An Organisational Profile


POSDEV and Capacity Development

According to the UNDP definition of capacity, it is “the ability of individuals, institutions and societies to perform functions, solve problems and set, as well as achieve objectives in a sustainable manner”. Therefore the term capacity development entails “the process through which the abilities to do so are obtained, strengthened, adapted and maintained over time”. As proud participants of the 2007 Scaling up Capacity Development Frameworks and Strategies in Africa workshop in Accra, Ghana, this organization was pleased to see that we shared similar goals with the UNDP Capacity Development Framework.

Since its inception in 1997, The Pan African Organization for Sustainable Development (POSDEV) has maintained its over-arching vision of building an alliance of NGOs committed to the empowerment of local grassroots movements for self-reliant, sustainable development. With this vision comes a thorough understanding of the essential role that capacity development plays into achieving our desired goals. This profile of POSDEV reflects how vital our understanding of capacity development is to planning, developing and accomplishing our various objectives.


Organisation’s Purpose:

POSDEV’s main goals are to:

The institutionalization of the Pan-African Organisation for Sustainable Development (POSDEV) is an on-going process which was initiated in 1997 by an assembly of representatives of eleven African NGOs, namely the African Centre for Human Development (ACHD) – Ghana, Association Conseil pour le Developpement (ACOD-NETAASO) – Mali, Solidarite pour l’Autopromotion a la Base (SABA) – Mali, Groupe de Formation, Consultation et Etude (G.FORCE) – Mali, Actions pour la Promotion des Organisation Rurales (APOR) – Niger, Kokari-Service d’Intermediation en Credit Rural (KOKARI/SICR) – Niger, Apoio ao Desenvovimento de Iniciativa Locais (ZATONA-ADIL) &ndash Sao Tome & Principe, Mangaung Education and Development Trust (MEDET) – South Africa, Organisation for Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP) – Zimbabwe, Actions pour la Promotion des Initiatives Communautaires (APIC) – Benin and MWANGAZA-ACTION – Burkina Faso. These Organaisations constitute the founding members of POSDEV.

Membership of POSDEV increased to 13 with the admission of the Institut Africain de Gestion et de Formation (INAGEF) – Mali in 1999, and the Associacao Crista de Jovens de Angola (ACJ) – Angola in 2000.

These are all indigenous organizations that have come together to share ideas, experiences and expertise, and to pool resources to promote development at the grassroots level in their various countries, and to collaborate for the effective development of the African continent.

Proven technical capacities existing within POSDEV cover:

Organizational Structure:

The highest body of the organization is the General Assembly, comprising all member organizations and has the ultimate authority on matters of policy and the setting of organizational objectives.

POSDEV also has an Executive Committee made up currently of an interim President, Mr Pappie John Mokoena (South Africa); the Vice President, Mr Alidou Takpara (Benin); and the Treasurer Mr. Roger Thombiano (Burkina Faso).

The Executive Committee plays an advisory and steering role, and is responsible for program development, organizational orientation as well as policy and by-laws.

The Executive Office or the Permanent Secretariat manages the day-to-day activities, program management and implementation, policy implementation, reporting and financial management of POSDEV. This is based in Accra, Ghana (E037 Anevon Court, Parakuo Estates, D.T.D. Comm. 15, Lashibi-Accra) and headed by a Programs Manager – Mr Petrus Adams (Ghana), with support from programme officers.

Institutional Strengths:

Capacity to manage as well as coordinate short term programmes involving technical assistance and training of producer groups, local government units and civil society groups in organizational development, economic empowerment and advocacy.

We maintain a strong experience in Education for All activities, policy analysis and advocacy training at grassroots level.

We also have the ability to convene stakeholders in development in Ghana and in Africa.

4. Other Areas of Expertise:

  1. Organizational development/capacity building
  2. Skills and experience necessary to design, organize and implement activities at the grassroots level and create linkages with national level institutions and organizations;
  3. Capacity to draw upon and mobilize expertise from different organizations on the continent, which are members of the POSDEV consortium;
  4. Experience in sharing information effectively through all means available: newspapers, newsletters, public information facilities, radio&ellip; etc
  5. Ability to inform and influence public opinion through an extensive and active network of contacts in print and electronic media

5. Activities/Programmes:

Experience has shown POSDEV that, building networks are vital to the impact, sustainability and continuity of NGOs and their programs. Networks and coalitions facilitate the sharing of lessons learnt and outreach to partners at all organizational and geographic levels. Also, NGO networks accord to their membership a partnership leverage which would otherwise have been unattainable to single NGO entities. However, civil society partnerships in the Africa, (which includes the countries of member organizations) face enormous challenges in terms of building strong institutions that can become self-sustaining.

