Commitment 5.3:
We invest in the effectiveness of our collaborations and partnerships.

Compliance Indicators

Compliance with the Commitments will be assessed against the following Compliance Indicators. All of the applicable Compliance Indicators must be met by every ACFID Member to be considered compliant with the Code. Each of the Compliance Indicators has one or more compliance Verifiers. Verifiers are the description of evidence that is required to substantiate compliance with each Compliance Indicator. Guidance is also provided.

5.3.1 Members support mutually identified capacity- strengthening strategies with their partners.

Development and humanitarian initiatives consistently show evidence of mutual learning and supporting and building capacity of partners.


There will be many variations on how Members show evidence of supporting capacity and organisational development of their partners.  

Members may assess and document partner capacity (including financial and operational performance, policy compliance, safeguarding and risk management) and based on this information provide targeted capacity development and organisational strengthening assistance aligned with good practices to support a partner organisation’s own mandate, objectives, and priorities. Examples might include providing training, mentoring, engagement in communities of practice, support to develop policies or systems, support for new innovations, or financial support. Members are encouraged to utilise locally-sourced trainings or organisations to provide these services. 

It is important to keep in mind that open feedback and dialogue between partners is core to managing and sustaining an effective partnership. Members should facilitate the ongoing relationship building by regular email, Zoom and phone contact, as well as through visits to individual partners and periodically bringing partners together. Members are encouraged to explore methods of communication and feedback that is mindful of, and attempts to mitigate power imbalances in the partnership. 

Download and read ACFID’s Collaboration guidance note from the Resources Section below for some guidance on the different forms that collaboration may take.  

5.3.2 Members assess their collaborations and partnerships.

Documented evidence of the periodic and joint review of key collaborations and partnerships.


Partnerships need to constantly review their purpose, goals, and effectiveness. There are many variations on how members might work with their partners to undertake these reviews. For example, they might be facilitated by an external consultant or partnership broker, assessed through a survey, undertaken in an annual roundtable, or simply undertaken informally through discussion.  

Partners may be able to contribute their views and assessments separately or remotely. This process can be enhanced through using a documented tool or template for all parties to reflect, learn and re-calibrate.  

Members can download and read ACFID’s guide to developing and managing partnerships in the Resources Section below for some practical tools and guidance to use in identifying and working with partners, and the different lifecycle stages of a partnership. 

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. While Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code, they will self-assess against these indicators once every three years. This provides a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • Capacity strengthening plans are developed in collaboration with partners.
  • The effectiveness of capacity strengthening initiatives are periodically reviewed.
  • A formal process is used to enable partner feedback on the members performance and the partnership itself.

Good Practice Guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to further deepen and improve practice over time.

Capacity Strengthening

  • Build and maintain robust relationships throughout the development process with partner organisations, local people and other stakeholders, and invest the required time to do so.
  • Ensure relationships and partnerships reflect the principles of equality, mutual respect and transparency.
  • Invest time to learn about your partner’s philosophies, objectives and approaches and share yours with them to build mutual understanding and respect.
  • Ensure a clear shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of your organisation and your partner.
  • Establish agreement on the essential elements of an effective partnership and how this can be jointly monitored with performance indicators and targets.
  • Develop plans and budgets with corresponding reporting processes to enable transparency and accountability.
  • Jointly define desired successful outcomes and indicators of progress and how they will be assessed and measured. This could involve clearly defined indicators and targets or could be done in a more open-ended manner.
  • Hold events or create opportunities with communities, partners and other stakeholders to share results and progress.

Assessing Effectiveness

  • Jointly with partners, define what partnership effectiveness will look like and develop processes to assess this periodically. Allow partners to lead this process.
  • Ensure such an assessment process is undertaken periodically and this is well communicated with partners so they know they will have regular opportunities to provide feedback.
  • Invest time and resources into periodic meetings or workshops with partners, and other external stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of partnerships.
  • Invite partners to reflect on the effectiveness of your organisation and share the findings of this with staff and other stakeholders.

