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Institutional Strengthening and Localization

Community members, some sitting some standing, look over village demarcations in Uganda

Tetra Tech helps expand locally led development by helping strengthen the capacity of institutions around the world to achieve their development objectives.

Tetra Tech works alongside our clients to support institutions on their journeys to self-reliance. Strong institutions effectively implement their mandates to support citizens, whether through providing quality government services, enabling access to finance, or implementing policies to protect vulnerable groups. We provide a comprehensive suite of assessment, capacity building, and monitoring services to help strengthen a wide range of institutions.

We collaborate with governmental bodies, universities, research institutions, cooperatives, producer groups, private sector firms, non-governmental organizations, regional bodies, and professional networks. Tetra Tech helps identify potential partners using criteria developed in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for International Development (e.g., stakeholder motivation, likelihood of sustainability, and absorptive capacity), and subsequently assesses and strengthens their capacity. Our approaches are highly scalable and adaptable and take a cross-sectoral approach to strengthen linkages between institutions.

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Partner Selection

To screen potential partner organizations for inclusion in our project activities, Tetra Tech leverages our Institutional Selection Process (INSPR) organizational selection tool. The tool—developed by our project managers—scores organizations based on relevant criteria, which may include organizational performance, good governance, sustainability, logistical capacity, and absorptive capacity. By selecting partners that score higher in these areas, project activities are more likely to have a sustainable positive impact.
A group of people in Cambodia sit underneath a structure at tables with laptops and notebooks

Capacity Assessment and Measurement

Once partners are selected through our INSPR process, we use our Functional Organizational Capacity Assessment (FOCAS) tool—developed and finessed over decades of lessons learned in effective partner engagement—to help the institution identify its own capacity strengths, gaps, and needs in terms of staff, skills, procedures, technologies, and standards. FOCAS is highly adaptable and used to assess institutions across sectors, including municipalities, water and sanitation agencies, land and resource governance bodies, and agricultural cooperatives.

Tetra Tech also developed tools to address sector-specific capacities. For example, our water and sanitation team use the Institutional Strengthening Index (ISI), centering on water resources management and assessing capacities in hygiene and sanitation promotion.

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Technical Capacity Building

Tetra Tech develops tailored strengthening plans for the institutions we support using information gathered from our INSPR process and FOCAS tool. Plans prioritize actions to strengthen policies, structures, systems, and services and may include provisions of training, internships, advisory services, or exchange visits. Tetra Tech is committed to creating a service culture with the institutions it supports through our Quality Improvement Services Program (QSIP). QSIP works to instill a customer and quality-focused attitude, while encouraging proactive behaviors and continuous service improvements within an institution.

A closeup shot of a laptop showing a mapping program, with many other laptops and people in the background at a training


Tetra Tech’s monitoring, evaluation, and learning team uses FOCAS on an annual basis to measure changes in institutional capacity. Additionally, we measure the change of perceptions toward institutions using our annual Knowledge and Attitudes and Practices assessments. Improvements measured through indicators that assess overall institutional performance, leadership decision-making, and substantive outcomes. For example, our environment team measures improved capacity to assess or address climate change risks, clean energy issues, outcomes consistent with gender equality or female empowerment, and progress toward passing laws and regulations. 

At Tetra Tech, we recognize that effective development programming that achieves long-lasting outcomes must build institutional commitment and capacity. Throughout the past decade we have successfully employed our approaches to institutional strengthening to improve government service delivery, and strengthen private sector and civil society organization performance around the world.

Connect with us. Reach out to our international development experts.

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