Reforming the hand that feeds you? Managing capacity development support in Cambodia and Malawi

Niels Keijzer
Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik / German Development Institute
Year of publication: 

This paper analyses the policies and priorities of the governments of Cambodia and Malawi with respect to capacity development support (CDS), based on secondary research evidence and perceptions of effectiveness from a wide range of stakeholders. The study concentrates on the two governments’ overall objectives and strategies on CDS and contrasts these to the situation in the health and education sectors, as two sectors that generate a strong need for capacity development and attract a significant portion of development cooperation. The study concludes that it is not formal strategies and policy frameworks but individual perceptions and attitudes of government officials that decisively influence the role and ability of CDS to support government and develop capacity. In aid-dependent and low-income countries such as Cambodia and Malawi, longer-term CDS interventions are more likely to be effective and sustainable when they promote adaptive and teamwork-oriented approaches under the leadership of strong and respected government officials.