ACFID Resources

Our role as international development researchers in decolonising research practices

This resource discusses the role of researchers in international development and the importance of decolonising evaluation and research practices. It advocates for practitioners and researchers to engage in reflexivity, acknowledging their own positionality and biases, and to prioritise collaboration and knowledge exchange with local communities and organisations. It is suitable for organisations that want to centre Indigenous knowledge and perspective in assessing the effectiveness of ...

Partnerships for Effective Development

This report provides ACFID members, and the wider international development sector, with a deeper understanding of the changing landscape of partnerships, and a useful typology for understanding the emerging partnership models being used by ANGOs.

Other Resources

Capacity-strengthening and localisation: perspectives from CAFOD and its local partners

This resource is a case study of the perspectives from local partners on capacity strengthening and localisation in humanitarian and development work. This is suitable for organisations that want to examine various capacity-strengthening approaches, including training, mentoring, and resource mobilisation. It is also suitable for organisations that want to develop capacity-building activities that prioritise local leadership and empowerment. This is relevant to the Code because it supports ...

Delivery Audit template

This resource offers a template for conducting a delivery audit - a systematic review process aimed at assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of project delivery. This is suitable for emerging and small organisations looking for a comprehensive template that includes appraising the entire project cycle from planning, implementation, monitoring, to evaluation. It is relevant to the Code because it provides a structured framework for documenting findings, identifying strengths and ...

Effective capacity building in the Pacific

This resource delves into effective capacity-building strategies in the Pacific region and examines the unique challenges faced by Pacific Island countries and territories. It also identifies key factors that contribute to successful capacity-building initiatives. This is suitable for organisations looking culturally sensitive approaches that prioritise local ownership and empowerment. This is relevant to the Code in supporting the sustainability of local partners.

Global perspectives on decolonising capacity strengthening

This resource explores how to 'decolonise' capacity strengthening and building in international development. It is suitable for organisations that want to deliver a more equitable and inclusive approach to capacity building that acknowledges and addresses historical injustices, power imbalances, and colonial legacies. This is relevant to the Code in demonstrating principles for invest time and resources to promoting local leadership and ownership, and challenging structural inequalities. ...

Good practice evaluation examples

This the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's (DFAT) collection of case studies and practice examples of monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It offers examples of effective M&E approaches across various development projects and programs. It is suitable for organisations looking for different approaches for robust data collection processes. This is relevant to the Code in documenting evidence of the periodic and joint review of the effectiveness of key collaborations and partnerships.

Is it time to radically rethink “capacity building”?

This resource is an article discussing the need to overhaul traditional approaches to capacity building in international development. It highlights the need for a more holistic and long-term approach that prioritises local ownership, adaptive learning, and institutional strengthening. This is suitable for organisations that are rethinking their approach and principles to capacity building. This is relevant to the Code because effective development relies on collaboration, flexibility, and ...

Partnerships: Frameworks for working together

This toolkit provides information regarding working within partnerships

Progress Report Template

This resource offers a template for creating a progress report - a document used to update stakeholders on the status of a project. It is suitable for emerging and new organisations to document objectives achieved, activities completed, challenges encountered, and next steps. It is relevant to the Code by providing a structured format for documenting evidence of the periodic and joint review of the effectiveness of key collaborations and partnerships.

Receipt Audit template

This resource presents a template for conducting a receipt audit -a systematic review process assessing the accuracy and completeness of financial records within a project. This is suitable for emerging and small organisations looking for a comprehensive template for appraising all aspects of financial management, such as budgeting, expenditure tracking, and documentation. It is relevant to the Code for providing a structured framework for examining financial transactions, verifying ...

Three questions to ask before organising a capacity building workshop

This resource presents three critical questions to consider before organising a capacity-building workshop. This is suitable for organisations that want to ensure their activities effectiveness and maximise its impact. It is relevant to the Code because it supports members to organise capacity-building workshops are well-planned, targeted, and evaluated, leading to more meaningful learning outcomes for participants.