Capacity development

Capacity Development

Local communities are best suited to solve local problems. Making them stronger is the best way to create lasting impact and resiliency, which is why all Pact projects include developing local capacity.



partner organizations that improved their performance in 2016

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Maybe. But what happens when the river becomes polluted? When the water dries up? When the government takes away the right to fish?

Pact’s capacity development approach helps people around the world build local solutions to become heard and vibrant, whether that means overcoming health challenges, influencing their government, earning a dignified living or benefiting from the sustainable use of natural resources around them.

It goes beyond teaching a man to fish. It means equipping him and his neighbors with the leadership and know-how to solve their own problems and catalyze positive change where they live – not just today but for their entire lives and the next generation. It also means connecting communities into larger national and global networks for joint learning and scale-up. It means systems-level change.

A pioneer in the field, Pact has been developing the capacity of local groups since our start more than 40 years ago. Today, an acknowledged innovator in what perhaps has become the most critical discipline in international development, we work to improve the capacity of more than 1,000 civil society organizations and as many as 7,000 informal groups in almost every developing country in which we work.

At Pact, we believe sustainable international development isn’t handed down from Washington, London or Brussels. Our experience has shown that solutions adapted to local contexts and designed in partnership with the people who carry them out are the most likely to succeed in the long run.

That’s why Pact’s brand of capacity development is so effective. It puts the power of international best practices in service provision, management, monitoring and evaluation in the hands of people who have a vested interest in the development of their community and who will be there to resolve new challenges as they arise.

Some of our approaches are described in the following documents:


Our Capacity Development Work in Action

In Nepal, learning from mistakes means lasting roads, less environmental impact

November 2, 2017
Through a Pact-U.S. Forest Service partnership, Nepali engineers gain critical skills for building sustainable roads in unforgiving...

Rebuilding Stronger: Putting Communities in Charge after Nepal’s Earthquakes

August 31, 2017
In 2012, Pact began implementing USAID’s Sajhedari Bikaas project in six southern districts of Nepal. The six-year effort is helping rural...

After earthquakes in Nepal, rebuilding better

June 19, 2017
With a unique model that puts post-disaster communities in charge of their own recovery, Nepalis are building much more than water systems.
Zambia capacity development exercise

Working for long-term change through network analysis

June 7, 2017
Pact practices capacity development to ensure lasting change based on local leadership. Over our 45-year history of capacity development in...
M&E training in Malawi

Building M&E capacity in Malawi

March 31, 2017
A version of this article originally appeared in The Link, LINKAGES quarterly newsletter, and has been posted with permission.
Staff from a LINKAGES community-based organization during a capacity development workshop.

Financing for the future

March 17, 2017
The best way to ensure sustainable impact is by developing the capacity of local organizations and communities to solve local problems. It...

Public Opinion Survey: Civic Literacy In Ukraine, Moldova And Belarus

March 8, 2017
The report Civic Literacy in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus provides an account of the representative public opinion survey carried out in...

Armed with knowledge, a ‘citizen leader’ in Cambodia makes a difference

February 13, 2017
Before Pact's PROCEED project, local officials in Cambodia rarely listened to citizens’ concerns, and citizens often were too afraid to...

WORTH’s Global Impact: Empowering Women from Africa to Asia

December 13, 2016
Twenty years after Pact started its first WORTH group in Nepal, the community banking and empowerment model has transformed the lives of...

For Myanmar’s rural poor, integrated development plants seeds of change

October 17, 2016
Pact is using integrated development to build food security, resilience and local capacity in Myanmar.