Non-profit Organisations’ capacity-building in small cities: Exploring current practices, challenges and opportunities in central Saudi Arabia

  • Abdullah Albagieh

Student thesis: Phd


The role of non-profit organisations (NPOs) in development is vital, especially with the recent economic and political challenges and crises. NPOs are among the leading players in the third sector, they provide several services to less fortunate people. In small cities and rural areas, NPOs play a more critical role as people are in more need of their services. Building NPOs' capacities will be reflected in NPOs’ effectiveness, sustainability, outreach and quality of services. Thus, building NPOs’ capacities in small cities will enable and sustain development efforts. After exploring the extent of previous research work on the third sector in Saudi Arabia, there is a gap in third-sector studies that examine NPOs' performance and capabilities. Furthermore, there is a gap in research work on NPOs' capacity-building in Saudi Arabia. More specifically, also there is a gap in studies on the third sector in small cities in Saudi Arabia. In this research, NPOs' current capacity-building practices, challenges and enhancements are explored in small cities in the central region of Saudi Arabia. To give the research a different perspective, donors' positions and views on supporting NPOs' capacity-building were investigated. This research was conducted by adopting qualitative mixed methods where 35 NPO managers were interviewed, 52 NPO employees participated via a qualitative questionnaire, 10 Grant Making Organisation (GMO) managers participated in two group discussions and 12 GMOs granting policies were reviewed. Even though the results showed a positive atmosphere regarding NPOs' capacity-building with several practices, there is room for improvement, such as enhancing capacity-building conceptualisation to improve and expand current practices. Second, better communication is required to enhance the alignment in practices and priorities between NPOs, government and donors. Collective work will tackle many difficulties in building NPOs' capacities. This research highlights the crucial role of GMOs in supporting NPOs' capacities, which requires a strengthened partnership between NPOs in small cities and GMOs to plan and implement capacity-building programmes.
Date of Award1 Aug 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMohammad Farhad Hossain (Supervisor) & Christopher Rees (Supervisor)


  • Capacity building
  • Grant Making Organisations
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Non-Profit Organisations
  • Third Sector

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