Capacity development

Capacity Development

Pact supports the capacities of individuals, community groups, civil society and governments so they can translate hopes and ideas into new and lasting realities.



partner organizations that improved their performance in 2017

A pioneer and innovator in what is now among the most critical disciplines in international development, Pact has been strengthening groups and communities around the world for more than 40 years. This includes community-based organizations, civil society organizations, advocacy groups and government entities at all levels. As a global partner with extensive experience in holistic, integrated development, we help organizations, governments and even systems craft development agendas, plan for change and take effective action. 

Our capacity development work is based on four principles:

  • Systems thinking. No one actor can create large-scale change.
  • Co-creation. In-country groups and individuals and Pact staff come together as true partners.
  • Every interaction as an opportunity. Capacity development has moved beyond traditional classroom-style training, to include peer and colleague-based learning, coaching, on-the-job technical assistance, co-creation of context-responsive tools and resources, blended learning, professionalization and more. 
  • Sustainability. Lasting change requires multifaceted capacity at all levels – within individuals, organizations and even systems.

Capacity Development 2.0
Pact recently launched a new set of capacity development tools based on what is known within capacity development circles as Capacity Development 2.0. This framework involves methodically embedding programmatic efforts in a larger local systems approach. This begins with delineating, mapping and analyzing relevant systems. Pact and its partners then co-create action and change plans, including all actors needed to foster meaningful social change. Pact and partners identify and leverage opportunities and link them with associated capacities to support and strengthen as needed. The resulting highly participatory co-design processes lay out clear steps for progress.

With Pact's Capacity Solutions Platform, or CSP, Pact and its partners can capture qualitative and quantitative data to track and understand organizations' progress. An important tool in Pact's ongoing effort to move the historical locus of development change out of the "project" context and into the appropriate local context, the CSP has now been used by more than 2,500 organizations in 30 countries.

Pact also relies on the open-source, evidence-based methodology known as Collective Impact, which makes systems-based approaches to change relatively easy to understand and co-implement, even for nascent local groups.

To learn more, read our capacity development fact sheet


Our Capacity Development Work in Action

In Nigeria, a state-level health COP shows the power of convening

July 3, 2018
Reducing diarrheal disease among children is a major goal of the global health community. Although it is both preventable and treatable, it...

Welcome to the world, Government Performance Index!

April 3, 2018
For years, Pact’s Organizational Performance Index, or OPI, has been helping local organizations to measure their capacity, understand...

Through capacity development, a once-small Ukrainian NGO leads in HIV services

January 30, 2018
Although Olena Ovsyannikova was the head of a well-established HIV services NGO, she’d never heard of the concept of organizational...

‘Everything is different now’: With integrated development, Myanmar communities transform

January 23, 2018
The Shae Thot project has addressed villages’ most pressing needs, including health, food security and livelihoods. But its unique,...

The FISH project in Malawi

December 19, 2017
The fish in lakes Chilwa, Chiuta, Malombe, and Malawi are a precious natural resource and the pride of Malawi. The Fisheries Integration of...

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.