Capacity Development and Grants Management

Capacity Development

World Learning's mission is to enhance the capacity of individuals, institutions, and communities to create a more peaceful and just world. Capacity development and training is a core component throughout many of our programs.

From helping government ministries to improve their management practices, assisting NGOs to more effectively advocate for policy change, working with villages to support children affected by HIV/AIDS, to training teachers to apply innovative techniques in their classrooms, the World Learning approach to capacity building is comprehensive, systemic, and highly adaptive.

We use an innovative approach to improve performance management that includes:

  • systematically researching current capacity
  • collaboratively setting performance goals and objectives with key stakeholders
  • identifying organizational shortcomings at the three levels of performance (institutional, systems, and individual)
  • identifying environmental, cultural, and other challenges
  • implementing systemic, strategic, and measurable capacity strengthening solutions including technical assistance, training, resource enrichment, and more

We draw on USAID’s Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD) principles to address barriers to performance. Many of our staff are certified in Performance Improvement methodology, a designation granted by the International Society for Performance Improvement. We also employ capacity development tools, such as our Participatory Institutional Analysis (PIA), to provide programs with the necessary flexibility and technical know-how to meet partner needs.

Our training programs are results-focused with measurable outcomes related to specific objectives. Training is designed to improve the knowledge and skills of individuals and may range from short-term workshops to multi-year academic programs. For some courses, World Learning offers academic accreditation through our SIT Graduate Institute. To ensure consistency and high quality, World Learning trainers complete a rigorous certification process.

Grants Management

Every grant is the result of World Learning's tried and tested approach to recruiting applicants, reviewing proposals, assessing institutional capacity, and ensuring the effective use of donor funds.

World Learning leads in the use of grantmaking as a development tool. A hallmark of our approach is combining funding for local activities with targeted technical assistance and training. Many of our grants also promote buy-in by matching contributions from partners in the community. 

We have worked with individual NGOs as well as networks and intermediary organizations in development sectors ranging from health and education to democracy and enterprise development.

We have managed grants programs with total funds as large as $79 million; individual grants have ranged from as little as $500 to as much as $3.5 million. Regardless of the level of funding provided, each grant was the result of World Learning's tried and tested approach to recruiting applicants, reviewing proposals, assessing institutional capacity, and ensuring the effective use of donor funds. 

We have extensive experience in managing and dispersing grants under USAID and other donor funded programs. Along with this experience, World Learning has developed tools and mechanisms to evaluate and select grantee organizations to assure their viability for participation in our projects and beyond.

At the crossroads of capacity development and grant making is the Participatory Institutional Analysis (PIA), which measures the sophistication and developmental stages of partner organizations in a number of areas and supports them as they plan to improve.

Our grants management approach includes hands-on training and mentoring for grantees, which—together with the performance analysis—assures grantees' sustainability throughout the project and beyond. This approach also ensures that donor goals are met under each award.