Activities/Programmes of POSDEV include (but are not limited to):

POSDEV serves as an administrator for the Ghanaman Community Reinvestment Grant Trust Fund (Ghanaman CRG Trust Fund) (01.12.2010 to date)

The Ghanaman CRG Fund was established by the United States African Development Foundation (US ADF) in 2009 to reinvest pledged repayments of US ADF grants in community development projects around the country. The US ADF provided grants and loans to community organizations and privately held SMEs that have links to community or farmer-based organizations. A key component for the expansion funding was a pledge of repayments by the grantees into a trust fund. The Ghanaman CRG Fund seeks to award grants of up to GHS 20,000.00 each to qualifying projects.

The overall strategic objective of the Ghanaman CRG Trust is to promote sustainable community poverty reduction and economic growth. The purpose is to support local social and economic development activities owned by the community or a recognised community and which benefits the whole community. The focus areas of the Trust are Health, Education and Income generating activities.

POSDEV through its function as an administrator shall, amongst others, perform its functions on behalf of the Trustees of the Ghanaman CRG Trust Fund.

Some functions of the Administrator:


This project which was supported by European Union was carried out with GAIT II/ National Network of local Civic Unions (NETCU) for which funds are being sought to follow up on its impacts and sustainability.

The project sought to sustain social accountability processes and initiatives through network of local citizen groups by building on the capacity of local civil society organizations to engage effectively with District/Municipal Assemblies as well as initiate and support citizen participation techniques that contribute to deepening social accountability at the local level in ten (10) districts.

The project also sought to strengthen civil society capacity to advocate and contribute to development at the local level, sustain social accountability processes and mechanisms, participatory practices in local governance and responsiveness of DA/MA to citizens’ demands.

The GAIT Program had focused on developing a culture of participation in democratic governance through active and dynamic partnerships between civil society and local government actors. The purpose was to strengthen the management and organizational capabilities of local civil society organizations to enable them to be effective partners in local governance, encourage local government to be responsive and accountable to its citizens and, bring local government, including service providers and CSOs together to communicate, share information and address issues of common interest.

Evaluation of African Development Foundation (ADF) Lessons Learned from ADF’s Approach to African Led Development Project (01.09.2008 – 31.03.2010)

This exercise is basically to evaluate field programs in 15 countries in Africa under the Lessons learned from ADF’s approach to African led development. Most of the projects evaluated were agro based.


  1. Strengthen the ability of African organizations to evaluate development projects and country programs
  2. Identify best practices and lessons learned from ADF-funded projects and country programs to improve the future performance of the Foundation and ADF’s clients and Partner Organizations
  3. Develop a knowledge base that ADF can use to help encourage African governments and other donors to increase utilization of African-led approaches to participatory.

The Ghana NGO/CSO Standards Project

Specifically, POSDEV is assisting with the development of an NGO policy and standards for the NGO/CSO practice in the country. The Standards Project emerged as a result of a dialogue among 3 stakeholders in Ghana’s development: local   indigenous NGOs, international NGOs and donors working together as a team to address issues of mutual concern in the development relationship ranging from equitable partnership, mutual accountability, credibility of local NGOs/CSOs, and commitment to local capacity development etc.

Two key issues were identified as been critical for effective development practice in Ghana: a policy and regulatory framework for NGOs and CSOs and the image of NGOs. Consequently the team is working with other stakeholders for the development of an appropriate bill. Secondly it is working towards the self-regulation of NGOs/CSOs as a critical path to safeguard civil society from over regulation by the state and making the sector an incontrovertible partner to government.

The country team, the main sponsors of the projects, comprising CARE International, Action Aid International, Opportunities Industrialisation Centre International (OICI), Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), USAID, DFID, GAPVOD and the Pan African Organisation for Sustainable Development (POSDEV) the continue to promote the project.

The Objectives of the Project were as follows:

The pilot phase on testing of the standards assessment tools on volunteering organisations is ongoing and has so far being successful with six organisations going through the process.

Advocacy Skills Training:

In December 2001, POSDEV responded to reports of increased number of developing countries) falling below the poverty line by conducting a three-day workshop amongst its member organizations to establish a core team of competent staff to undertake policy advocacy for poverty reduction. As many development practitioners began to take a critical look at the role of policy as one of the causes of poverty, POSDEV aimed to build the capacity of 26 staff members to achieve the following objectives:

The end results:

Program on HIPC and Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy:

POSDEV provided technical assistance to the National Advocacy Committee on Good Governance, (NACoGG) – a coalition of Civil Society Organizations including trade unions – under the Government Accountability Improves Trust (GAIT) Program, which is funded by the USAID. This programme supports Government’s development agenda to reduce poverty and create wealth in all communities in Ghana. In November 2002, POSDEV and NACoGG, launched this program to monitor the application of the HIPC funds at the local level in order to ensure that all citizens, especially rural dwellers, benefit from the initiative under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy. In order to obtain an overview of the current status of poverty in terms of infrastructure, POSDEV:

  1. Collected information on available social wealth of each selected district
  2. Gave feedback (in the form of written reports) to selected institutions including government on the impact of the HIPC relief
  3. Provided training in advocacy skills to community groups.

