Learning Opportunities

Our Approach


The purpose of ACFID’s Learning and Development Program is to enable ACFID member agencies to be influential agents of change and leaders in development and humanitarian practice, NGO effectiveness and accountability.


The objectives of the program are to enable Boards, leaders, managers, staff and volunteers to:

  • Improve their practice
  • Strengthen their organisations
  • Meet or exceed their obligations in the ACFID Code of Conduct
  • Contribute to wider change in the sector


The Learning and Development Team will achieve these objectives through:

  • Drawing lessons from practice
  • Facilitating discussions between member agencies and with other development actors
  • Sharing information, resources and expertise
  • Building the capacities of member staff and member agencies
  • Identifying, connecting and supporting individuals, organisations and networks that are contributing to change in the sector
  • Methods and tools

The Learning and Development Team will deliver these strategies using a variety of methods and tools:

  • Applied research
  • Developing resources, guidelines and tools
  • Maintaining a Good Practice Toolkit and a Resource Library
  • Delivering training or connecting members to other training opportunities
  • Facilitating access to expert advice through Ask an Expert and peer to  peer support through Communities of Practice
  • Hosting structured conversations about strategic issues
  • Contributing to ACFID’s national conference

Program Focus and Delivery

Each year the program will focus on realising its objectives in relation to three content areas:

  • designated standards in the ACFID Code of Conduct
  • core capabilities which will enhance the relevance, accountability, effectiveness and sustainability of NGOs and the sector as a whole
  • emerging issues related to ACFID’s thematic priorities

The selection of standards, capabilities and emerging issues will be informed by:

  • The results, thematic and cross-cutting priorities in the ACFID strategic plan
  • The priorities identified in the ACFID operational plan
  • The priorities identified in the DFAT-ACFID operational plan
  • The aggregate results of Code compliance assessments
  • Emerging demand from members and other stakeholders

The Learning and Development Team will contribute to change in these designated content areas each year by:

  • selectively combining the strategies, methods and tools outlined above in ways which are tailored to the content area, the change sought, emerging opportunities and risks and the diverse needs and interests of ACFID’s membership
  • supporting Iterative cycles of applied research, discussion, information sharing, experimentation, learning and adaptation
  • working collaboratively with staff from the Code team and the Policy and Advocacy Team
  • drawing on support from ACFID member agencies, including through working with the Development Practice Committee, Expert Reference Groups and Communities of Practice
  • strengthening ACFID’s capacity to deliver specific learning and development approaches

Informing Frames

ACFID’s L&D program will be informed by an evolving understanding of:

  • The changing role of NGOs in light of macro-economic, political, environmental, technological and social trends and associated changes in development theory and practice
  • The key internal and external factors which influence NGO effectiveness
  • The core capabilities that individuals and organisations need to be effective in times of change
  • The effectiveness of our intervention strategies.