Frequent acronyms

CBO (community-based organisation): Refers primarily to the rural, grassroots organisation. These also tend to be membership organisations serving the economic, cultural and psychological needs of local communities.

CSO (civil society organisation): Considered to be a more dynamic concept than NGO, which seems to define voluntary development organisations simply by what they are not. The term and concept of CSO elevates the sense of purpose, values and distinct identity of voluntary development organisations.

NGO (non-governmental organisation): Refers to organisations in the voluntary sector that have traditionally been involved in relief and project work for development in various economic and social sectors. NGOs are motivated by the values of justice and equality. Many of them are involved in advocacy work to leverage government policies towards increasing justice and equality in society. NGOs are increasingly referred to as CSOs as a grounding identity for their institutional development.

OD (organisation development): Refers to the professional practice of assisting organisations to consciously manage the right balance of organisational culture, structure and systems (as opposed to organisational development, which is the actual development process taking place inside an organisation).

Key concepts

Learning site: Consciously managed space for sharing and reflection on experiences and lessons from implemented activities and internal management. EASUN’s Learning Site also includes a well stocked resource centre to support OD practice development in East Africa.

Capacity building: Enhancing an organisation’s ability to learn and manage all its elements and levels more consciously in order to achieve a balanced alignment of organisational culture, structure and other formal systems.

Facilitator: A practitioner who consciously uses “the self” and other tools in specific ways that support the learner in training / project situations to reflect critically on their actions and make connections between their experiences and new knowledge or skills that need to be learnt.  A facilitator guides the process and catalyses critical reflection.
Institution: An entity or relationships involving a number of organisations or parts of an organisation. An institution is often characterised by a clear identity that is reflected to the outside world. Institutions grow over time and develop their identity on the basis of consistency of basic principles, practices and product.

A complex ensemble of people working for a common purpose through defined systems, values and processes.