IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

A quick indicator of effectiveness of “capacity building” initiatives of NGOs and international organizations

Listed author(s):
  • David Lempert
Registered author(s):

    The article offers an easy-to-use indicator for scholars and practitioners to measure whether NGOs, international organizations, and government policies and projects meet the criteria for design and implementation of “capacity building” projects that have been established by various international organizations and that are recognized by experts in the field. The indicator can be used directly to address failures that are routinely reported in this key and growing development intervention. Use of this indicator on more than a dozen standard interventions funded today by international development banks, UN organizations, country donors, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) reveals that while many smaller organizations are working to change institutions and society in ways that effectively build long-term capacity, most of the major actors in the field of development have failed to follow their own guidelines. Many appear to be using “capacity building” as a cover for lobbying foreign governments to promote international agendas (“purchasing foreign officials”) and/or to increase the power of particular officials at the expense of democracy, with the public lacking simple accountability tools. The indicator points to specific areas for holding development actors accountable in order to promote development goals of sustainability and good governance. The breadth of the field of “capacity building” also allows this indicator to be used, with some modifications, for a large variety of development interventions. This article also offers several examples of where current capacity building projects fail, along with a sample test of the indicator using UNCDF as a case study.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Europa Grande in its journal European Journal of Government and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2015)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages: 155-196

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:egr:ejge00:v:4:i:2:p:155-196
    Contact details of provider:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Kunibert Raffer & H. W. Singer, 1996. "The Foreign Aid Business," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1011.
    2. Tatu Vanhanen, 2000. "A New Dataset for Measuring Democracy, 1810-1998," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 37(2), pages 251-265, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:egr:ejge00:v:4:i:2:p:155-196. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Europa Grande)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.