1) Capacity BuildingIntroduction to Capacity Building Framework
Capacity Building is, in essence work done to improve and strengthen what already exists. The result is an increase (e.g. of branches, volunteers, members, incomes, beneficiaries, delivered hours) or an improvement (e.g. of management, services, administration, support) compared with the situation prior to the intervention. Capacity Building can be done either continuously, or as one off projects or campaigns. Capacity building efforts should always be led by existing managers at all levels, especially line managers. External input is useful to inspire and help the managers to succeed in their personal Capacity Building.
The ultimate capacity of a National Society is the ability to, in a competent and sustainable way, mobilise, channel and utilise community resources to serve vulnerable people.
To be a successful voluntary organisation a National Society must have five fundamental capacities:
1) competent (qualified and experienced) people
2) relevant programmes,
3) efficient organizational structures
4) adequate resources, and
5) an effective way of working.
Determining what is competent, relevant, efficient, adequate, and effective depends to a great extent on external conditions and changes over time. It is the task and the duty of the leadership of a National Society to ensure that it has these five fundamental capacities.
If a National Society already has these five fundamentals capacities, the basis of the organisation can be considered to be sound, and it can begin to concentrate on Capacity Building.
If a National Society does not have one or more of these five fundamental capacities, then it cannot simply do Capacity Building, but needs to concentrate on OD work. Building capacity when there are no solid foundations is simply a waste of time and resources, and cannot be sustainable.
Major planned change in a medium sized or big National Society takes a very long time (e.g. between 5 to 10 years) to complete. It is therefore important that it is done in the right way to avoid unnecessary costs, loss of quality services and other disturbances.
One method is to ensure that the initial OD stages that lay the foundation for change are kept quite short and limited. Ideally each of these changes should affect as small a part of the organisation as possible. Most of the change can then be done as Capacity Building - expanding from the new. This stage is always more rewarding, less expensive and is easier to mobilise support for.
Focusing on people
Capacity refers to what we are capable of doing. Since people are at the centre of making decisions, running programmes and delivering services, the investment in developing skills is a non-negotiable element for the long-term success of all capacity-building initiatives.In the Movement, people are the volunteer and paid staff who are tasked to perform duties ranging from international leadership responsibilities to community-based services in the most remote areas of the planet. All layers of society are mirrored within National Societies because volunteers bring different communities and segments of society.
One of the findings of Learning from the Nineties was that the global network of volunteer-based National Societies is the main comparative advantage of the International Federation (The Fundamental Principle of Voluntary Service). Applying this comparative advantage improves the Movementís collective humanitarian impact. To achieve this, National Societies must have a coherent human resources strategy that includes a policy on volunteer positions, recruitment, training and management.Volunteers are the frontline service providers in most National Societies. In accordance with the directions of Strategy 2010 National Societies agree to design volunteer-based local programmes and services in line with the International Federationís four core areas. Volunteers serving the vulnerable people in their own communities must remain an essential part of the work force of a National Society. The International Federationís 1999 Volunteering Policy defines volunteering as an activity that must benefit vulnerable people, be organised by a National Society and be carried out by a person of her or his own free will.For a number of reasons, National Society capacities to recruit, retain and manage volunteer-based programmes and services need to be improved. The reasons range from the emergence of smaller and more focused community-based agencies, to changing needs such as the emergence of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, to a general decline in the Movementís focus on volunteers.Reiterating the importance of volunteers ensures that National Societies remain rooted in the communities they serve. To increase the number of functions and services provided by volunteers, National Societies can consider a few options:∑ Initiate large- and small-scale volunteer recruitment announcements, similar to the ones opened for paid positions.∑ Design volunteer management and training systems. ∑ Identify cross-generational activities that involve youth and elderly people alike.∑ Recognise a volunteerís contributions systematically.∑ Provide practical professional training opportunities for students and professionals.∑ Create an organizational culture that understands the value of volunteers and their services.
Senior managers must possess a demonstrated track record in non-profit management as this is an essential requirement for a well-run National Society. Senior management positions are normally paid positions and are accountable for the following: ∑ Assisting the board successfully. ∑ Ensuring that volunteers and paid staff have the needed resources for quality performance.∑ Conducting strategic planning and managing change processes.∑ Fund-raising. ∑ Financial management.∑ Identifying solutions.∑ Motivating staff.∑ Communicating information, direction and input clearly and regularly to staff.The most important aspect of a senior post is the ability to manage and guide human relations. Therefore, it is best to ensure that managers receive ongoing training and are given updated tools for this purpose. This is especially relevant to large-scale capacity building efforts and reforms.
