Civil Society Organization Sustainability in Kenya

Jun 14, 2017
  • Description

The design and development of this study emerged as the result of an action research partnership between Brad Tucker of Washington University in St. Louis and the Aga Khan Foundation East Africa's Yetu Initiative. Consultations between study collaborators led to the following observations: 1) The conceptualization and the study of organizational sustainability and effectiveness (OS/OE) – both in scholarship and in practice – are fragmented and, while emphasizing the critical importance of context, do not explain how context impacts sustainability. 2) Existing conceptualizations of OS/OE lack the perspectives of key stakeholders – namely the management and staff of the local NPOs themselves. 3) There is a considerable disconnect between the level of investment in organizational development (through international funding and capacity building) and the expected level of return (in the form of enhanced organizational performance/effectiveness) of that investment. 4) There seems to be an increasing belief in the potential of community philanthropy/local fundraising to enhance organizational sustainability/effectiveness of local nonprofits even in the often resource-constrained countries of the Global South. These four observations gave rise to several questions this study was designed to address. Kenya was chosen as the specific context in which to address these questions due to the ongoing work of the Yetu Initiative as well as the primary investigator's previous work experience and contacts there.