Careers Vacancy

Consultancy: Development and application of a capacity development assessment tool for Indigenous Peoples organizations at the global level and preparation of capacity development plans


In 2019, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) established the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC- IF) as the operational office of the Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee (PIPC). The FSC IF is a private interest foundation in accordance with Law No. 25 of June 12, 1995 of the Republic of Panama. The mission of FSC-IF is to enable an enabling environment to guarantee the rights of Indigenous Peoples and promote sustainable forest-based solutions within 300 million hectares of indigenous forests on the planet. The vision is that Indigenous Peoples’ global values, rights, livelihoods, ecosystem services, natural capital and communities are incorporated into forest governance, climate change governance and market systems.

Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance for Rights and Development

The FSC-IF is the implementing partner of the five-year Global Development Alliance (GDA) program funded by USAID and FSC: Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD). The IPARD Program is guided by three development objectives:

  • Objective 1: To organize and convene a capacity building program for Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and stakeholders;
  • Objective 2: To foster an enabling environment for the recognition, effective participation and joint decision-making by Indigenous Peoples in matters affecting them; and
  • Objective 3: Promote the sustainable development of Indigenous Peoples based on sustainable economic models.

IPARD uses three interconnected approaches to support Indigenous Peoples in overcoming their development challenges:

A.     Multi-Sectoral Approach (MSA): under the strategic guidance of IPARD’s Steering Committee (SC), the Program convenes and leverages the expertise of multi-sectoral partners to ensure that the needs of Indigenous communities are considered across a wide range of sectors.

B.     Country-Focused Approach (CFA): IPARD’s programmatic strategy is guided by a country-focused approach, driven by specific national contexts related to Indigenous Peoples. IPARD implements a structured process to identify, evaluate and select countries for its programs. FSC IF works in conjunction with the IPARD Steering Committee, and according to the guidelines of the multi-sectoral approach, in order to select countries and identify key priorities and strategies.

C.     Indigenous Project Management Approach (IPMA): Leveraging FSC IF’s networks and relationships with Indigenous leaders and organizations around the world, IPARD seeks ongoing dialogue, consultation, and feedback with Indigenous Peoples to inform the Program. IPARD supports a forum through which the FSC IF Indigenous Foundation serves as a bridge between Indigenous Peoples, technical partners, national governments, and the private sector. IPARD invests in best practice conservation and effective approaches and methodologies to ensure strategic cohesion of partnerships at various levels.

Through these three approaches, IPARD aims to empower Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and catalyze an enabling environment where Indigenous Peoples can pursue their development.

We are Indigenous Peoples; our strategies and our future actions are shaped by ancestral knowledge, practices, cosmovision, values, and respect for Mother Earth and our past.  We as FSC-IF are providers of Indigenous-based solutions, and our ancestral knowledge and traditions have driven Indigenous-based solutions for centuries. We are Indigenous Peoples; we are the owners of Indigenous-based solutions to global challenges, and the FSC Indigenous Foundation is the global vehicle to design, manage, facilitate, and scale up Indigenous-led solutions through multi-sectoral partnerships. The FSC Indigenous Foundation has an Indigenous perspective driven by Indigenous values, vision, principles, ancestral knowledge, and traditional practices connected to Mother Earth. FSC-IF is shaped to respond to key challenges and opportunities faced by Indigenous Peoples to achieve their self-development, self-governance, and self-reliance. Driven by this perspective, the way we operate differs from traditional organizational planning because our cultural and traditional way of thinking, acting, and interacting do not fit into a predetermined Western tradition of thoughts, organizational management, or governance.

We are committed to work driven by our values of being guided by and supporting Indigenous Peoples’ values of: 1) Respect for Mother Earth Managing our lands, waters, and ecosystems with great respect to nature and care by recognizing that we only borrow them from future generations and 2) Respect for ancestral knowledge Keeping our promises to our ancestors to manage nature and the resources provided by the Mother Earth in a sustainable and respectful way.

2)     CONTEXT:

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) defines capacity development as ‘the process through which individuals, organizations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time.’

One of the IPARD Program objectives is the preparation and implementation of a Capacity Development Plan (CDP) to strengthen the capacity of Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs) in different countries to enhance their effectiveness and sustainability. In order to develop the CDP for IPOs, a participatory assessment of the capacity development needs and aspirations of the IPOs is essential to deliver a package of capacity development opportunities that address the needs, realities and dreams of IPOs.

