A Robust and Culturally Responsive Tool for Assessment
In its theory of influence, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s (Gates Foundation) Global Policy Advocacy (GPA) team identified advocacy and communications capacity building as one important lever toward advancing policy and financing goals in developing countries where GPA investments are focused. The Gates Foundation engaged ORS Impact (ORS) to develop a culturally relevant, methodologically rigorous tool to learn more about successful capacity building—that is, what constitutes strong advocacy and communications; how foundation investments can best support organizations’ advocacy and communications capacity; and how to document changes in capacity over time. For this work, ORS teamed with Fred Carden, principal of Using Evidence, and Janet Sawaya, principal of Sawaya Consulting.
The ORS team developed a comprehensive, multi-method advocacy and communications capacity assessment tool that includes input from organizational staff and external stakeholders. In 2017, the ORS team piloted the assessment with 19 GPA grantee organizations in 11 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and South Asia that work on issues related to health — specifically, immunizations, family planning, maternal/ infant/child health, enteric and diarrheal disease, pneumonia, and neglected tropical diseases; nutrition; agriculture; financial inclusion, and community sanitation. This brief describes the assessment methodology, including rationale for the approach and the components of the tool.
The brief also presents insights and considerations arising from the initial implementation that may be useful to others seeking to measure or document organizational advocacy and communications capacity in developing county contexts.