Assessment of a partner country's institutions will clarify their role in implementation of the intervention (target group/beneficiary and/or implementing partner). INTPA counterparts and partners are generally institutions, a term which covers a broad range of actors, including national and local authorities, international organisations and village associations. All institutions have a mandate, whether formal or informal, and a political dimension, even when not part of the public sector. Assessing institutions thus means analysing not only their technical capacity, but also their role and relationship in the framework of the public policy analysis as well as in relation to expected results.
The effective role and capacity of an institution to implement an intervention, and its political willingness to do so, will influence the choice of modality, partnership and specific activities. A thorough institutional analysis is needed at the outset of the design phase. If reforming the institution is not the outcome of the intervention, institutions must be assessed in their capacity to perform their mandate in relation to the intervention. When weaknesses are identified, they should be considered in the risk assessment. Mitigation measures, including appropriate capacity development components, must be integrated in the intervention design to support institutional internal change and capacity strengthening. If the intervention requires establishing new institutions (e.g. cross-ministerial coordination) or new curricula (e.g. in vocational schools), this should be factored into the duration and budget of the intervention, as well as in the formulation of expected results.
Note that "institutions" are rarely homogenous entities. Within a ministry, different departments may have different interests and agendas; in a village, different population groups may have different objectives. Within a government, the perspectives of sector ministries and horizontal ministries (e.g. the ministry of finance versus the ministry of planning) may not coincide.