The analysis is the most important part of the capitalisation process, but also the phase which most participants find most difficult, especially when trying to do it collectively. Yet this is not a new activity, or something for which special skills are needed. It is possible to say that everybody, practically at all moments, analyse what we have done, and modify our actions as a result of what we find with this analysis.

It is very much related to an evaluation – another activity most project teams are familiar with. But instead of looking at what activities have been implemented, an analysis of a capitalisation process aims to discover why did the team decide to implement these activities. And instead of measuring results, or of comparing them to what was expected, an analysis aims to discover the reasons behind these results. For this the team needs to adopt a critical perspective, taking a step back, putting the experience in perspective and questioning it or even challenging it.

A thorough analysis starts with the identification of the “lenses” with which an experience can be “looked at” – and which will help you draft the questions you need to raise. These “lenses” take the shape of criteria and indicators which are related to the specific objectives of your experience, and to the specific strategies followed in order to reach those objectives. These are “used” to identify the factors that have contributed in a positive way, and factors that have prevented a team from achieving better results. Everything that has had a positive influence or has contributed to the achievement of a target, is considered to be a “positive aspect”. In the same way, everything that had a negative influence or kept the target or objective from being attained, we consider to be a “negative aspect”.

The process finishes with the conclusions: the 3 to 5 main observations out of all the aspects, reasons or explanations found. These are those which are new, different and/or particularly relevant, and which are reformulated in the form of 3 to 5 principles of success and/or failure. These are the main lessons, and the basic ingredient for your tips, suggestions or recommendations for improving, upscaling or replicating the experience.

© 2018, CTA. Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation

CTA is a joint institution operating under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP Group of States (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) and the EU Member States (European Union). CTA is funded by the European Union.