Organisational capacity-building and the `quick and dirty' consultant

The Community Development Resource Association (CDRA) is a non-profit NGO, established in 1987 to build the capacity of organizations engaged in development and social transformation in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. It aims to do this by providing organizational development (OD) consultancy services, offering OD training and programmes, and through the programme, Action Learning: Education for Development. Since inception, the NGO has worked with 164 client organizations in South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, and Tanzania. Although consultancy services and appropriate development interventions are helpful in building organizational capacity, the NGO perceives fieldwork as the most important aspect of development. The paper discusses the need for field work, within the needs of South Africa, and the importance of promoting good field work including some of the reasons why good field work is not attained. It also considers the qualities found in good field workers, using consultants appropriately, and the necessity to prioritize field work. Abstract supplied by kind permission of CABI.