Under the IPARD initiative, we will work with IPOs to identify opportunities where additional, targeted and innovative capacity development activities could drive organizational transformations to produce better and sustainable results.

A Capacity Development Assessment tool tailor-made for Indigenous Peoples called I-OCA (Indigenous Organizational Capacity Assessment) will be required to identify and understand the Indigenous Peoples Organization’s capacity assets and needs. This will involve an exchange process between an external identification and a self-identification of the capacity that is already in place to determine opportunities and constraints to the achievement of clearly identified results. A Capacity Development Plan (CDP) will be developed with the IPOs as part of the co-creation principle of the IPARD Program and as a capacity development opportunity on the basis of findings from the assessment and the level of improvement that each IPO would like to reach.

The IPOs to be assessed are identified by the IPARD team and are aligned with IPARD´s three objectives. The assessments and the capacity development plans to be prepared with and for them is one of the goals of Objective 1 but it will also be the basis for supporting the achievement of results of Objective 2 and Objective 3 by empowering IPOs to participate in high-level decision-making process as well as to engage in indigenous-led economic activities.

An important principle of the IPARD Program in conducting the capacity development assessment is that it should be ‘owned’ and driven by the IPOs to reflect their needs and aspirations based on their cosmovision and culture to obtain sustained results. Following this principle, the consultancy firm should prepare the I-OCA tool, the capacity development assessment and the capacity development plan with the IPOs through a co-creation process as a capacity development exercise in itself to strengthen their capabilities to continue the capacity development process within their organizations and with their membership in the long-term.

Since there are different conditions for capacity development that are interdependent and complementary, it is not sufficient to evaluate capacity assets and needs at the organizational level only. For this reason, the IPARD program will not only focus on strengthening the IPOs, but to identify the conditions within the organizations, at the individual level as well as in the enabling environment that have an influence and need to be identified when conducting a capacity development assessment to better focus the CDP and other actions. It is important then to evaluate these conditions by “zooming in” and “zooming out” when conducting the I-OCA for the different IPOs and add the information to the assessment.


General Objective

The overall objective of the consultancy is to prepare a Capacity Development Assessment tool tailored-made for Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs) to be called I-OCA or Indigenous Organizational Capacity Assessment, considering their cosmovision and sociocultural context.   The I-OCA will help to identify areas for organizational, governance, program management, human resources, and financial management improvement to strengthen the organizations in order for them to achieve sustainable results aligned with their cosmovision and values. The I-OCA will provide the basis for preparing a Capacity Development Plan (CDP) aligned with IPARD´s three objectives to be implemented with support from the IPARD Program and other partners.

Specific Objectives

  1. Develop an Indigenous Organizational Capacity Assessment tool for IPOs as a part of the IPARD program, in a participatory and co-creative way with IPOs.  The I-OCA will be based on similar tools being used for capacity building activities but will be tailored to IPOs based on their specific needs and their missions.
  2. Test and apply the I-OCA tool on site to 10 IPOs based in Mesoamerica (Panama, Honduras, Guatemala) and in Africa (Cameroon, South Africa and Kenya) to improve and adjust the tool if necessary.
  3. Based on the assessment results, prepare in a participatory and co-creative way a Capacity Development Plan for each of the 10 IPOs that includes : 1) common areas of capacity development that apply to all IPOs (the firm should recommend innovative solutions to provide the capacity in a variety of methodologies and in collaboration with a wide range of partners including the private sector and 2) areas that are unique to the target IPOs or key stakeholders.
  4. Prepare a report for each organization with the findings of the I-OCA.
  5. Conduct a training to the IPARD team on the I-OCA application.
  6. Present a general report with main findings and recommendations.

Illustrative activities:

  1. Identify the good and best practices available with OCA tools to be used as a basis for developing IPARD I-OCA tool for IPOs.
  2. Prepare the I-OCA tool through a collaborative process with IPOs. The tool should be adjustable to IPOs at the national level, at the regional level and at the global level by developing modules that only apply to the different types of organizations. The tool should be available in English and Spanish.
  3. Apply a consultation and consent process with IPOs.
  4. Test, apply, and adjust the I-OCA tool on site with the support of the selected IPOs and the IPARD team and partners.
  5. Prepare reports on the results of the application of the I-OCA with the IPOs
  6. Prepare a capacity diagnosis that will allow the establishment of a capacity development plan for the evaluated IPOs.
  7. Provide training to the IPARD team to develop capacities and maximize the use of the tool among other IPOs in the future.
  8. Prepare a final report with findings and recommendations for submission to IPARD.


