Core concepts

Definitions, frameworks and theories

Berlin Statement on International Development Training: Final Declaration of the High Level Retreat on the Effectiveness of International Development Training, Berlin, 4-5 June 2008: In response to evaluation studies that brought specific areas of training practice into question a number of development training institutes and representatives of bi- and multilateral development agencies reviewed aspects of their operational effectiveness. This statement is the outcome of their deliberations which identified 7 key messages for operational effectiveness and aid effectiveness of training.

ECDPM: Study on Capacity, Change and Performance, 2008: ECDPM completed a five year research programme entitled “Capacity, Change and Performance". The research provides fresh perspectives on the topic of capacity and its development. It does so by highlighting endogenous perspectives: how capacity develops from within, rather than focusing on what outsiders do to induce it. The research also embraces ideas on capacity development drawn from literature outside the context of development cooperation. Key questions addressed by the study are: What does capacity look like? How does capacity develop endogenously? What is the driving force behind successful capacity development? Does better capacity necessarily lead to better performance? What can outsiders do to support capacity development? This website provides access to a range of documents produced during the course of this research programme.

ECDPM: Capacity development: between planned interventions and emergent processes Implications for development cooperationRecent research on capacity development confirms that capacity development is a far more complex and intractable challenge than is often thought. This brief -- written primarily for decision-makers and managers that support capacity development processes -- indicates alternatives to technocratic approach to capacity development, and implications these innovative approaches have for practice.

GDCR page on Defining Capacity Building

NEPAD

  • AU/NEPAD Capacity Development Strategic Framework (2011) which has six cornerstones: leadership transformation; citizen transformation; knowledge and innovation; using African potential, skills, and resources; capacity of capacity builders; and integrated planning and implementation. 

ODI

OECD/DAC

UNDP

  • Capacity Development: a UNDP Primer (2009), which includes an extensive glossary of terms as well as presenting UNDP's thoughtful approach to capacity development.
  • Knowledge Services and Learning: A UNDP Capacity Development Resource 2006 This is one in a series of UNDP papers examining various aspects of capacity development, and addresses the role that could be played by UNDP and interested development partners. Knowledge services and learning are defined, and related to other relevant concepts, such as human resources development, within the operational and policy contexts of the UN system. The special focus is on education and training.
  • Defining and Measuring Capacity Development Results focuses on 2 levels of results: 1) outcomes as measured by the change in the organizations’ ability to perform, sustain that performance and manage change and shocks (performance, stability and adaptability) and 2) the outputs and products produced or services provided. This measurement document is underpinned by the Capacity Development Primer, which defines five functional capacities: engaging stakeholders; assessing a situation; formula-ting policies and strategies; budgeting, managing and implementing; and evaluating.

Wikipedia 

World Bank Institute:

  • Capacity Development and Results Framework is a step-by-step guide to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of projects and programmes to build capacity at a national or sub-national level. Accepted as WBI’s overarching framework for defining and assessing the results of its capacity development programs, the CDRF emphasizes strengthening stakeholder ownership, improving efficiency of policy instruments, and enhancing effectiveness of organizational arrangements.
  • CapacityDevelopment.ning has a wiki page for CD practitioners to build a shared glossary to improve the understanding and practice of capacity development learning programs and results management.

Advocating for CD

Learning for Change in ADBThe Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) long-term strategic framework for 2008–2020 argues that ADB must play a bigger part in putting the potential of knowledge solutions to work in Asia and the Pacific. It has determined that in order to do this the institution must become more flexible and work with both internal and external learning. Learning for Change in ADB has been developed to offer practical guidance for achieving those ends.

IDS: Capacity for a Change: Report of the first Capacity Collective workshop in 2007 convened by IDS calls for a sea change in approaches to 'capacity development' (CD). Capacity for a Change emphasises dialogue, the importance of learning and promoting empowering relationships, rather than applying limited technical models. 

UNDP: Capacity is development: The Urgency of ‘How’ - What works for Capacity Development? (2009) 

World Bank:

  • Five Key Messages: Recommendations for Capacity Development in Africa  The author discusses key messages emerging from the work of the World Bank’s Task Force on Capacity Development in Africa. He stresses that African governments and societies must take the lead in capacity development, which needs to be approached as a core area of country strategy for growth and poverty reduction. By Callisto Madavo. Development Outreach, September 2005.
  • South-South Capacity Development: The Way to Grow? World Bank Institute, Feb 2007, Issue No. 20  A growing body of evidence suggests that learning and cooperation among developing nations is increasing in both frequency and complexity and expanding from just economic cooperation to include a variety of topics: health, education, communication, research, and development. Due to shared backgrounds and challenges, people in developing nations are banding together as peers to find new and innovative solutions to development issues. Reviews of technical cooperation suggest that South-South learning is often more effective in developing capacity than one-way knowledge transfers from the North. This brief identifies trends in this phenomenon for practitioners of capacity development and highlights some successful cases of South-South learning and cooperation. 
  • Does Training Work? Re-examining Donor-sponsored Training Programs in Developing Countries, WBI 2006 This article examines the available evidence about training as an instrument of capacity development and asks whether it works and under which conditions it is most optimally pursued. The paper compares training from the World Bank and other international donors, with that of private sector firms. The article then considers what conclusions from the private sector can help formulate a better understanding of the optimal conditions for training in a development context.
  • South-South Capacity Development: The Way to Grow? World Bank Institute, Feb 2007, Issue No. 20  A growing body of evidence suggests that learning and cooperation among developing nations is increasing in both frequency and complexity. People in developing nations are coming together to find new and innovative solutions to development issues. Reviews suggest that South-South learning is often more effective in developing capacity than one-way knowledge transfers from the North. The article highlights successful cases of South-South learning and cooperation. 
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