Bringing the invisible into perspective: Reference document for using the 5Cs framework to plan, monitor and evaluate capacity and results of capacity development processes

The five core capabilities approach (5Cs) is an approach to organisational assessment built on complexity thinking. This document presents various ways that the approach has been operationalised, mainly from the Dutch development context.

The information provided was supplied by Wouter Rijnevald, Resultante. 

This is part of a set of three documents recommended by Wouter Rijnevald for understanding and applying the 5Cs approach to organisational assessment:

Authors and their affiliation

Niels Keijzer, Eunike Spierings, Geert Phlix and Alan Fowler

Year of publication 


Type of resource

Discussion paper

Key features

This document aims to guide organisations in developing countries that operate individually or as collaborative associations on how to use a framework based on 5 capabilities (‘5Cs’).

The content comes from reflection, analysis and key lessons learned from recent evaluations of
support to capacity development.

The document gives examples and tools and provides suggestions on how the 5Cs framework can be adapted and used in planning, monitoring and evaluation processes.

It also proposes changes to the practical evaluation of capacities and interventions aiming to support their further development.

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Evaluators;
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening;

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I have drawn upon the report’s suggestions for and experiences of operationalizing the 5C approach and have found these useful in conducting organisational assessments. The types of discussions generated through this document are particularly useful when linking organisational assessment to organisational development.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

I would recommend this document to people who wish to do organisational assessments that are strongly linked to organisational development, and who wish to generate discussions that go beyond external organisational characteristics.


Keijzer, N., Spierings, E., Phlix, G., and Fowler, A. (2011). Bringing the invisible into perspective. Reference paper for using the 5Cs framework to plan, monitor and evaluate capacity and results of capacity development processes. Maastricht: ECDPM.

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A special thanks to this page's contributors
Resource Suggested By
Owner, consultant, Resultante.
Gorinchem, Netherlands.


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