Supporting Organisational Development and Effectiveness

Wales Africa Community Links have supported over 150 organisations to set up and deliver over 450 projects with African partners. Our mission is to support more people across Wales to get involved with better quality voluntary projects, and our support is designed to enable Welsh organisations to develop, using the UN Gold Star Award framework as a foundation. The Gold Star Award was piloted by WCVA and BUILD between 2007-10, with the endorsement of the UN, to provide:

Summary: View or print 'Wales Africa Effectiveness Framework' as PDF poster

In Detail: Download word document with all detailed indicators, which can be used to facilitate organisational planning discussions among your trustees, partners and volunteers.

Self-Assessment: We have produced an online self-assessment tool which can be used for self-reflection (as individuals and in teams), and generates a 'score' which you can analyse using the Wales Africa Effectiveness Scorecard

Improvement Resources to deepen your effectiveness: Each of the 'organisational development steps' in the table below will take you to resources and tools that you can use, eg for developing a fundraising strategy.   


Thinking about Linking?

Community Linking projects exist for different purposes. Some links (and volunteer linkers) are motivated to fundraise for a project overseas; some to engage in intercultural learning and friendship; some, to volunteer overseas and share skills with their partners; and some, to play an active role in securing and managing anti-poverty projects. This experience has shown that depending on the vision and mission they are pursuing, link organisations may gradually progress through all of these phases of growth, or they may choose to grow to a certain level, then deepen their work in one area (for example, regular volunteering exchange through the partnership). Under each of the sections below there are:

Progression Phase / Focus of Linking Organisation

Organisational Development Steps

(click to open up good practice indicators. tools and resources)


(hover over image to read case study) 

Startup and Fundraising Links

are characterised by a focus on founding an organisation, and / or fundraising and resource transfer from north to south – raising funds that enable others to implement anti-poverty projects.

1 Organisational Structure, Mission and Board

Good governance and a constituted steering group / trustees board unified around clear motivations and mission (either independently, or within a host organisation).


SWAZAID, the Denbighshire – Swaziland Link has been established since 2004, and raises circa £20,000 per year from local communities towards HIV AIDS education and welfare of orphans supported by their Swazi partner organisations.

Swazaid, Denbigh - Swaziland Link

2 Finance and Fundraising

Bank account or ringfenced budgeting with sound financial management systems and reporting, and fundraising strategy(ies) appropriate to mission.

Community Fundraising Training

Learning Links

are characterised by a focus on education, awareness raising and global learning that is rooted in their relationship with, and experiences of, their link partner community.

The LEARNING LINKS AWARD recognises organisations who through their education and awareness raising work, are engaging people in Wales with global issues.

3 Awareness Raising and Education in Wales

Engaging local people in learning about global issues through education work in schools, public events, outreach campaigns and local media profile.

GOBAITH I ETHIOPIA have been linking Wrexham and Mekele in Northern Ethiopia since 2005. From an initial focus on sponsoring a kindergarten feeding programmes to enable children to remain in primary education, the link has gone on to support youth projects, curriculum links and global learning between schools.

Gobaith i Ethiopia, Wrexham - Mekele Link

4 Communication and Working with Partners

Effective two-way internal communications that foster mutual learning, openness and transparency through partnership agreement between Welsh and African organisations.

Communicating with Purpose Training

Partnership Links

are characterised by a focus on volunteering and community participation both in Wales and Africa, involving volunteers with diverse skills in exchange visits that deepen relationships with African community partners, joint understanding of key issues based upon needs assessment, and joint decision making and ownership of project solutions.

The PARTNERSHIP LINKS AWARD recognises organisations who are actively engaging volunteers in skills exchange projects underpinned by a solid partnership agreement with African organisation(s). 


5 Involving Volunteers

Encouraging active participation (beyond founders) of volunteers who bring diverse skills and perspectives, have a say in decision making and project direction.

Recruiting & Managing Volunteers

The SWANSEA SIAVONGA PARTNERSHIP between Discovery Student Volunteering and Siavonga Nutrition Network in Southern Zambia have developed since 2008 a youth exchange and volunteering scheme between Swansea University and Zambian youth groups. Aimed at maximising income generation and entrepreneurial learning with a particular focus on women and orphans, in 2013 they also launched a scholarship scheme to widen access to education and lifelong learning opportunities.

