English العربية
English العربية

CSOs Capacity Strengthening

CSOs Capacity Strengthening :

THESO USA Foundation creates positive resilience and sustainable change through CSOs capacity development and community engagement for development.  

Through its programming and grantmaking, the Foundation strives to promote CSOs participation and involvement in sustainable national development of South Sudan. It does so by strengthening the capacities of civil society actors, so that they contribute to more inclusive, transparent, and accountable policy making and implementation of value-based results oriented developmental

programmes. If civil society capacity and sustainability is strengthened and viable mechanisms of participation are created locally and nationally, then citizens will be better able to enjoy their basics needs services as enshrined on national constitution human rights and freedoms articles and hold duty-bearers accountable. It is with this rationale in mind that the Foundation’s programs equip CSOs and civic activists with skills, capacities and resources to define and achieve positive outcomes for themselves and their communities. We employ a participatory approach, which allows civil society actors to determine the issues that are of importance to the communities and to develop interventions that will be effective in addressing identified needs – a critical factor in building a vibrant South Sudan. At the same time, THESO USA Foundation is mindful of rising threats to the country due to natural and man-made disasters and fundamental freedoms and mobilises communities and interest groups around specific issue areas to create demand for good governance, economic empowerment and resilience sustainable development.

The following core values guide and underpin the Foundation’s actions and decision making:

  • Independence
    THESO USA Foundation is a non-sectarian, non-partisan Foundation, which is committed to maintaining its autonomy and independence. This enables the foundation to address the core needs of its grantees and beneficiaries without a secondary focus.
  • Accountability
    THESO USA Foundation prides itself on its ability to ensure that trustworthiness, transparency, and accountability continue to be core aspects of its operating philosophy across everything the Foundation does. We take responsibility for our work, honor our commitments to partners, beneficiaries, and donors, and proactively disclose results achieved and lessons learned.
  • Equality
    THESO USA Foundation believes that all people are created equal and are entitled to being treated fairly and with dignity. We are committed to removing structural barriers to equality and to empowering those that are in marginalised and oppressed situations.
  • Innovation
    Forward-thinking in its approach to improving lives, THESO USA Foundation supports and implements innovative approaches to civic engagement and related concerns, discovering new and lasting ways to transform the lives of South Sudanese everywhere.
  • Collaboration
    THESO USA Foundation understands that inclusive partnership and sharing are key components of running a successful foundation. This means building capacity of its grantees and partners, and by exchanging information and innovative methods within its own network as well as with other organisations toward the common cause of achieving good governance in South Sudan.


The Health Support Organisation (THESO) supports institutional and thematic capacity development of civil society actors in South Sudan.
Over the years, THESO has developed a complex approach to CSO capacity development to support pro-national development civil society actors in their implementation, monitoring and advocacy interventions that bring tangible positive changes to the people of South Sudan. Our approach to partner capacity development is based on our believe that capacity building denotes all different types of activities that bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organisational maturity, so that it is more effective in advancing its mission. In a similar vein, we believe that capacity development is a long-term process, which requires commitment and motivation to bring about continuous and sustainable organisational change.

Thus, our capacity development approach both motivates and enables CSOs and their staff to gain the knowledge and skills needed to make their work more effective and sustainable. It is a needs-based, demand-driven, and continuous process that employs such diverse tools as thematic learning activities, townhall meetings, common capacity building workshops that promote cross-sectoral learning, multi-stakeholder conferences and roundtable discussions, experience sharing events locally and internationally, learning by doing opportunities, etc. During 2023-2024, THESO plan to conduct 120 trainings, workshops, or conference events and 15 cross-border trainings at venues outside South Sudan on 39 distinct topics, from community mobilisation to public expenditure monitoring, with more than 3,000 participants.

Organisational Development Support

THESO’s approach to grants management is yet another mechanism for developing institutional capacity and internal controls of partner organisations.

