Capacity Development

Capacity Development

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Term2.png CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT
Capacity is the ability of individuals, institutions, and broader systems to perform their functions effectively, efficiently and achieve their development objectives in a sustainable way.[1]. Capacity development is a long process whereby people, organizations and society as a whole unleash, strengthen, create, adapt and maintain capacity over time. [2]

It is a process of change through which the system, institutions and individuals are strengthened in order to better perform core functions, solve problems, define and achieve objectives; and to understand and deal with development needs in a sustainable manner.[3]. It focuses on national capacity to be developed, such as:[4]


  • The capacity to set objectives;
  • The capacity to develop strategies ;
  • The capacity to draw up and implement action plans;
  • The capacity to develop and implement appropriate policies;
  • The capacity to develop regulatory and legal frameworks;
  • The capacity to build and manage partnership;
  • The capacity to foster an enabling environment for civil society;
  • The capacity to mobilize and manage resources;
  • The capacity to monitor progress.


Capacity Development needs to be addressed at three levels: individual, institutional and systemic.

At the individual level, capacity development involves enhancing knowledge and skills, and refers to the process of changing attitudes and behaviors, through learning and training. It involves enabling individuals to embark on lifelong learning, building on existing knowledge and skills and extending them in new directions. It also involves learning by doing, participation, ownership and processes to increase performance through changes in management, motivation, morale, and levels of accountability and responsibility.[5]

At the institutional level, capacity development focuses on the performance and functioning capabilities of an institution and it also involves building on existing capacities. This includes developing the mandates, the tools, the guidelines, and the information management systems for the institution. [6]

At the systemic level, capacity development focuses on the creation of the enabling environments – the broad context within which development process takes place – i.e. the overall policy, economic, regulatory, and accountability frameworks within which institutions and individuals operate. Without these conditions, newly acquired skills rapidly erode, or become obsolete. [7]


Link icon.png Web Resources
Link Content
Learning package on capacity development The Learning Network on Capacity Development (LenCD) has put together a set of freely accessible learning materials on capacity development directed particularly at the national and sector levels.


References

  1. Handbook in Assessment of Institutional Sustainability, NORAD, 2000; Capacity Development – Occasional Series, Canadian International Development Agency, Policy Branch, 2000; Knowledge Services and Learning – A UNDP Capacity Development Resource, UNDP, November 2006
  2. The challenge of capacity development, working towards good practice, OECE , 2006
  3. National Capacity Self-Assessments: A Resource Kit, UNDP/GEF, October 2004
  4. Developing capacity through technical cooperation, Stephen Browne, UNDP, 2002
  5. The challenge of capacity development, working towards good practice, 2006; Country Capacity Development Needs and Priorities: A Synthesis, CDI, October 2000; Capacity for Development – New Solutions to Old Problems, S.Fukuda-Parr, C.Lopes, K. Malik, OECE, 2002
  6. National Capacity Self-Assessments: A Resource Kit, UNDP/GEF, October 2004; Capacity for Development – New Solutions to Old Problems, S.Fukuda-Parr, C.Lopes, K. Malik, 2002
  7. Handbook in Assessment of Institutional Sustainability, NORAD, 2000, Capacity for Development – New Solutions to Old Problems, S.Fukuda-Parr, C.Lopes, K. Malik, 2002