Swansea Siavonga Partnership, Swansea University - Zambia Link

6 Exchange Visits

Undertaking two-way visits between Wales and Africa communities that build friendship, knowledge and skills exchange, and deepen joint aims, power sharing and responsibility in partnership agreements.

Preparing to Volunteer Overseas Training

7 Participatory Projects

Involving community members in needs assessment , planning and evaluation of project activities, rooted in making a positive and distinctive difference that is owned by communities.

Participatory Approaches to Development Training

Development Links

are characterised by a focus on securing resources to deliver joint partnership projects with strong southern partner organisations who are empowered to lead and coordinate with the development priorities of appropriate local authorities / agencies; are publicly accountable both to project beneficiaries as well as donors / supporters; and with impacts that are demonstrated by sound monitoring, evaluation and learning.

The DEVELOPMENT LINKS AWARD recognises organisations who, through delivering joint projects with African partners, are demonstrating a tangible contribution to local development needs.

8 Southern Capacity Building and Ownership

Empowered community-based oragnisations are leading decision making on project priorities, in coordination with (appropriate) authorities and development actors.

Grant Funding for International Projects Training

The LAMPETER BORE COMMUNITY CARBON LINK with Kenya grew out of the work of Treeflights, set up in 2006, to engage communities in Ceredigion with planting and protecting trees in Kenya’s tropical forests region as a ‘carbon sink’ against the UK’s overuse of fossil fuels. Instrumental in setting up the national ‘Size of Wales’ forestry conservation project from 2009, LBCCL have gone on to develop women’s environmental livelihoods leadership, a youth volunteering project to build a forest research centre - and have planted 30,000 trees.

Lampeter - Bore Community Carbon Link

9 Monitoring Evaluation and Learning

Sound, proportionate and participatory MEL approaches are able to demonstrate the difference being made towards community development, poverty reduction and the MDGs.

Proving your Impact Training

10 Transparency

Funders and supporters have confidence in the organisation’s ability to deliver transparent and inclusive projects that are accountable both to donors and beneficiaries.

UN Gold Star Award Links

are ‘beacon’ links that have been judged by an independent Awards Panel to be shining examples of mutually beneficial voluntary and community enterprise, and ambassadors between both Wales and African partners.


UN Gold Star awarded links demonstrate a great contribution to charity, learning, partnership and development, and mutual benefits to the enrichment of BOTH communities in Africa and Wales in one or more of the themes of livelihoods, health, youth, environment and equality.


11 Mutual Benefits

The linking organisation is engaged with ordinary people in both Welsh and African communities, is having demonstrable mutual benefits in both north and south and has a spirit of mutuality and reciprocity.


As the UN Gold Star scheme was developed, many referred to it as the “PONT Model” – inspired by Pontypridd’s multifaceted link with Eastern Uganda that has involved volunteers and professionals from sectors as diverse as health, education , churches and environmental groups, in joint projects that are showing truly mutual benefits in communities both across Mbale region and Rhondda Cynon Taff in South Wales. PONT have gone to coordinate a DfID Health programme, a UN Climate Change project, and the Welsh Government’s own International Learning Opportunities (ILO) programme.

PONT Mbale: the Pontypridd - Uganda Link


The UN GOLD STAR AWARD aims to “recognise the best, to inspire the rest” – quality, mutually beneficial partnerships that make a difference to learning, partnership and contribute towards realising the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. John Whitaker, Chair of BUILD


12 Contributing to the MDGs / SDGs

The link is making a tangible contribution towards the Millennium Development Goals for Poverty Reduction (and / or the emerging post-2015 SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals). 

MDG 1 - Poverty & Hunger.jpg Icon 2 - Primary Education.jpg Icon 3 - Gender Equality.jpg Icon 4 - Child Mortality.jpg
Icon 5 - Maternal Health.jpg Icon 6 - Combat Diseases.jpg Icon 7 - Environmental Sustainability.jpg Icon 8 -Global Partnership.jpg





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