Associations and networks are member-based organizations that can be regional, national, or international. Although their services, objectives, and scope differ, their primary aim is to provide a wide range of support to member organizations. Services they offer might include training and capacity building, facilitating information exchange among members, and consensus building. They often also advocate for and represent their members with governments, donors, or investors.
Associations and networks usually are well-placed to analyze markets, monitor global and regional trends, identify opportunities for collaboration among members and other stakeholders, and undertake research. They can help address legal and regulatory problems and identify potential challenges or issues within the sector they represent. Associations and networks also may provide access to external financing and expertise from larger organizations that are otherwise beyond the reach of individual institutions.
Many associations are nascent organizations and as such might find that they, themselves, face capacity issues and limited funding. Despite this, many donors and other support organizations recognize the important role associations and networks can play and support their development through technical assistance and financial support.