Partnership & Capacity Strengthening and Local Leadership


Local organizations engaged in partnership and programming


partners staff in our capacity strengthening programs

$112 million

of funds directed to local organizations

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About Partnership and Capacity Strengthening

With a broad network of local and church partners and deep roots in the communities where we work, CRS is uniquely positioned to assist with community capacity building. We strengthen local organizations, support grassroots advocacy, and provide strategic guidance that leads to sustainable change. Our Partnership and Capacity Strengthening tools and programs, such as the Institute for Capacity Strengthening, are a natural outgrowth of longstanding CRS principles:

  • We believe people should lead their own development. CRS community capacity building efforts invest in local people and strengthens local institutions and networks. We have an active network of church and local partners around the world united by our mission to help the poor and vulnerable.

  • We are committed to sustainable solutions with long-term impact. CRS increases the impact of joint programming and improves lives in lasting ways by helping individuals, communities and institutions reach their full potential.

  • We work to promote social justice, peace and human dignity. CRS seeks to foster inclusion, accountability, and fair governance through strong civil society networks.


How We Do It

CRS' Capacity Strengthening Model

Over the years, CRS has developed community capacity building programs in collaboration with hundreds of local organizations all over the world. Our partners are often uniquely adept at identifying and implementing appropriate solutions to problems in their communities. Yet they often lack some of the systems, resources, skills, and tools necessary for self-sufficiency.

CRS regards capacity building and institutional strengthening as essential to any organization’s health. In our Partnership and Capacity Strengthening efforts, CRS accompanies and supports our partners to:

  • Assess. Evaluate current organizational assets and resources with respect for the organization's strengths, needs and goals.

  • Identify gaps in individual skills or organizational systems. Pinpoint needed skills or knowledge, organizational gaps and areas for improvement (e.g., Business Strategy, Human Resources, Procurement, Supply Chain, External Relations, program services)

  • Design and implement interventions. Leverage local resources, staff and networks as well as CRS expertise and experience to provide assistance such as:

    • Coaching & mentoring

    • Training & peer-to-peer learning

    • Organizational design & restructuring

    • Compliance & donor regulations

    • Gender & diversity audits

    • Job share & secondment

    • Program & management

    • Equipment & software purchases & training quality assurance

  • Ensure sustainability. Continuously follow individual and organizational progress over time, to ensure that new skills, tools and resources are successfully adapted and become standard operating procedures.

CRS' Capacity Strengthening Model

To support strong partnership and effective capacity strengthening, we have developed a range of evidence-based methods and tools for use with organizations around the world. This includes a the Holistic Organizational Capacity Assessment Instrument (HOCAI), which helps our partners to assess and strengthen their own capacity, along with 10-part guide on strengthening institutions, available in five languages.

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