The term capacity building, within the context of international NGOs, often takes on a number of interpretations that fall into two forms of capacity. On one hand the term focuses on the community, referring to a facilitated process that supports communities to: develop their own direction in the solving of local collective problems; build off of existing community assets to improve community well-being, and create rubrics for measuring impact and growth. On the other hand, it focuses on the organization and activities meant to improve organizational effectiveness and performance so that NGOs can better fulfill their mission of improving the quality of life of those they serve. Using examples from academic literature and the authors on experience in development work, this analysis proposes a conceptual model to balance the tensions that occur when international NGOs attempt to engage in both forms of capacity building, focusing on the concepts of accountability, community voice and partnership.
January 1, 2013