“Capacity development” of local civil society organisations (CSOs) in sub-Saharan Africa has become a key strategy among prominent international donors and international intermediary organisations. This raises critical questions about who has power in charting and supporting a CSO’s path to strengthened capacity – and what roles different actors can or should play in advancing the organisational vitality of the African CSO sector.

On 6 October 2020 the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program and the Hewlett Foundation co-sponsored a conversation to explore the power dynamics between funders, International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) based in the Global North, and CSOs founded and based in sub-Saharan Africa. On the panel were:

Our conversation drew in part on findings from the Aspen Institute’s recent report evaluating the Hewlett Foundation’s strategy for supporting local advocacy in sub-Saharan Africa. The report summarises key findings and recommendations on capacity strengthening and power sharing practices. It is part of a five-year learning and evaluation process that will conclude in 2021.

The conversation took place in English with simultaneous French interpretation. Live questions and comments from the audience in both English and French were answered. Enjoy the recording of this extremely insightful conversation.