The consultants should review other organizational development assessment tools already available to serve as the basis for preparing IPARD´s I-OCA tool at the global level, incorporating their cosmovision and values.  The I-OCA tool should be prepared through a co-creation process in a participatory and collaborative way to adjust it and refine it through discussions and tests with the IPOs to ensure it becomes a tool tailor-made for them.  The I-OCA tool should take into consideration, if considered necessary, to design modules that apply to national Indigenous Peoples Organizations, regional Indigenous Peoples Organizations or networks and Global Indigenous Peoples Organizations or Indigenous Peoples Authorities taking into account that their mission and ways to operate might not be the same. The tool should be prepared in a user-friendly format that can be used by any user, and that automates the capture of data, and the analysis of the information with graphics, to allow easy interpretation for organizational decision making.

The consultancy firm should involve the IPOs to be part of this effort and consider each application of the tool as a pilot to constantly adjust it.  The consultants should also conduct the capacity development needs assessment using the I-OCA tool prepared and a methodology developed in partnership with the IPOs and IPARD as an exercise to promote learning by doing.

It is expected that the assessment will be built around self-assessment processes with the consultants and the IPARD team guidance as well as broad consultation with other experts when appropriate to help validate, expand, and improve the range of information collected. A participatory assessment process including individual sessions, focus groups, SWOT-analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), appreciative inquiry, reflective teams should be some of the options for the development of the I-OCA to be discussed with the IPOs among others.

The capacity assessment framework should recognize the multiple dimensions of capacity as well as the expected results. This approach ensures that capacity development goes beyond individual capacity (relevant skills and abilities) to focus on organizational capacity (governance, structures, processes, etc.) as well as the broader context and environment within which the organizations´ function.

The assessment report to be prepared for the IPOs and the final report should include change readiness, potential prime movers (influential actors) of change, resistance to change, as well as change strategy and change management aspects within each IPO. The history of previous change, reform and CD efforts should be factored into the assessments as well as the inputs and resources available to the organizations.

Since the I-OCA prepares for change, then participation and buy-in of the conclusions of the organizations at different level may also be a sine qua non for a subsequent successful CD process – and full attention to these process aspects will be crucial.

Once the I-OCA is complete, a Capacity Development Plan should be drafted taking into consideration a prioritization of capacity development needs by the IPOs.  The CDP should include a package of activities ranging from on-the-job trainings, internships, visits, exchange programs, short practical trainings, scholarship opportunities abroad and in the country, on-line trainings and others and a preliminary identification of partners to deliver the CD services and of  Cultural aspects and time availability should be considered when structuring the plan as well as the best technical partners to provide the CD support in the long term.

Expected deliverables

  1. Workplan and methodology to implement the consultancy.
  2. I-OCA Tool designed for Indigenous Peoples Organizations at the global level (adjusted for national, regional and global IPOs).
  3. The Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) documents.
  4. Application of the I-OCA and preparation of the Capacity Development Assessment reports for each IPO assessed (10).
  5. Capacity Development Plan for IPOs (10).
  6. Training to the IPARD team on the application of I-OCA.
  7. Final report with findings and recommendations of the assessment.

Profile of the Offeror
Only consultant firms’ proposals will be accepted for the selection process.

  • More than 5 years of experience working in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples or Indigenous Communities.
  • More than 5 years of experience in conducting capacity needs assessments of organizations or consortiums of organizations including Indigenous Peoples Organizations.
  • Specialized knowledge of organizational and institutional development.
  • Experience with self-assessment processes is an advantage.
  • Previous experience working with international organizations and donors is desirable.
  • Good interpersonal communication and coordination skills.
  • Demonstrated cultural awareness and sensitivity to the diversity of values, views, and approaches to issues relevant to the FSC IF
  • Strong oral and written communication of the team in Spanish, and English is desirable.



a) Proposal Submission Deadline

Deadline for submission is October 19, 2023 (5:00 p.m. Panama Time).

b) Submission Address

Both the Technical Proposal and Cost Proposal must be submitted via e-mail to:  with the subject line – “Development and application of a capacity development assessment tool. ”