During the grant implementation period, THESO employs a unique grants management system, which allows for strict fiscal oversight of grant recipients. It follows detailed procedures with respect to inquiry and proposal review, grant awarding, monitoring, and closing, which provides institutional growth opportunities for each grantee. The process ensures sound value-based programme implementation with concrete results and longer-term sustainability of projects and grantee institutions. The latter is also promoted through provision of technical and financial support to those CSOs that have created or are interested in setting up social enterprises as a means for diversifying their income and ensuring their long-term financial health. In addition, the grantees are also able to take advantage of THESO’s Organisational Development Initiative, which provides more focused advice on how best to improve the institutional capacity of an individual CSO in the following six areas: board governance, programme management, financial management, human resource management, communications, and fund development. This approach to CSO institution building utilises a proprietary capacity mapping tool, CMI, to diagnose the organisational capacity of a grantee CSO and then to support the organisation in developing and implement its organisational development strategy.
  • Baseline assessment
    Grant recipients who qualify for and are interested in receiving organisational development support will first undergo an initial baseline assessment using the Capacity Mapping Initiative (CMI). Based upon the outcome, THESO will provide concrete recommendations on how the grantee CSO could continue to improve its standing in all six capacity areas: governance, financial management, human resources, programme management, communications, and fundraising.
  • Organisational development strategic plan.
    Once an organisation receives its initial baseline assessment report with concrete recommendations on ways to improve its organisational capacity, each CSO will be responsible for developing its own organisational development strategy and implementation action plan. THESO will provide both expertise and financial assistance to each organisation.
  • Financial support for the implementation of the OD strategic plan
    THESO Foundation awards organisational development grants following the approval of the OD strategy and its implementation action plan. These grants will allow recipients to implement their action plans to improve their capacities in governance, financial management, human resources, programme management, communications, and fundraising. Throughout the entire lifetime of the OD grant, THESO Foundation will monitor and evaluate the implementation process and assist CSOs with tangible organisational development advice and grant management expertise.
  • Performance assessment
    After the completion of the grants, THESO (using its resources and experts) will conduct a follow-up assessment of the beneficiary CSOs, to measure the progress made since the completion of the baseline assessment report. At the end of this assessment, THESO will provide the CSO with another set of recommendations on further institutional growth.

Social Enterprise

THESO Foundation encourages civil society organisations to create their own social enterprises as a way of improving their financial health.

Over the years, THESO will be supporting social enterprise development in South Sudan, to contribute to inclusive growth and increased financial sustainability of CSOs. Initially, given the novelty of the concept, the organisation will cooperate with other local and international players to promote the concept among the civil society sector and the broader public. At the same time, the organisation will be supporting CSOs in setting up and improving social enterprises, to create positive examples for both CSOs and the Government to emulate. As a result, representatives of different vulnerable groups will benefit from the potential to be employed in newly established or strengthened social enterprises, as well as from increased sustainability of the CSOs that serve these constituencies. THESO will continue supporting social entrepreneurship, as an additional tool for improving CSO capacity in South Sudan, providing technical and financial support to those CSOs that have created or are interested in setting up social enterprises as a means for diversifying their income and ensuring their long-term financial health.

Thematic Capacity Building

THESO designs and implements needs-based thematic learning initiatives to support motivated civil society actors in improving their knowledge and skills.

As a developmental organisation that strives to promote community participation and developmental initiatives in South Sudan, the organisation believes that it is its mission and duty to strengthen the capacity of civil society actors, so that they can contribute to more inclusive, accountable, and transparent public policy making. Needs-based thematic capacity development is one of the cornerstones of this approach.  The needs of the sector are identified through rigorous assessments, evaluations, and mapping studies, as well as through structured dialogue with partners, beneficiaries, and sector experts. In addition, the organisation encourages its grantees to internally identify their capacity needs and to seek local or international learning and experience sharing opportunities, which can be funded through their grants or directly by the organisation. Participation in the organisation-supported thematic learning initiatives requires CSO openness and commitment to improving their thematic capacities, which is why we have instituted an application procedure for participation in learning opportunities and require the requesting organisation to provide justification that describes their capacity development needs and suggests ways to address them.

CSOs Clinic

To respond to the changing needs of the civil society sector in South Sudan, THESO  conducts monthly CSO clinic to support CSOs and other civil society actors in their work. 

On the first Friday of each month from 15:00-17:00, the organisation’s staff provide consultations to civil society actors that would like to develop strong project proposals that aim at promoting open and transparence development in South Sudan or to strengthen their institutional structures and processes for improved and sustained impact. During the CSO clinic, the organisation’s staff will also respond to questions related to mainstreaming gender and minority considerations in project design and implementation.  THESO’s monthly CSO clinics will be utilised by well-established CSOs and media outlets, as well as those civic activists who are   considering establishing a CSO or who work for a newly founded or grassroots CSOs.

Interested individuals can attend the CSO clinic (online)