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What is Capacity Building?

Capacity building is perhaps one of the most fashionable, yet least understood term in the non‐profit sector. There is a lack of shared definition and understanding around its features and essential elements. Funders tend to talk about capacity building programs, while capacity builders might refer to capacity building engagements, yet organizations may refer to it as a set of activities or processes that accomplish a specific goal. 
In essence, this is the process by which individuals, groups, organizations, and communities increase their abilities to: Perform core functions, solve problems, define and achieve objectives; and Understand and deal with their development needs in a broad context and in a sustainable manner.”
Organizational capacity building seeks to strengthen the ability of an organization or agency to achieve a desired outcome. Capacity building in this area can be defined as: “Supporting organizations to build and maintain the skills, infrastructure, and resources to a…

What are Social Movements?

Social Movements are instrumental to changing the path of a society. When a group of people come together with a shared idea, they can create lasting effect by encouraging change in a society or by resisting it; both of which will shape the future of their society. But a social movement is not just a group of people with an idea. If that were the case, every little group with a noble idea would be a social movement. Social movements need organization, leadership and resources if they ever hope to gain momentum and make an impact. There are different forms of movements depending on their goal. Activist movements are aimed at changing various aspects in the society while reactionary movements are actively trying to resist change. Earlier in the commencement of social movements, people were skeptical of the motivation of those involved in the social movements. They were seen as dysfunctional, irrational and dangerous and that people would only join because the social movements provided c…

Why Do Young People Engage in Social Movements?

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Young people have helped drive social movements around the world. From protesting the established order and furthering new ideas, Young People are often at the front-line of political and social transformations hoping to make the world a better place.
Reasons for Young People participation in movements vary. Compared to adults, Young People often have larger social networks which can serve as conduits for the transmission of ideas and mobilization. Young People are more inclined to be innovative in their use of media. They may adapt the latest technologies to help spread their message and mission. Also, Young People may have more time and bandwidth than older generations giving them a greater chance to take risk and fight the status quo. Altogether, reasons such as these make Young People participation in Social Movements an incredibly powerful element!

Skills in Project Management or Field Knowledge: Which one is KEY?

What is the difference between senior and junior project managers in terms of decision making. More specifically, while senior managers focus on potential project difficulties, junior managers are more easily swayed by their project’s plan and its deficiencies.
Spotting problems with your plan and being able to foresee difficulties are both essential skills for a project manager, but my argument is that while the first one can be acquired by anyone willing to put in the needed effort, the second skill is much harder to develop. This is why I believe in the importance of managing a project in a field you master. Up to this point, I am certain not everyone shares this view. Some people indeed hold the opinion that project management is a “standalone” skill: once you master the mechanics, you can apply it to any context.  In the same vein, it could be argued that even a project manager with a lot of experience in a given field cannot possibly hope to master every single aspect of the proje…

To RAID or not to RAID?

A few weeks ago I was assisting a project manager with a troubled project.  We reviewed the documentation from the beginning, starting with the usual suspects: project design, work plans, schedule just to mention a few.  They all seemed fairly straightforward and understandable.  Once we got to the status reporting though, confusion started. This project’s status reports were spreadsheets about 10 pages long.  Every week the team was only able to discuss only about 3 pages’ worth of information, and they were mostly risks. “Why is this so long, what’s in it?” I asked him. He answered that it was his RAID Log, which he used to run Status Meetings. He wanted to be certain not to miss anything, so he was careful to include every item related to the project and classify it as R (risk); A (action); I (issue) or D (dependency) in this giant spreadsheet. As the first section was ‘Risks’ they were certainly addressed. So, most of the discussion in his weekly status meeting was about events tha…

What is Organization Development Consulting and who needs it?

OrganizationalDevelopment consulting ALSO known as OD Consultingis a professional service that assists seasoned or existing organizations in evaluating and possibly restructuring their current internal layout. An Organizational Development consultant may also work with new or upcoming organizations as well as community groups that wish to design and establish a working structure that is likely to support certain goals and objectives. The idea behindorganizational consultingis to make the best use of all resources available by organizing them in the most logical and advantageous structural organization.
The process oforganizationalconsultingcan address the overall operations of the organization or focus on specific aspects. For example, an Organizational Development consultant may address the policies and procedures that govern the external and internal relations and support functions of the organization. Evaluations of the senior management team and its effectiveness may take place. Th…

A Motivated Team: Are you Maslow or Machiavelli?

Managers and organizations have diverse philosophies about how to motivate employees and manage teams. Some seek to create cooperation and loyalty. Others rely more on the competitive spirit to get things done. And the truth is different approaches can work, but it’s important to understand what kind of work environment you’re creating with your approach. So the question is: Are you more Maslow or Machiavelli. These two paradigms are familiar to many, but they represent extremely different ways of managing people. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us that people have certain requirements that have to be met before they can be truly fulfilled. In the workplace, this theory demands attending to the needs of each employee. Making enough money to live, job security, belonging to a team, excelling at a job, and doing meaningful work are all motivating factors. The idea is that if employees are happy at work, they’ll be more creative and produce more. The Machiavellian style is very differen…