Investing to Deliver: How organizational capacity development contributes to stronger health systems

By: Ummuro Adano, Monita Baba Djara, Betsie Cialino, Alain Joyal Sasha Grenier, Megan Kearns, Jackie Lemlin, Susan Post, and

From 2011 to 2017, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Leadership, Management and Governance (LMG) Project aimed to strengthen the institutional, programmatic, and financial foundations of partners to promote their organizational sustainability. To develop the capacity of organizations, the LMG Project applied an approach that focused on sustainably strengthening systems, rather than using the more traditional approach of providing short-term support aimed at achieving immediate, short-term objectives.

In a programming environment where the importance of organizational development has been recognized but its link to health outcomes remains difficult to establish, the LMG Project confirmed the value of its capacity development approach. It provided further evidence of the need for assistance programs to:

  • Align with client priorities and set clear expectations for successful capacity development and technical assistance (TA) outcomes.
  • Include outcome indicators and program evaluations when designing capacity development interventions in order to objectively document outcomes and lessons learned.
  • Embed staff in the client organization to maximize capacity development support.
  • Ensure the integrity of tools and approaches through intentional transfer.

The LMG Project’s efforts enhanced the flexibility of numerous organizations in low-and middle-income countries to respond to change, engage in problem solving, and measure and adjust to health issues. The LMG Project’s organizational capacity development approach contributed to organizational sustainability and to improved health service quality, provision, and access in many countries.

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