies.

The Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) is a Ghanaian registered non-governmental organization that is committed to promoting the rights of the marginalized in society. Formed in 1993, RAINS has a long history of work to improve the lives of deprived communities. In conjunction with communities, government agencies and civil society groups, the organization pioneered interactions in advancing girl child education, tackling child labour, and the empowerment of women and girls.

India: Coming soon: Baseline documentation for water contamination in eastern Kolkata.

University Capacity Building

Nepal: GDS is working with the University of Katmandu School of Management to enhance its curriculum, course design and pedagogy for sustainable development. Supported by the Fulbright Specialist Program, GDS is working with the Public Policy and Management program to achieve the following aims: To assess the overall relevance of the curriculum in the global and national contexts; to enhance research capacity within the faculty; and to consider course and pedagogical innovation. 

Sri Lanka: GDS is assisting the Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning to advance its institutional capacity to serve the next generation of development practitioners and policy makers. 

Related GDS Studies

Lessons from Practice: Assessing Scalability. A GDS project headed by Prof. Susan Holcombe, Ph.D. and commissioned by the Agriculture and Rural Development Department, the World Bank. The summary of the report states: Attempts at innovation promise to demonstrate viable approaches that can be widely expanded or replicated to increase agricultural and rural incomes and well-being. Innovations are also risky; not only may they fail, but they also consume scarce resources and the energies of communities involved. Initial tests of innovations are usually small, but they need to provide guidance to implementers and funders on whether or not to go to scale, and how. The report builds upon a literature review, desk studies of 22 World Bank Development Marketplace innovative projects, field studies of three promising innovations and surveys of selected stakeholders in the innovations. It identifies simple sets of questions and tools for designing and then quickly judging which innovations should be encouraged to scale up, and how. It concludes, in brief, that innovations should be simple, strategic and readily monitored. Scaling up needs local legitimacy and ownership, leadership, and an implementing organization with capacity to learn and grow. It needs time to prove the effectiveness of the implementation and build the conditions for scaling. It needs a champion who can put the innovation on the agenda of key stakeholders in scaling up and play a role in bridging actors and eliminating roadblocks. It needs to be moving toward financial viability, either by being cost covering, moving to private sector adoption, or accepted as a public good. There need to be incentives for scaling up. Finally the decision to scale needs to be revisited again and again during implementation. Read the final report