Connecting and Supporting NGOs in Africa to Strengthen their Organizational Effectiveness

How can NGOs both strengthen capacity and connect with international donors and partners? R4D’s Partner Navigator is testing a new model for how to broker collaborations in Africa.

The Challenge

African NGOs should be at the center of any initiative to strengthen health, education and nutrition systems on the continent. But too often, international partners and funders do not have information about high-quality and highly-effective local NGOs to collaborate with in their work. This challenge is twofold. First, there are strong and capable organizations in Africa that have small gaps in their organizations practices (such as finance human resource, and management policies and practices) that could be addressed to increase their effectiveness as a partner or grantee. Second, potential partners in the global north may not have visibility into the excellent organizations that already exist in places where they are seeking to work and provide support.

The Opportunity

With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, R4D is developing a proof of concept for the Partner Navigator, a project that would seek to overcome both of these challenges.

The Partner Navigator will develop and test an organizational effectiveness assessment and platform through which any NGO in Africa can provide information about their organizational policies and practices, resulting in a verified score and diagnostic report regarding areas of strength and opportunities for growth for the NGO. Organization would have the opportunity to opt into a searchable platform that others can use to identify high-capacity local partners.

In addition, the Navigator would work with leaders of capacity building provision in Africa to provide targeted support to NGOs that complete the assessment and seek to improve upon the areas for growth identified in the assessment. This could include areas such as board independence, financial diversification and security, and transparency.

Our Work/Progress/Results

Currently in the proof on concept phase, the NGO Partner Navigator has completed the following parts of the pilot:

  • Design and iterative revisions of the organizational capacity assessment, piloted with an NGO advisory group representing 7 countries
  • Co-design of the Platform model with partners at FieldWorks
  • Co-design of capacity building models for potential scale-up in collaboration with NGO advisory group

Photo credit: Courtney Tolmie/R4D


Africa (regional)


Rockefeller Foundation


Actions pour l’Environnement et le Développement Durable (ACED), Centre for Basic Research, Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa, Civil Society Education Coalition, Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development, Economic Policy Research Centre, FieldWorks, Foundation for Civil Society, Hand in Hand Eastern Africa, Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, This-Ability, Transparency International, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network



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