As platforms for dialogue non-governmental organizations play an important role in facilitating the inclusion of a diversity of views in the debates and decisions that shape society. However, to successfully influence societal development non-governmental organizations need to develop and mobilize their capacities. This paper argues that organizational capacities can be developed and mobilized with strategic dialogues, which can be enabled and fostered with network strategic assessment approaches. Through a case study, research was carried out to draw experiences from designing a network strategic assessment approach in the context of a network-based non-governmental organization that aims to strengthen the development of its members and communities. Even though conceptualizing the network strategic assessment approach was challenging, research results were participant engagement, process ownership and strategic dialogues. It is argued that by fostering strategic dialogues network strategic assessment approaches allow networks to synchronize and mainstream their strategic elements in the daily activities of their member organizations. Moreover, it is claimed that such approaches contribute to integrate aspects of capacity development with network planning and decision making, enhancing organizational understanding and performance.
Key words: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), networks, capacity development, dialogue, strategic environmental assessment.
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