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Using app technology to assess organizational capacity in El Salvador

The USAID/Strengthening Local Organizations Project (SLO), administered by IBI in El Salvador, aims to assess and improve the performance of civil society organizations (CSOs) in this country.

As part of its methodology, SLO chose to use an app to make workshops and discussions more dynamic. The “Poll Everywhere” app creates and displays polls in an engaging, user-friendly way. It also allows participants to anonymously submit answers to questions through a mobile device. A workshop presenter, for example, can then review answers in real time, enabling deeper dialogue or more-effective consensus building.

SLO has already put the app to good use in workshops, asking CSOs employees to rate their respective organizations’ capacity in several areas: governance and legal structure; financial management and internal control systems; administration and procurement systems; human resources; program management; project performance management; and organizational management and stability. (Two USAID tools—the Organizational Capacity Assessment (OCA) and Non-U.S. Organization Pre-award Survey (NUPAS)—have defined these areas as relevant to capacity assessment). The app’s confidentiality opened the door to honest feedback, which SLO documented to serve as a baseline for measuring future improvements in each partner organization’s performance.

In this way, SLO is bringing technology closer to El Salvador’s people and providing alternatives to the traditional ways of conducting organizational assessments and diagnoses.

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