An Examination of a Training and Development Program for Empowering Civil Society and Community Based Organizations toward Community Sustainability in the Gambia

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Annie Viets


Empowering Civil Society Organizations for Capacity Building and Network Linkages (EXCEL) is a capacity building project being implemented by The Association of Nongovernmental Organizations in the Gambia (TANGO) with support from Concern Universal (CU). The purpose of this project is to enhance the capacities and networks of TANGO members so they may better serve their mission of poverty alleviation through advocacy and policy dialogue.

In this study of Gambian Civil Society (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) relative to EXCEL’s empowerment of CSOs for greater participation in policy dialogue and networking, I have uncovered a lack of a training and development component within the EXCEL capacity building framework. This is what prevents local NGOs from developing the skills and competencies necessary to transform their traditional roles of poverty reduction through service delivery to policy dialogue, rights advocacy, and civic education.

Among Gambian CSOs/NGOs in this study there is significant satisfaction for the EXCEL program. However, this satisfaction did not extend to the training and development required to enhance skills and knowledge for organizations and staff to actively participate in the policy, advocacy and civic enlightenment dialogue.

The study was conducted in the Gambia where eight NGOs/CSOs participated in a study to determine whether the EXCEL capacity building program was successful in delivering all its stated objectives. The study addresses some major obstacles which are very common in capacity building partnerships between Northern and Southern Development organizations. The paper provides some recommendations which includes a framework for an alternative to the EXCEL Capacity Building Initiative with an emphasis on training and development for skills, competencies and knowledge base.


Organizational Behavior and Theory

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