Governance sets direction and evaluates overall performance. Within a National Society, members of governance are responsible and accountable for ensuring that the organization is in line with its mission and in compliance with legal controls. Governance is the leadership of Red Cross Red Crescent organizations, governance members must be volunteers elected or appointed to the position. To ensure a healthy leadership body, board appointments must have a term limitation.National Societies are free to structure their governance differently. Some maintain a complete separation of governance and management, while others include management and branch representatives as well as external partners such as government and donor agencies on their board. Regardless of the structure, to maintain the health of an organization it is essential to ensure that the two functions of governance and management are separate but complementary and harmonious.
Human resources department
The human resources department is responsible for developing and implementing a coherent strategy on skills development and training. These tasks supplement the standard responsibilities of recruitment and retainment of volunteer and paid staff. To perform these responsibilities successfully, human resources personnel must have an established background in managing the many aspects of human relations and requirements in a non-profit setting. In addition, they must ensure that proper systems are in place for monitoring fair labour practices in line with official policies of the National Society and the Principles of the Movement. Due to the important role of human resources personnel, they need to receive ongoing training and skills evaluation.The design of a healthy human resources system is based on the knowledge and skills necessary to meet an organization's mission, with an explicit description of the profile, i.e., attitude and values, that the organization seeks to promote through its volunteers and staff. This is often referred to as a competency framework and its contents should be:∑ driven by what the organization does;∑ identified in collaboration with volunteer and paid staff; and∑ part of a long-term process of change in an organization's culture.A competency framework cannot be done overnight and will inevitably encounter the difficulties associated with any major change process, such as marginalization of people, an environment of uncertainty and resistance to change.
The International Federationís Gender Equality Policy states the following: The goal of the Federation is to ensure that all Red Cross Red Crescent programmes benefit men and women, equally, according to their different needs and with the input and equal participation of men and women at all levels within the National Societies and the Federationís secretariat.The International Federation's strategy for achieving this goal is by mainstreaming gender considerations into all aspects of the organizationís work.
Gender mainstreaming refers to the systematic integration of the respective needs, interests and capacities of both men and women at all levels of an organization. It implies that the leadership and staff of the organization are accountable for assessing the implications of their policies, procedures and development activities on men and women. It is about considering both the social and the biological differences between men/boys and women/girls.Since National Societies belong to different organizational traditions, different strategies and tools are required for gender mainstreaming. In addition, National Societies need to practise different approaches when addressing gender issues. In contrast to paid staff, it is not possible to use simple administrative measures to ensure gender, age and diversity balance for volunteers. The local needs determine the types of services and whether female or male volunteers are best positioned to deliver them. Therefore, the concept of equal opportunity is more applicable than gender balance in relation to National Society volunteers and elected members.When it comes to programmes, the aim is to ensure gender equity which is about ensuring fairness. Men and women need to have equal access to and benefit equally from Red Cross Red Crescent programmes and services.Practically, gender considerations can be seen as issues of programming and of running an organization. Both dimensions require capacity-building interventions as detailed below.Programming Women and men have different needs, vulnerabilities and capacities that have to be considered in programming and service delivery. This requires simply questioning and determining the possible differential impact of Red Cross Red Crescent programmes on both women and men.Although it is not possible to develop an effective standard tool or checklist for gender issues to suit all programmes, the following basic questions for gender analysis can help a National Society clarify whether gender balance, equity and equal opportunity are practised:
- Who does what?
- Who has what?
- Who decides? How?
- Who gains? Who loses?
- Which men/boys? Which women/girls?
Running the organizationWhen gender issues are raised in an organization, they are often associated with staff and their needs in terms of the environment and careers. The problems related to staff are usually visible and relatively easy to address if there is a genuine leadership commitment to ensure equity and equal opportunity for all staff. Sex-disaggregated data (division of data by men and women) is a starting point and can help to assess whether recruitment and human resources procedures need to be challenged and revised.On the other hand, it is far more complex to ensure gender balance for elected people. The possible measures include gender awareness-raising activities at various levels, but especially within election committees.Finally, equal opportunities and gender balance for volunteers, elected people and paid staff does not automatically lead to increased sensitivity of programmes and services. Special efforts need to focus on gender awareness and gender analysis. In this context, the International Federationís gender policy points out that ďeach National Society and the Federationís secretariat shall design strategies for capacity building in gender mainstreaming as part of institutional programmes with special attention to staff training on gender analysis skillsĒ.To this end, the International Federation's secretariat has developed a scholarship project aimed at providing opportunities for staff members of National Societies in attending gender analysis skills training available within the country or subregion.
