Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool for Senegalese Youth Advocacy Organizations

First Advisor

Jennifer Collins-Foley


Organizational capacity assessment (OCA) is a widely used tool for assessing the strengths and gaps of civil society organizations and for identifying their capacity development needs. However, the available OCA tools that are mostly used by NGOs and civil society organizations do not appear well adapted to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the emerging African youth organizations engaged in advocacy. The majority of these OCA tools are designed mainly for funding purposes or are specific to certain fields of intervention. Most of them are time and resource consuming and are based on complex processes.

The final objective of this work is to design and test on a specific case a new simplified OCA tool that—although inspired by the existing ones—would be more effective at assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the new type of Senegalese youth advocacy organizations, which focus their advocacy activities to challenge the status quo and make their voice heard. After producing an assessment of the strengths and gaps of this new type of organizations, the evaluation resulting from the proposed tool provides a good basis for the design of a strategy and a detailed work plan to strengthen the capacity of this type of youth organizations.

The research methods used for the project included the analysis of articles published in journals, books, newspapers about Youth organizations engaged in advocacy in Africa in general and in Senegal in particular. The method of gathering data was largely based on content analysis.

In its first part, the paper investigates the motives that drive African youth in general and Senegalese youth in particular to raise their voice and ask for changes. Through the literature review I examine and explain the dynamics which developed within this type of organizations and how that dynamics plays out in strengthening or weakening the effectiveness of the actions of these organizations, with respect to the achievement of their objectives.

The second part is dedicated to the specific case study of Y’en a marre, the Senegalese youth organization born in 2011, which has been at the forefront of the fight for democracy improvement and transparency in Senegal and that has inspired the creation of several other sub-Saharan African youth organizations now engaged in advocacy in their own countries. The case study of Y’en a marre is the basis for a thorough understanding of the organizational structure of this kind of spontaneous organizations and an examination of their strengths and weaknesses. In this part of the paper, I also describe the more standard capacity assessment tools currently in use and point to their limitations when applied to the capacity assessment of emerging African youth organizations engaged in advocacy.

The final part of this paper presents the tool that I propose and its application to the case of Y’en a marre, including an overview of its user guide.

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