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Enhancing our own capacity building support

Environment Programme / Learnings / Organisational strengthening and effectiveness / Programme news

To develop the ability of our programme officers to support the capacity building of our partners, Oak launched an eLearning programme in autumn 2018. Through this training, our programme officers can improve their abilities to support our partners in assessing their own needs, and will understand better how to advise on capacity building. The initial day-long event took place in November 2018 and was attended by 35 staff from Oak programmes. Participants shared experiences and discussed how best to support partner organisations to catalyse positive change.

“The training taught me how to better facilitate deep and open dialogue with Oak’s partners and how to build trust with them,” said Nathan Argent, head of the climate sub-programme in the Environment Programme.

The training day was a precursor to an eight-week e-Learning course. The first phase dealt with: assessing capacity building needs; ensuring partner ownership; selecting appropriate capacity building methods; and supporting capacity building effectively. The second stage delved into: programme officers as change agents; how to build capacity through field visits; capacity building and intermediaries/networks; and evaluation of capacity building.

“Ultimately, we want grantees to feel supported in their individual learning journeys so that they can access appropriate packages of support and become stronger and more able to achieve their goals,” says Adriana Craciun, senior adviser for organisational development and capacity building. “We want organisations to have options to access good quality providers when they need to build capacity in fundraising, staff training, leadership and in other areas. Our hope is that after a few years, they are able to turn around to us and say, ‘Hey, thanks, but we don’t need you anymore’. This makes us very happy – then we can focus our energy on supporting other organisations in need.”

Following the success of the training programme, another course was organised in 2019 and will continue biannually, with the next training taking place in 2021.

If you would like to find out more about capacity building and organisational development opportunities within Oak, please check out the capacity building page on our website. Oak partners interested in capacity building and organisational development should contact their responsible programme officer directly.