The Federation approaches capacity building by addressing the three key elements of people, foundation and resources. In practice, the approach is flexible in order to allow for different entry points due to the varying realities of each National Society.
For instance, National Societies may choose to expand their individual capacities through a collective model that focuses on programme development. The African Red Cross and Red Crescent Health Initiative (ARCHI) is one example. Also, they may choose to strengthen capacities in post-disaster relief operations like the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU). They may also choose to build capacities at the national level (Case Studies).
National Societies are free to choose any entry point that corresponds to their individual or collective organizational needs, as long as there is a focus and services are prioritised according to the organizationís mandate and the needs of vulnerable people.
The Movement uses programmes and services as the entry point for capacity building. These can either be through short-term relief operations or long-term development activities. With a few exceptions, the practice generally remains the same and maintains its focus on three elements:
Programmes and services always provide an opportunity for developing people's expertise. For example, on-the-job training and formal training workshops can be organised to develop relevant skills for volunteer and paid staff. Often, the training focus is placed mainly on the human resource base of an organization. To ensure an overall improvement in the performance of the entire organization, the focus needs to expand to include ongoing training of senior managers and leadership.
b) Foundation and systems
Programmes and services provide opportunities for expanding a National Societyís foundation through the establishment of new branches as well as reinforcing existing ones. This would require that the organization's systems are improved to accommodate the new capacities and to ensure accountability and credibility. Key systems that often require improvement are financial management, human resources, logistics and reporting.
Sometimes efforts to improve services trigger a wide-reaching reform, also called organizational change processes. If this becomes the case, the needs of vulnerable people must continue to guide progress in this area. Please refer to Part Three for further discussion.
Programmes and services
A good example of National Societies choosing programmes and services as the entry point is demonstrated through the work of African National Societies with HIV and AIDS. Triggered by the African Red Cross and Red Crescent Health Initiative (ARCHI) and the 5th Pan African Conference (Ouagadougou, 2000), HIV/AIDS has become the key programme priority for the International Federation in Africa.
In the case of the Federationís work with HIV and AIDS, maximising impact is only possible if we successfully manage to build local capacities. Such capacities are developed by empowering people and bringing resources and skills to the very core of affected communities. Empowerment of people is nothing more than granting them result-oriented participation, which means that their opinions and local solutions must be woven into the larger action. Bringing resources and skills involves directly channelling expertise, money, material and training to communities.
Valuable lessons on how to approach local capacity building were gained from the International Federationís experiences in China, Jamaica, Kenya, and Rwanda. Having reviewed these case studies, the Global Organizational Development Think Tank identified current capacities for scaling up the response to HIV and AIDS, among them the capacity to:
∑ empower people and communities by engaging them in decision-making and service delivery;
∑ practise the comparative advantage of mobilising volunteers into multiple service lines;
∑ create the space and the environment to test and to replicate on a larger scale;
∑ work effectively with people living with AIDS;
∑ address stigma within the National Societies;
∑ sustain a long-term programme in an organization that delivers disaster relief services; and
∑ evaluate to ensure quality services.
If programmes and services are used as the entry point for capacity building, they must be directly linked to the specific needs of vulnerable people.
Disaster relief operations
Disaster relief operations provide a practical opportunity to solidify the link between affected communities and their National Society. They also offer the occasion to develop disaster management skills and enhance related service capacities. Just as importantly, they grant the opportunity to recruit volunteers, train them in key disaster services of National Societies and retain them as part of the core work force.
The International Federationís Emergency Response Policy affirms that the primary objective of emergency relief is to reduce immediate suffering. However, operations should also aim to strengthen the self-reliance of the National Society and the affected population. This means that relief operations must be used as an entry point to building organizational and local capacities that increase the ability of individuals and whole communities to mitigate, cope with, prepare for and respond to future disasters.
Many capacity-building challenges surface in the aftermath of massive disaster relief operations such as those in the Horn of Africa during the 1980s, and in the Great Lakes and the Former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It is common, during a large disaster relief operation, for a National Society to develop massively in a short period of time, an inflation that occurs spontaneously and organically. In such cases, the expansion is abrupt, decisions focus on meeting immediate needs, and there is limited time to adjust the organizationís foundation, systems and resources to enable it to return to its size prior to a large relief operation.
On the other hand, organizational learning often happens naturally during these operations. National Societies are introduced to best practices in bidding systems, transport and delivery of goods, planning of stocks, organization of adequate logistics and accounting as well as various monitoring and evaluation systems. Disaster relief also grants the opportunity to bring the Movementís Fundamental Principles into action.
- Linda Micciche