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About the toolkit

What is the purpose of the toolkit?

The purpose of this Effectiveness Toolkit is to provide a way for organisations to answer the question: How well are we doing?

Is the toolkit aimed at particular organisations?

Small to medium-sized voluntary organisations (NGOsdefinition) who are working in the field of international development.

How has the toolkit been developed?

This on-line version has been developed by NIDOS after consultation with members in Scotland, following a pilot phase in 2010. NIDOS links to the Bond Effectiveness Programme which serves a wider range of NGOs working in international development

Why use it?

The toolkit will enable organisations to compare how they work with best practice in the sector and action plan for strengthening their effectiveness. It provides:

  • an opportunity for your trustees, volunteers, staff & others to discuss how effective your organisation is at present
  • a focus on what your organisation could do to improve outcomes
  • a framework for Action Planning
  • greater clarity about your organisation’s strengths & weaknesses
  • the ability for your organisation to be better placed to apply for funding
  • a chance to carry out a methodical organisational review
  • an opportunity to celebrate really good practice

In the toolkit - what do we mean by Partners and Communities?

Most international development projects have at least a three-way core partnership:

1. The people or communities the project is working with and in support of;

2. The host country partner  - usually an NGO in country but may be another agency such as a government department or a religious institution or a business etc. There may be more than one local partner for each project and they may be of different kinds.

3. The international NGO (the 'northern' partner).

In this toolkit this three way relationship is the core set of relationships that we refer to throughout the benchmarks and indicators.

In the language of the toolkit we have deliberately not referred to the people the project is working with as 'beneficiaries' or 'poor people' but rather as communities we are working with or communities we seek to support.

Also, we have deliberately not included funders as partners - though of course they are important stakeholders in projects. We have done this because we understand that for projects or programmes to be genuinely effective they must be based on the expressed needs, priorities and rights of communities and particularly those of marginalised people in these communities. Project priorities must not be funding led if we are to contribute to genuinely sustainable development. To be effective, international NGOs but also their in-country partners need to have a clear focus on accountability to communities.