Understanding capacity development
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Understanding capacity development
Tools and conceptual frameworks on how the strengthen human, organizational and systems capabilities
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Does DFID Do Developmnt Differently? | From Poverty to Power

Does DFID Do Developmnt Differently? | From Poverty to Power | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
ODI researchers have both supported & recorded DFID's efforts to move to adaptive management/doing development differently approaches. Highlights of new report
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

So true, Duncan Green! Adaptive management is easier said than done. Even the more innovative and flexible donors find it "easier to admit uncertainty on context than on intervention."

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Sustaining public sector capability in developing countries

Sustaining public sector capability in developing countries | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

We explore why sustained improvements in capability have been elusive, which donor-supported interventions have worked well, and why, across 34 cases.

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The Barefoot Guide Connection

The Barefoot Guide Connection | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

The Fourth Edition of the Bare Foot Guide to Social Change titled "Exploring the Real Work of Social Change" was launched in March 2015 at the World Social Forum in Tunis.


Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

Like previous guides, Barefoot Guide 4 (BFG4) is a rich and creative compilation of reflections, practical experiences, learnings and questions written by activists, civil society leaders, development practitioners and students from many countries. The topics covered in the book range from issues of power and the struggle for social change to explorations of how to truly engage individuals and communities, and measure the impact of change processes. The book closes with a critical reflection of what is needed to create a truly global citizens movement.


The book is structured as follows:

CHAPTER 1: Histories of social change: from way back into the future… Working with Questions: What is Social Change and Resistance to Change?

CHAPTER 2: Start counting from one: Individuals and social change Working with Questions: How do we See and Work with Power?

CHAPTER 3: Creating space and time for learning to enable social change Working with Questions: What is Horizontal Learning and how can it Contribute to Social Change?

CHAPTER 4: How communities change: from despair to possibility... Working with Questions: What is our primary role as development practitioners?

CHAPTER 5: Through the gathering storms: From community to societal change Working with Questions: What social change approaches and strategies work best?

CHAPTER 6: Rigorous humility: Measuring and evaluating the real work of social change Working with Questions: What Kinds of Organizations and Leadership do we Need to Face the Future?

CHAPTER 7: Another World is Possible and is Already Happening: Towards a Great Transition through a Global Citizens Movement 
Working with Questions: Who is Participating in whose Process?


Work on BFG5, which will focus on evaluation for social change is underway.

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Creating your theory of change: NPC's practical guide - NPC

Creating your theory of change: NPC's practical guide - NPC | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
A theory of change is a tool that allows you to describe the need you are trying to address, the changes you want to make (your outcomes), and what you plan to do (your activities). It can help you improve your strategy, measurement, communication and partnership working.
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Developing Capacities for Sustainable Change: Week 1 Summary | Capacity.org

Developing Capacities for Sustainable Change: Week 1 Summary | Capacity.org | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

The CGIAR Capacity Development (CapDev) Community of Practice and Capacity.org are convening a series of e-discussions aimed at developing a peer-sharing platform for professionals involved with developing capacities across agricultural innovation. 

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

The inaugural discussion takes place over three weeks this August and addresses definitions, key terms and concepts of capacity development. You can read the moderator's summary of the first week's contributions and join the conversation at http://bit.ly/XLblHw
(No registration required).

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Developing capacities for sustainable change: Definitions, key terms and concepts | E-discussion

Developing capacities for sustainable change: Definitions, key terms and concepts | E-discussion | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

Launched on 1 August 2014, this is the first in a series of e-discussions convened by the CGIAR Capacity Development (CapDev) Community of Practice and Capacity.org.

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

The aim of the discussions is to create a peer-sharing platform for professionals involved in developing capacities across agricultural innovation systems and to highlight new learning(s) about effective ways to transform research outputs into development outcomes

Each discussion will take place over a two-month period.


The main outcomes of the first e-discussion will inform subsequent discussions, for which teams of co-moderators, organizers and partners are invited to participate.


To join the e-discussion, please register at the following link: http://bit.ly/1oeC8kD


Related documents:

Concept note

Discussion questions

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Capacity Development 2 - Itad

Capacity Development 2 is a conceptual framework that explores the latest thinking on capacity development and the roles that social media and new digital tools play.
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

With capacity development increasingly seen as an "outdated" concept in some quarters, should practitioners be reinventing themselves. One knowledge management network is exploring this issue.

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Olivia Millard's curator insight, June 11, 2014 2:49 PM

Capacity.org's summary: "with capacity development increasingly seen as an "outdated" concept in some quarters, should practitioners be reinventing themselves? One knowledge management network is exploring the issue."


My insight: right on, can't wait to dig into this blog.

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Localising development: does participation work? | Event | Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Localising development: does participation work? | Event | Overseas Development Institute (ODI) | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
Does decentralisation always ensure that government is brought closer to – and is more accountable to – local populations? This event will therefore reflect on a range of experience from research and practice, to explore whether community participation, and under what conditions, leads to greater accountability and better outcomes.
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

The discussion will draw on findings contained in the 2012 World Bank Policy Research Report: Localising development: does participation work?’, examining community development and decentralisation projects around the world, which finds that such projects often fail to be sensitive to complex contexts and that they are not a substitute for weak central states.


