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A values-based approach

Organisational strengthening and effectiveness / Organisational strengthening and effectiveness

Illustration created by Mia Moore

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” This oft-quoted saying is particularly apt when considering the values behind capacity building support at Oak. We support initiatives that develop the capacity of our partners so that they carry out their work more effectively.

Through participatory, collaborative and empowering capacity building, we want to help organisations identify areas of strength and weakness. With the aim of supporting our partners to make the greatest possible impact for many years to come, we provide tools and advisory support to build up these areas.

By focusing on participatory, collaborative and empowering capacity building, Oak supports its partners to shape their own paths. “This means that rather than presenting our partners with solutions and telling them how it should be, we encourage them to find the answers through participatory processes such as self-assessment and co-designing intervention actions,” said Adriana Craciun, senior adviser on organisational development and capacity building at Oak.

We see capacity development as a means of providing support to individual grantees so that they grow and develop. We believe that capacity development should be owned by our partners, led by them and tailored to their needs. We want our partners to feel supported in their individual learning journeys, and to know that they can access appropriate support when needed. Ultimately, we want them to become stronger, more able to achieve their social justice outcomes, and more sustainable, resilient and effective.

The ultimate goal of capacity building is to empower organisations. Capacity development should, therefore, be delivered through practitioners or providers who have the right values, attitudes and behaviour, as well as the appropriate techniques. Providers should be: respectful towards and inclusive of participants; truthful while encouraging authenticity among clients; collaborative; and client-centred.

Creating longlasting change

For Adriana, “it’s the way you do capacity building that is the most important”. In other words, the core values embedded in Oak’s capacity building – participation, collaboration and empowerment – shape its success. By extension, these same values have a wide-reaching impact on the work of the organisation. Successful value-based capacity building produces long lasting structural changes, rather than band-aid solutions.

For more information on how Oak supports the capacity development of our partners, visit the capacity building page on our website