Capacity assessment for project follow-up

Identify capacity gaps related to follow-up after project completion

A capacity assessment analyses the stakeholders’ technical, managerial and financial capacities relevant for achieving the project’s objectives. It serves as a basis for designing capacity development activities to support sustainability of the project.

Definition: “Stakeholders” are people, groups, or institutions, which are likely to be affected by a proposed intervention (either negatively or positively), or those which can affect the outcome of the intervention (RIETBERGEN-McCRACKEN et al. 1998).

Purpose and link to IQC

The assessment helps to identify capacities of different project stakeholders that need to be strengthened. An understanding of the stakeholders’ capacities provides the basis to design sustainable projects that can be maintained effectively. It allows clarifying what type of outcomes a project can aim to generate with available capacities (EPA. 2012).

How to

1.   Identify requirements for the project’s follow-up

In the first step technical, managerial and financial requirements to take over O&M/follow-up after project completion need to be specified. The table below provides examples for selected types of projects to support this process of identifying capacity needs.


Project type Requirements for O&M / follow-up
Borehole –       engagement (e.g. time) and financial management capacities to establish transparent fee structure and accounting system-       dedicated person or committee to organise fuel supply and repair works-       …
Public sanitation facilities –       commitment and capacities to establish a system for cleaning of facilities and ensure water availability-       …

2.   Assess capacities & gaps

Once you gather information about the requirements for the project follow-up, you should identify and engage a suitable person/institution among the project stakeholders for each of the identified operation, maintenance or other follow-up tasks.

As a basis you should assess the capacities (and capacity gaps) of the potential persons/institutions for each task. Reflecting on the following guiding questions can guide this process:

  • Does the responsible person/institution have experience with similar projects and do they have expertise/skills that are relevant for the planned project?
  • Do they have relevant knowledge that can contribute to effective project planning and design?
  • Which of the required capacities are available? Which capacities need to be built?
  • How effective were previous capacity building efforts and what can be learned from this for the project at hand?

Example: A borehole

Responsible person/institution Capacities Capacity gaps
Local mechanic –       good mechanic skills

–       knowledgeable about reasons for breakages

–       knows where to find spare parts

–       no experience with water pumps

–       not registered as a contractor

3.   Identify actions

Based on the answers to the questions in the previous step you should be able to compare the level of desired capacity against the level of existing capacity using the table below.

Example: A borehole

Task/responsibility Identified person/institution Capacity Need Needed training and support activities
repair works local mechanic no experience with water pumps training on the water pump mechanics
organising electricity supply local mechanic no permit to interfere with local electricity supply agreement with authorities to provide the permissions

4.   Conclusions for project planning and implementation process

Discuss the conclusions with the responsible person/institution. Based on the capacity assessment it needs to be determined how the required capacities can be built or if a different design is needed for a successful project. The following questions may be helpful to draw conclusions:

  • To which extend to the identified capacity needs create risks for the success of the project?
  • How feasible are the proposed options for capacity development/acquisition?


Feedback from the responsible Action to be undertaken
I do not have enough time get to an agreement or look for another person
I need to learn how to do this organise the training from the 2th to the 6th of March


References & Further Readings

  • 2015. Financing Community-Based Water Supply Projects through Micro-Finance.
  • 2008. Capacity Assessment for Project Implementation.
  • 2009. Overview of UNDP’s Capacity Assessment Methodology.
Last updated 12 April 2018

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