Professionalising the Local Capacity Builder Framework in Zimbabwe

Morgen Gomo and Albert Jaure / SNV

A local capacity builder is a national (sometimes regional) organisation that provides a significant volume and quality of non-financial capacity development support to meso-level organisations. Local capacity builders can be drawn from the public, civil society or private realm. Their services can include a variety of roles and techniques, such as training, advice, organisational development, change trajectories, coaching, multi-actor processes, institutional and policy development work, knowledge brokering and learning programmes.

The strategy of engaging LCBs presents a lot of opportunities. The more notable

  • LCBs are an efficient way of augmenting SNV’s own work – presenting additional skills set, additional hands for outreach, appropriate skills level per assignment and flexibility in hiring and releasing extra hands as the workload demands.
  • LCBs enable SNV to reach out more clients, partners and targets beyond our own very limited internal advisory capacity.
  • LCBs tend to be more affordable, allowing SNV to implement programs where we were previously considered too expensive.
  • In Zimbabwe, with the unemployment levels over 80% in the last decade, and one of the highest literate levels in Africa, the pool of LCBs is very big. Even professors make themselves available to capacity build farmers.

However, the LCB strategy, with almost equal intensity, presents a lot of challenges.

  • While the pool of LCBs in Zimbabwe is huge, most have general skills and present themselves for any assignment. There is not enough work for LCBs to specialize. Their value adding therefore tends to be low.
  • Most LCBs are trainers presenting mostly generic products that are of little value and relevance to the target beneficiaries. Yet the bulk of the assignments require advisors, who respond to real challenges.
  • Most LCBs are individuals who present risks of lack of continuity and flexibility. Some are in between jobs. Any capacity building will be of benefit to them and not to the long term benefit to the SNV programme.
  • LCBs should be SNV’s additional hands and therefore should measure to our quality standards and value systems. However, this is a challenge and a lot of time has to be invested in monitoring to ensure they deliver the acceptable quality
  • Donors in Zimbabwe have tended to pay very high rates for LCB work, which is not commensurate with the value added. This has distorted the market for LCBs.


Year of publication: 
SNV Case story collection
Case story length: 
5 pages

The above is a summary or extract from the original source material. For the complete case story, please see the address given above.