Introduction to Capacity Assessment

Authors: O. Neagu, K. Michelsen from Maastricht University, M. Ohr from Health ClusterNet, in collaboration with the HE2020 project partners

Fundamentals and Tools

In previous phases, a needs assessment (phase 1) was carried out. Phase 2 (Figure 19) focuses on capacities necessary to understand the current situation, design and implement actions to address needs and gaps. This is essential in the process of identifying priorities and entry points for action, the specific changes and developments that are necessary, useful and promising (phase 3). At the same time the development and implementation of evidence-based action plans needs capacity building and development by itself (for needs assessments, capacity assessments and audits, policy formulation and impact assessments, evaluation).


Figure 19

In reality, the sequence of the phases is not as structured as the model might suggest. A capacity assessment can be used in line with the model – to assess the capacities to respond to any health needs identified. However, it can also include an assessment of capacities for the development of evidence-based action plans such as: capacities for needs assessments, capacity assessments, policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.

The first part of the tool aims to address capacity building and development at the level of capabilities to coordinate, plan and implement programs and projects to address health inequities, specifying which kinds of changes and developments are necessary, useful and promising. It presents two working frameworks for analysis: the Capacity Building Framework from NSW (2001) and the UNDP (2008) Capacity Development Framework. The second part describes and delivers recommendations on how to prepare and conduct capacity assessment and audits.

Next: Capacities, Capacity Building and Capacity Development