Capacity Development Fund

Building strong organisations for lasting conservation impact


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Protecting nature is tough, multi-disciplinary and all-encompassing work, leaving little space for the development of organisations and staff. It is critical for conservation organsiations to break away from short-term, project-by-project funding and unsustainable operating models for ensuring long-term conservation impact. And yet, there are very few examples of sustainably funded conservation action globally.

The BirdLife Capacity Development Fund improves the ability and sustainability of conservation organisations to do their work, maximising the benefit to nature and people. With a centralised funding mechanism, catalytic grants, learning exchanges and evidence-based assistance, we provide BirdLife Partners with bespoke support for stability, growth and long-term impact.

Our ultimate goal is to build a strong, effective and sustainable network of national BirdLife Partners in every country in the world.


What is capacity development?

"Capacity development (or capacity building) starts from the principle that people and organisations are best empowered to realise their full potential when the means of development are sustainable – home-grown, long-term, and generated and managed collectively by those who stand to benefit." United Nations Development Program (UNDP)


We will provide support to BirdLife Partners (as well as potential BirdLife Partners) through the following mechanisms:

  • Catalytic grants: These will provide grant support to enable Partners to fix organisational infrastructure, and systems
  • Technical assistance: This will match identified capacity development needs with existing skills and expertise within the Partnership, based on BirdLife Partners’ willingness to help each other on areas such as governance, human resources management, fundraising, setting-up conservation enterprises.   
  • Thematic Initiative Grants: These will provide greater benefit for several BirdLife Partners through Communities of Good Practice tackling an issues affecting all of them. These grants outcome will provide agreed common solutions for a number of Partners involved. 
  • Ad hoc capacity development opportunities: These are capacity development training workshops or other interventions planned by either BirdLife Secretariat through projects not related to the CDF or by external parties to complement the identified organisational needs or professional development of staff of beneficiary Partners in the CDF.

Contact Us

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us on

  • "Think of the BirdLife Capacity Development Fund as a physiotherapist for your conservation organisation. We find the underinvested areas and pressure points, and help you strengthen them to boost the performance of your organisation to conserve nature in the long-term."
    - Kiragu Mwangi, Senior Capacity Development Manager