Toolbox capacity builiding

Participatory Capacity Building

Participatory Capacity Building is a practical toolbox for internal or external facilitators of capacity building of NGOs. The tools can be used to

Assess an organisation's capacity.

Plan for strategic and innovative directions for organisational improvement.

As with all facilitation methods the methodology presented in this toolbox should be used with care, as it must be adapted to every situation to use in. As much as we have tried to be specific and detailed on the facilitation steps, this Toolbox should not be taken as a blueprint for facilitation. Facilitating Participatory Capacity Building needs a lot of creativity, courage and involvement both from the facilitator and the participating organisation(s). We hope it provides a meaningful vehicle for sustainable improvement of NGO capacity.

Skilled Facilitators

We want to encourage all practitioners to build their facilitation skills.

Especially courses in Group Facilitation Methods and Participatory Strategic Planning, offered by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) all over the world, will provide helpful skills and knowledge to facilitate Participatory Capacity Building processes. See Section 1.4 for more information.


Participatory Capacity Building uses the Participatory Organisational Assessment Tool (POET), developed by UNDP and is based on Technology of Participation® (ToP®) Methods developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA), as they apply to capacity building situations. We owe special gratitude to the developers of POET and ToP®. We also want to thank co-financing organisations ICCO-PSa and PSO for their support to the NANGO Capacity Building Program, which laid the foundation for this toolbox.

About the toolbox

The complete toolbox is offered to you by PSO, NANGO and ICCO-PSa. The Participatory Capacity Building toolbox was developed in 2003 for the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Zimbabwe by Jouwert van Geene in collaboration with the National Association of NGOs (NANGO) in Zimbabwe with the support of ICCO-PSa and PSO, the Netherlands.

Published by PSO, the Netherlands.

© 2003, Jouwert van Geene, unless stated otherwise.

All rights reserved

ISBN 90 809071 1 7 (book)

ISBN 90 809071 2 5 (cd-rom)

Design, Page layouts and Webdesign: Jouwert van Geene.

Within Zimbabwe the Toolbox is available for NGOs through the National Association of NGOs (NANGO). Contact for more details.

Outside Zimbabwe copies of the Toolbox can be ordered at PSO. Send your request to: or visit for more information.

About the Author

Jouwert van Geene (1970) has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. During his studies he took several subsidiary courses at the Centre for International Development Issues in Nijmegen. Jouwert worked for several Dutch and international organisations in the field of international development both as a free-lance consultant and on long term contracts. He is specialised in group facilitation methods, participatory project cycle management and organisational development. Jouwert has developed and conducted several training programs on these topics for a wide variety of participants including public and NGO-sectors. Work has brought him to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South-Africa, USA and Armenia.Jouwert is currently working in Malawi as the Capacity Building Advisor for NGOs in the Food Security Platform, which is facilitated by ICCO. He is a partner of Facilicom Consult, a Dutch consultancy and training firm, and an individual associate member of ICA-International (Brussels). Jouwert is a qualified trainer in Technology of Participation®.


  • Complete Toolbox English (pdf)
  • In French (pdf)

In parts:

  • Chapter 1. Introduction ( pdf)
  • Chapter 2. Participatory Capacity Assessment ( pdf)
  • Chapter 3. Analysing and Reporting PCA Scores ( pdf)Chapter 4. Feedback and Capacity Planning Workshop ( pdf)
  • Chapter 5. Implementation Planning Workshop ( pdf)
  • Chapter 6. NGO Capacity Building Co-ordination Workshop ( pdf)
  • Chapter 7. Monitoring and Evaluation of Capacity Building ( pdf)
  • Appendices ( pdf)


The Participatory Capacity Building toolbox was published in 2003 by PSO based on experiences in Zimbabwe. With the assistance of ICCO and PSO a first French translation also became available. After the publication the PCB method has been applied in a variety of developing countries and sectors. These include experiences from Benin, Eritrea, Papua, Kosovo and Kenya both in long-term and short-term capacity building programs. At the same time many development practitioners have been exposed to the method during conferences and seminars as well as in training events organised by Facilicom Consult and ICA-Zimbabwe.

All these experience have created a great deal of constructive feedback about the PCB methodology and the Toolbox. From these practises we learned that PCB is very useful but must be conducted in a flexible manner and may very well be combined with other concepts and methodologies. It also led to the understanding that there is need for an appropriate introduction of the methodology and its conceptual framework before one can embark on the capacity building journey.