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Community Contribution

Considerations for Measuring Capacity Development in LMICs

David Schlinkert, Frederick Rossi, Katharina Anton-Erxleben, Rachael Jackson, Timothy Silberg, Michael Eschleman

To build strong institutions and improve livelihoods, USAID supports projects that strengthen human capacity and improve organizational performance. Measuring increased capacity, however, can be challenging. For example, organizations are multi-faceted and constantly changing, and it can be difficult to explicitly link a training event or program to an individual’s improved ability to increase the organization’s capacity. To address some of these inherent measurement challenges, USAID created the CBLD-9 indicator to track and measure Agency-wide progress to strengthen the performance of local organizations. The indicator measures the percentage of U.S. Government-assisted organizations with improved performance.

In October 2021, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) leaders from six USAID higher education projects started a MERL Community of Practice (COP) to discuss their experiences and challenges with using CBLD-9. The purpose of the MERL COP is to use the Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) model to share project-level lessons learned, troubleshoot and brainstorm solutions to ongoing issues, and share key lessons learned with other USAID projects.

This learning brief will discuss the benefits of learning groups such as the MERL COP, share findings from an organizational capacity building pilot study conducted in 2022, and discuss how a key aspect of outcome mapping can assist in the measurement of CBLD-9. The MERL COP hopes the knowledge shared here will prove useful to others and looks forward to receiving feedback from those who read this CLA learning brief.

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