This guide is part of a package of capacity development activities developed by the Raising Pacific Voices programme (RPV), a three-year civil society strengthening programme. Funded by the European Union, Oxfam in the Pacific worked in partnership with the Pacific Disability Forum (as the focal point for the Pacific Regional NGO Alliance) to develop the RPV in order to strengthen the capacity of civil society groups across the Pacific region

The RPV programme is a Pacific-designed and Pacific-led initiative. It works on the premise that, in order for civil society groups to credibly challenge power inequalities and poverty, their own ways of working and governance must be accountable and transparent, enabling strong CSO representation at all levels. The programme has a strong focus on:

  • self-determination as an ongoing process in the Pacific. Raising Pacific Voices supports that vision through the institutional strengthening of civil society partners and the wider Pacific civil society community;
  • taking local ownership of development issues. This starts by recognising and understanding the institutional capacity gaps that exist in national and regional civil society groups;
  • providing a safe space for regional civil societies to highlight concerns and share lessons learned, as well as encouraging and engaging civil society in courageous conversations about national and regional governance issues.

An analogy of building a fale – the Samoan word for all types of houses, small or large – is used to illustrate the importance and interlinkage of organisational elements. Governance is the foundational element that underpins all other elements. Management, human resources, and finances are three ‘load-bearing posts’ that build the structure of an organisation and allow it to collaborate and influence and, ultimately, to deliver the organisational mandate – illustrated by the thatched roof of the fale.

In the spirit of ‘Raising Pacific Voices’, this publication is considered a second-stage pilot. The development of the tool has been tested by three partner organisations and has been revised considerably. This version will be distributed widely for CSOs to further test and provide feedback. Oxfam Pacific welcomes your review of the technical content, the usability, and the accuracy of the rankings.