Accompaniment: Our approach to local capacity strengthening

Technical Approaches

Accompaniment: Our approach to local capacity strengthening

Partnership is at the core of Corus International, a family of global leaders in international development and humanitarian assistance. For Corus organizations, strengthening local capacity means leveraging and elevating the existing capacity of local partners (community groups, civil society organizations, businesses, governments, networks) to drive innovative, transformational change.

Traditional capacity frameworks have long favored Global North models, too often overlooking critical ideas, skills and resources from the Global South. At Corus, we intentionally use the term "accompaniment" to describe our approach to capacity strengthening. This reflects our commitment to locally led development and recognizes the right and ability of local voices to drive meaningful change.

For us, accompaniment is an intentional, collaborative and respectful process where Corus organizations and our partners support mutual effectiveness, learning and resilience.

At the core of our accompaniment model lies the A-CORD framework: To Assess - Commit, Organize, Relate and Deliver. This framework facilitates a participatory process for organizations to self-analyze their strengths and challenges, supports their comprehensive action planning, and promotes continual collaboration, adaptation and learning.

Partner Spotlight: ACHAP’s Experience with the A-Cord Framework

Corus organization IMA World Health has supported and accompanied our local partner the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP) since its founding in 2007. ACHAP is a regional faith-based organization for advocacy, networking and capacity building for Christian Health Associations (CHAs) and Church Health Networks across sub-Saharan Africa, currently encompassing 43 health associations providing critical health services in 14 countries. Over IMA World Health’s years of partnership with ACHAP, its profile, capacity and influence have grown substantially.

In a large-scale collaboration launched in 2022, IMA World Health and ACHAP partnered on an initiative to advance COVID-19 vaccine demand and delivery through the Osprey Foundation-funded project, “Promoting COVID-19 Vaccine Equity through Faith-Based Networks in Africa (CoV-FaB).”  The project aims to reduce the loss of life and spread of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa through the capacity strengthening of CHAs. To achieve this, ACHAP is committed to effectively engaging with international stakeholders to ensure that CHAs are recognized and supported as essential partners for global health security.

As part of these efforts, ACHAP adopted Corus’ A-CORD framework to carry out a self-assessment of their organizational capacity. Upon completing the analysis, ACHAP created a detailed action plan to address identified gaps and instituted regular reviews to monitor its implementation. With ongoing support from Corus, ACHAP has begun proactively addressing areas for improvement, including fostering collaborations with the private sector, establishing feedback mechanisms, and enhancing their media presence. The insights gained from the A-CORD assessment significantly influenced ACHAP's strategic planning, particularly in supporting their network of member CHAs. ACHAP intends to leverage their learnings from the framework and to systematically disseminate it to their members, thereby strengthening local capacity through a peer-to-peer model that collectively identifies and addresses the strengths and weaknesses of individual CHAs. Simultaneously, Corus intends to continue learning from ACHAP's experience with A-CORD and will optimize the framework based on partner feedback as it is utilized throughout the region.

Download Now Feb 05, 2024