Second Phase of the Field-testing of ISD


KANAVA International traveled to Phnom Penh in September to carry out the second phase of the field-testing of our Impact Strengthening Development (ISD) Certification program. We again were working with our fantastic colleagues from the Capacity Building of Local Cambodian Organizations (CBCLO). Interestingly, we have always called the project by its initials: C – B – C – L – O. But it’s a mouthful and it took me a long time to remember which letters to include and in what order! Needless to say, the Cambodians also have trouble remembering the letters – now they are talking about changing how you say the projects name – they are moving to saying C – B – CLO, something they can more easily remember as it is similar to cyclo (see below).

We undertook a join ISDTM Assessment with the ARV Users Association (AUA), a local non-profit whose mission is to empower people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly those receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) to understand their illness, treatment and right to quality care; and to confront the challenges in their lives. It began informally in 2002 as a small group of patients gathering in front of the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital OI/ARV clinic to discuss their treatment and other personal issues affecting them.

The bottom line is that AUA found the assessment very useful. It sparked a lot of discussion among their staff members who were participating in the assessment. It documented the policies and systems they currently have, confirmed some of the upcoming areas that they plan to strengthen, and raised issues that they had never considered. We had strong commitment by senior management of AUA, as was indicated by the full participating of the Executive Director and the Program Manager/Fundraiser, with selective participation by a board member, the administration and finance officer, the monitoring & evaluation officer, an Australian volunteer working with them, and other staff members.


Several things became apparent as we undertook our first ISD Assessment. First of all, it will make the process proceed more quickly by translating the tool into Khmer. Along the same vein, we determined that a User Guide should be developed that defines what the intent of each question is, defining terminology, and providing examples, as appropriate. It was clear that there were some questions that KANAVA intended to have one meaning, the CBCLO staff who were assisting with the assessment had another interpretation, and AUA had a third interpretation. Other issues regarding whether some of the questions are being asked correctly, how to compare different levels of understanding, and the weighting of the nine areas were raised and will be discussed with George Mason University, our academic partner, and others.

After the ISD Assessment is completed, then a gap analysis is generated. The scoring is then compared to the target scores of the four ISD Certification levels to determine which level the target organization will pursue and the areas are prioritized. Lastly, a management capacity building plan is developed based on the gap analysis and the target ISD Certification level.

Kanava International