At the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005, world leaders pledged to increase development aid to Africa. Yet, African and Western experts alike agree that in order for the increased aid to be effective, absorptive capacity within local African institutions is needed to receive and effectively utilize the aid. Unfortunately, methods to building sustainable and scalable local capacity have proven elusive, much to the frustration of donors and humanitarian organizations alike.

Fritz Institute believes that innovative “inside-out” strategies incorporating African expertise and perspectives into development and humanitarian initiatives must be utilized if local capacity building initiatives are to succeed.  In the humanitarian sector in particular, the increasing number and scale of disasters demands that emphasis be placed on African solutions and African human resources.


Fritz Institute’s African Capacity Networks program seeks to systematically build capacity within local humanitarian organizations, persuade donors to develop more equal partnerships with local organizations, and promote partnership between local organizations and national governments and the private sector.  Fritz Institute has developed a set of audit tools that together assess humanitarian organizations across the key dimensions of organizational excellence.  These include:

  • Transparency, Accountability and Governance
  • Financial Sustainability
  • Program Effectiveness

Developed in collaboration with subject area experts from academia and the private sector, the audits provide baselines and track progress of participating organizations.  For each phase, systematic interventions to address gaps are designed and implemented, incorporating best practices, technology solutions and human capital from other members and partners within the humanitarian, corporate and academic sectors.  While rigorous, each audit process is not a fault-finding exercise, but rather provides recognition of the competencies of each organization compared to internationally-recognized benchmarks.  Excellence across these three dimensions, assessed by a neutral third party, provides stakeholders with a sense of confidence that local institutions are capable of meeting and exceeding world-class standards. 

For more information about the African Capacity Networks program, read our article in Forced Migration Review: "Capacity Development from the Inside Out."


The pilot initiative of Fritz Institute’s African Capacity Networks program is the New Partnership for African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (NEPARC), which seeks to empower its members, the largest humanitarian organizations in Africa, to determine their own priorities and catalyze African solutions to the growing humanitarian challenges across the continent.  Participation in the audit in transparency, accountability and governance is a membership requirement.  To date, members who have gained accreditation as well as those who fell short are demonstrating progress towards addressing identified weaknesses through such activities as peer networking, resource mobilization workshops and governance-board retreats.  For more information, please visit NEPARC’s website:
Every time I have the opportunity to recommend NEPARC to other African National Societies, I tell them that the audits are not sanctions; rather, the audits provide an opportunity for organizations to demonstrate where they have been, where they are and where they should be.
- Monique Coulibaly, President,
Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire
NEPARC is providing African National Societies with the opportunity to demonstrate our credibility to our partners, governments and societies.  The network has prompted us to seek out resources within our own countries, as sustainability is a core value that NEPARC is fostering.
- Tom Buruku, Chairman,
Uganda Red Cross
The sustainability audit provided our organization with the opportunity to analyze the diversity of our funding sources and reflect on our core costs; as a result of our participation in the pilot, we are developing a master resource mobilization plan that will enable us to reach our long-term objectives.
- Fernanda Teixeira, Secretary General,
Mozambique Red Cross Society
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