Let me briefly explain something about the way WSM does capacity strengthening with our partners. As you may know, WSM offers support to our partners on three levels:
1. Offering or improving services: WSM supports the partners in initiatives for groups of vulnerable workers, who are the beneficiaries of this program.  Activities: education and training, legal advice, training and skills, awareness and campaigning, study and research, policy research with legislative proposals.
2. Joint Political action: WSM supports the partner organisation to develop joint political actions to improve access to social protection and decent work.
3. Capacity strengthening: A steering committee, composed out of one representative per country, guides the WSM program. Sharing of good practices and internationalisation is stimulated through south-south and north-south exchanges. But next to that, WSM also uses an innovative voluntary tool, developed with HIVA, a multidisciplinary Research Institute for Work and Society which is associated with the University from Leuven, the KUL. During a pilot project in 2011, it was tried out in India and Cambodia and strongly appreciated by the partners. It starts with a workshop in which some concepts and levels of capacity strengthening are shared and discussed with the partner. Then, participants self-evaluate their organisation on five standard areas (and we added external communication):

1.  Political action
The ability to influence and achieve policy and social and/or political change
2.  Networking
The capacity to engage effectively and efficiently with other organisations, governments and networks, to mobilize outside resources
3.  Gender
Socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.
4.  Organisational capacities/Project management
The way the organisation functions internally, gets the work done and manages all processes
5.  Thematic Knowledge
The ability to support the target group and deliver a service to them (e.g. labour law, public health etc…)
6.   External Communication
Towards general public and media (via press, newsletters, social and multimedia) – not internal!

To rate their organisation, instead of using numbers, participants use the following categories with hand gestures. It is a lot easier for participants to understand and apply. 
At their request, this Sunday, we facilitated this approach with nine participants from each of the two Bangladesh partners, GK and NGWF. 
Once they’ve rated their organisation, they vote to select two priority areas. GK participants chose political action and external communication, NGWF political action and networking. The last step involves them taking these two areas and elaborate progress markers, which are on three levels:
  • Expect to see: Changes that are somehow expected to happen and are often achievable in the short term. They can be fundamental though to allow more profound changes to happen at a later stage.
  • Like to See: Some deeper changes that are already more difficult to achieve. Move from initial to more profound changes in behavior and activities
  • Love to See: the more fundamental and often longer term changes that the partner organisations aspire. Observable changes in behaviour, actions, activities  or relationships leading to the partner’s dream.
  • Dream: the long term ideal or utopia for your organisation. 
It is a very different approach from what many NGOs do, which is often deciding what they feel their partner is lacking in capacities, and then imposing workshops which they fund, and so partners at best play along, and at worst waste their time in workshops regarding priorities which aren’t event heir own…
In the video below you can hear Ira, a participant from NGWF explain why she appreciated the approach.