Under this programme, POSDEV also:

Ghana Gender Audit Training:

The Gender Audit is an assessment tool for organizations to use in order to identify perceptions of staff members on gender issues and how they are addressed within the organizational framework. The Commission on the Advancement of Women along with InterAction conducted a four-day Gender Audit Course in Ghana for five InterAction members and two Ghanaian NGOs. POSDEV was in attendance along with the following Organizations: Red Cross – Tanzania, OIC International, Pact, Project Concern International, World Vision, and The Gender Development Institute of Ghana.

Training Outcomes:

  1. Participants received training on how to plan and coordinate the Gender Audit in their respective organizations
  2. Learned how to develop and implement organization-specific gender action plans

Building Sustainable Civil Society Capacity In Policy Analysis And Advocacy For Local Development

POSDEV in collaboration with three of its member organizations and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Rome, Italy) provided technical assistance to civil society groups including farmers groups to critically analyze policy issues on agriculture, infrastructure, marketing, decentralization, fiscal decentralization, privatization, agricultural mechanization and globalization, over a period of two years. The participating member organizations are the African Center for Human Development (ACHD) – Ghana, Institut Africain de Gestion et de formation (INAGEF) – Mali and KOKARI – Niger.

Project Highlights:

Building Local Civil Society Capacity For Access To Quality Education Through Citizen’s Monitoring And Tracking Of Education Budgets


The overall purpose of this initiative was to promote the participation and inclusion of local communities and civil society organizations in ensuring improved access to quality education for all.

POSDEV sought to strengthen the capability of District Education for All teams, and Civic Union representatives, and the community at large to productively engage partners in local government and local education authorities to improve the quality of education at the local level.

Project Highlights:

The African Liaison Program Initiative (ALPI)

The objective of the ALPI is to strengthen relationships among USAID, US PVOs and African NGOs, thereby improving the effectiveness of development practice. POSDEV is managing the process in Ghana and houses the Secretariat. In collaboration with CARE, CRS, OICI, GAPVOD and USAID, POSDEV has developed an activity plan which will lead to a better policy environment for NGOs working in Ghana.

Guinea NGOs Capacity Development Building

The training in NGO development and English Proficiency for francophone development practitioners (CLUSA National Guinea) from the Republic of Guinea took place in August 2005 and was facilitated by POSDEV. The process entailed separating participants into two groups: 1) Beginners (those just learning English) and 2) Advanced (those with some knowledge and could express themselves in English). The six-week training included the following: English courses, computer skill workshops, developing advocacy skills for NGOs, proposal writing, organizational development, strategic planning, organizational development stages, organizational self-appraisal techniques as well as field visits to Anglophone development settings.

Outcome of training:

Evaluation of Oxfam GB’s Integrated Livelihoods Projects

Oxfam GB has been working in West Africa for several years and particularly in the Northern zone where the focus was recently put on a Market Access and a livelihood projects implemented with local partners. These interventions are part of a three year integrated Livelihood programme involving Ghana and Burkina Faso. The aims of these two projects are to increase the food and income security of male and female peasant farmers/producers in Ghana and Burkina Faso and foster trade between these countries. This would contribute to promoting sustainable livelihoods of smallholder food and cash crop producers through increased agricultural production, investment, value addition and market access.

Another key objective of the programme was to build strong farmers organisations empowered to influence agricultural and trade policies in favour of the poor women and men. Particular attention was paid to land tenure reforms and power in local markets.

Integration of both programmes (Market Access programme and the livelihood programme) was critical to realise the full benefit and impact of these initiatives on the lives of poor women and men in the sub-region, and particularly in Ghana. It is expected that these initiatives could make the most impact if the components are linked to create synergy.

As part of the process of assessing the overall impact of its integrated livelihood programme, Oxfam GB Ghana intends to conduct an End of phase evaluation of these two initiatives in October 2007. The results and learning will feed into the overall country programme strategy development concerning livelihoods.

Objectives of the evaluation


POSDEV will continue to undertake activities that promote better livelihoods for the poor whilst at the same time, promoting the sharing of best practices in development policy.


POSDEV continues to consolidate its place as one of the viable African regional network organizations. This is evident in the continued increase of requests to join the organization.

POSDEV is increasingly being recognized as a credible regional network organization which is able to provide support for the organizational development of indigenous membership NGOs in Africa. The Impact Alliance, a global action network of organizations committed to supporting the capacity of individuals and organizations has regarded POSDEV as an Alliance Partner. >We are proud to be a member of an alliance that boasts 14 organizations, with more than 3500 professionals implementing programmes annually in approximately 50 countries.

POSDEV has observer status with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

POSDEV also endeavours to provide a range of essential services to its member organizations like promoting new partnerships.