The event takes place on 9 June 2014 13:00-14:30 GMT+01 and will be streamed live.


More information and links to background materials at: http://www.odi.org.uk/events/3926-localising-development-does-participation-work

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Better Participatory Democracy through Systems Thinking

Better Participatory Democracy through Systems Thinking | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
During our recent Systems Thinking World Meaning and Value discussion, I stated that, "I can see systems thinking being a scaffolding system for direct deliberative participatory democracy..." The discussion motivated me to start pursuing the...
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

Two interesting blogposts on how systems thinking models such as Insightmaker can help in thinking about pathways to community empowerment and building "direct, deliberative [and] participatory community-based governance."

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FAO learning module on organizational analysis and development | Capacity.org

FAO learning module on organizational analysis and development | Capacity.org | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

The learning module aims to build the capacity of actors involved in sustainable agriculture and rural development by providing a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of organizational change and development.

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

The module is organized in five substantive chapters. Chapters 1 to 4 provide an overview of conceptual frameworks and processes used in organizational analysis, development and monitoring, with one chapter dedicated to multistakeholder processes.


Chapter 5 provides a practical "toolbox" containing 20 toolsets and accompanying exercise sheets with instructions on how to assess, design, implement and measure organizational change.  The exercises enable the implementation of the tools in collective discussions during workshops, meetings or multi-stakeholder consultations.

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Building the new skills of the connected workplace | Online courses from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies

Building the new skills of the connected workplace | Online courses from the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
Becoming a successful business in the networked era will require more than just the adoption of social technologies. Developing, supporting, and encouraging people to use a range of new social work...
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

Three upcoming online workshops (November/December 2013) that, according to the trainers, "are intended to provide a semi- structured approach that’s necessary to kickstart the informal, social learning that will be needed to become proficient." 

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Change Management Fails for Three Reasons

Change Management Fails for Three Reasons | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
There is a way to successfully engage large-scale organizational change. It's complex. It's takes longer. It's more expensive. But it works.
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

This article presents a 9-phase "Change Leaders' Roadmap" that helps change managers navigate some common mistakes in organizational change processes. 

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FAO Capacity Development Portal: Good Practices

Resource base on "good" capacity development practices and case studies from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

The case studies provide insights on how to support existing capacities and assets across three overlapping and interconnected layers: individual, institutional and policy.

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Six things that help grant-makers learn and adapt - Itad

Six things that help grant-makers learn and adapt - Itad | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
There’s an emerging body of literature identifying key strategies that can both improve learning and enable adaptive management amongst grant-makers. We recently reviewed a host of publications from eight grant-making organisations. Those organisations have diverse aims and approaches but we’ve identified six common themes that stand out: Strong leadership and facilitation enables successful learning and …
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

A helpful overview of recent studies on how to build a learning culture within funding organizations. If donors learn then its more likely that they will support learning in the organizations they fund. Charity begins at home!

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From Poverty to Power » Where have we got to on Theories of Change? Passing fad or paradigm shift?

From Poverty to Power » Where have we got to on Theories of Change? Passing fad or paradigm shift? | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

...the concept remains very fuzzy, partly because (according to a useful survey by Isobel Vogel) ToCs originated from two very different kinds of thought: evaluation, (trying to clarify the links between inputs and outcomes) and social action, especially participatory and consciously reflexive approaches.

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

In this interesting blog post, Oxfam's Duncan Green notes that organizations need to find a way to clarify this "conceptual confusion" by finding "new words to describe the different understandings and approaches to ToCs."


During a workshop on Theories of Change in International Development at ODI, UK, on 7 April 2015, participants discussed attempts to find more meaningul approaches to ToCs in practice, building on the work of The Asia Foundation, the UK's Comic Relief review and CARE, among others. Among some useful insights gained during the discussions, Green highlights the role that ToCs can play in "opening up a conversation with donors about more realistic programmes and aims" and "making explicit a lot of the implicit/tactic knowledge and analysis that underpin what aid agencies actually do."


On the way forward, Green stresses the need to "consciously differentiate between ToCs as a bigger, better blueprint, all designed up front," and ToCs as a compass for "helping us find our way through the fog of complex systems, discovering a path as we go along." He notes that achieving this will require helping people  "overcome their hunger for the certainty, however illusory, provided by linearity and up front design." 


The blog concludes with a call to NGOs and others to emulate TAF's example by "offering themselves up as guinea pigs"  in order to demonstrate some quick wins from using ToCs.

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Capacity development - the 7 habits of highly successful international development organisations - START Network

Capacity development - the 7 habits of highly successful international development organisations - START Network | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
David Hockaday, Transition Manager   In February 2014 the Capable Partners Learning Agenda on Local Organization Capacity Development published a fascinating report investigating the degree of alignment between local organizations and pro-national policy shifts in a major donor (in this case USAID). This is a broad ranging study which took place over 16 months between
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

Based on a broad ranging study of 300+ organizations, this report highlights the importance of focusing on genuine partnerships and local capacity building by international development organizations.

