Developing critical thinking in NGO field staff

The quality of NGO work is hugely dependent on the quality of critical thinking and analysis of poverty among all levels of staff. In particular, the quality of the work in the field - at partner and community levels - depends on an understanding of development processes and on strong facilitation skills, both of which rely on strong levels of critical thinking. While these are innately present in almost everyone, rote learning in education systems and patriarchal and top-down power structures often impede their development. This article suggests some practical means by which development agencies can develop strong analytical thinking and strong facilitation skills among their staff. While the article is mainly aimed at frontline staff, the implication is that such mechanisms are required at all levels if organisations are going to develop their own capacities.