Kanava International Announces Pioneering Partnership with George Mason University’s School of Business

Joint effort to bolster KANAVA’s Impact Strengthening Development (ISD) Certification program

In a move designed to lend academic rigor to its signature capacity-building product, KANAVA International has partnered with George Mason University’s School of Business to gauge the impact of the firm’s management certification program—and help expand its utility to nonprofits and small businesses worldwide.

“Certification programs like Six Sigma work great for large corporations, but trying to globalize management standards for small organizations is, by nature, a work in progress,” said KANAVA founder and chief executive Susan Puska, herself a graduate of George Mason’s School of Business. “Every organization—and every set of challenges they face in their respective countries—is unique.”

That, says KANAVA Chief Operating Officer Carol Yee, is why the firm—itself a women-owned small business—enlisted the help of a premier learning institution. Referring to Kanava’s Impact Strengthening Development (ISD) Certification program, Yee described the rationale behind working with George Mason experts:

“With their commitment to finding and sharing what works—and what doesn’t—in real-world management settings, academic institutions challenge those of us in the consulting world to take a hard look at what we’re putting out there and make sure it’s actually working for our clients,” said Yee.

Those clients include nonprofits in developing countries, where donor funding often comes with a long list of reporting requirements—some of it straining on these small organizations’ makeshift compliance systems. Although ISDTM won’t be an “off the shelf” solution for all compliance challenges, the certification program and its accompanying tools—from budgeting and procurement templates to guidance on human resource management—are designed to reflect the best practices of much larger organizations and, crucially, many of the donor agencies with which KANAVA’s clients do business.

“Many of the management principles that apply to the private sector are also relevant to nonprofits,” said George Mason’s School of Business Dean Sarah Nutter. “KANAVA works with both, which presents an exciting opportunity to test the similarities in each of these sectors and, most importantly, to further refine the management tools these organizations need to succeed.”

Nutter says her colleagues are looking forward to kicking off the partnership with an assessment of KANAVA’s certification tool, which is being field-tested in Cambodia, under a project funded by the US Agency for International Development.

Eventually, KANAVA hopes to house ISD with an international nonprofit, where it can be hosted on an open-source platform and accessible to organizations worldwide—all part of the firm’s vision to foster thought leadership among international development practitioners.

For more information about KANAVA International or to learn how you can partner with us, please visit kanavainternational.com. For press inquiries, contact Carol Yee at cyee[at]kanavainternational.com.

Kanava International