IFPRI (ESARO) in conjunction with Wageningen University and Research Center is currently conducting evaluation of organizational capacity of Dutch-supported organizations in Ethiopia. One of such organizations is the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF).One of the tools used in the organizational capacity assessment is the development of historical timeline of the major events and developments of the organization over time (i.e., from inception to the present time). The main reason for doing a historical time line is to understand where the organization is coming from, and how and why it has developed over time. The historical timeline was developed with the active involvement of staff of AMREF (management, program, and support staff) who debated what were considered as major points in the evolution of the organization.
The pictures above show the drawing of the historical timeline using cards and stones placed on the ground to mark major milestones of AMREF. The exercise was performed in an open space through an interactive process with the staff. First, the participants recorded events (on small colored papers) that they felt were important during the lifetime of the organization. Then along the timelines they outlined how the organization changed in its vision, mission, strategies, target group, functions of staff, budget and sources of funds, and capacity strengthening activities.
The staff found the method to be interesting and useful as it encouraged reflection, critical thinking and stimulated discussion.