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Training

Training | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
 Complex Adaptive Systems for Development Professional Development Programme,  8-13 February 2015 Building Skills to Apply Complex Systems Approaches in Development and Humanitarian Work Dates Sund...
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

The Complex Adaptive Systems for Development Programme has been developed to meet the needs of practitioners, researchers and policy makers working in development and humanitarian contexts who want to deepen their skills in the approaches, methods and tools employed by leading complex systems researchers.

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DIY toolkit for triggering and supporting social innovation

DIY toolkit for triggering and supporting social innovation | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
This is a toolkit on how to invent, adopt or adapt ideas that can deliver better results. It’s quick to use, simple to apply, and designed to help busy people working in development.     ...
Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

This open access resource provides a short introduction video to the toolkit, and links for exploring available tools.

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Understanding Capacity Development | New online learning course starts 6 Oct

This second edition of the online course is co-organized by DiploFoundation and the Learning Network on Capacity Development (LenCD).

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

The training course is designed to explore how capacity development practice should adapt to keep pace with the changing face of international development: from simple financial aid and technical cooperation towards a complex new paradigm that encourages and demands active involvement and ownership from the people and communities involved in aid programmes. The main focus of the course is on building practical skills for better design, planning, implementation and assessment of capacity development initiatives.


The course will cover a broad spectrum of capacity development concepts and implementation approaches. Specific topics to be addressed  include:

  • Introduction to capacity development
  • Assessing existing capacity and defining capacity needs
  • Assessing change readiness, and mapping and influencing stakeholders
  • Formulating capacity goals and objectives, and capacity indicators
  • Designing a capacity development approach
  • Measuring capacity outcomes and results
  • Developing monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes; and working with incentives to stimulate change
  • Review and wrap-up; establishing partnerships for scale-up. 


For more information, please visit the DiploFoundation website at http://www.diplomacy.edu/courses/capacity

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From Poverty to Power » New research shows aid agencies get better results if they stop trying to control their people on the ground, especially in complex environments (and performance monitoring ...

From Poverty to Power » New research shows aid agencies get better results if they stop trying to control their people on the ground, especially in complex environments (and performance monitoring ... | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

"freedom to adapt and respond improves results for most programmes but most especially for complex projects."

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

See also the related blog post on what aid workers can learn from complex systems thinking, available at:

http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/can-complex-systems-thinking-provide-useful-tools-for-aid-workers-draft-paper-on-some-dfid-pilot-experiments-for-your-comments/

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Our Healthy Alliance: Online assessment tool to strengthen social change alliances

Our Healthy Alliance: Online assessment tool to strengthen social change alliances | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

Our Healthy Alliance was designed by experienced alliance consultants—and tested by seasoned alliance leaders—to help alliances increase their capacity to be strategic, effective, and sustainable.

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

This practical assessment tool guides alliance leaders and members through the following steps:

  • Assess your strengths and challenges through a survey that alliance staff and members use to reflect and analyze.
  • Interpret the results with an understanding of how alliances evolve and what choices and plans they can make to become more strategic, effective, and sustainable.
  • Begin honest and healthy dialogue informed with ideas for next steps.


The tool can be accessed at: http://ourhealthyalliance.roadmapconsulting.org/

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The Social Learning Handbook 2014

The Social Learning Handbook 2014 | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

Next Generation of Learning Practices in the Age of Knowledge Sharing & Collaboration

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

When we consider what social learning means inside an organization, it’s not just adding social media to instructional programmes or letting people interact with one another. It’s more about helping people learn from one another as they work together – enhanced by collaborative enterprise social tools.

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Local capacity building: Less of a task, more of a long-term investment

Local capacity building: Less of a task, more of a long-term investment | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it
The push for localization means an increasing focus on recruiting in-country. But what is the best way to recruit, develop and train local talent? Recruiters tell Devex what it takes to create a successful local team and why it's worth it.
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Ups and downs in the struggle for accountability – four new real time studies: From Poverty to Power Blog

Ups and downs in the struggle for accountability – four new real time studies: From Poverty to Power Blog | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

This blog highlights some interesting findings from a budget advocacy initiative coordinated by the International Budget Partnership, starting in 2009.

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

Rather than present a selective synthesis of "success stories", the aim of this unique project initiated by the International Budget Partnership and its partners - Fundar and Ibase in Brazil; the Public Sector Accountability Monitor in South Africa; and Haki Elimu in Tanzania - was to document budget advocacy in "real time". The aim was to enhance learning about "how, when and under what circumstancies civil society organization's budget advocacy has impact, and how to scale it up."

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Capacity Development in Practice: Complete Publication | SNV World

Capacity Development in Practice: Complete Publication | SNV World | Understanding capacity development | Scoop.it

A comprehensive introduction to capacity development practice with illustrations from the civic, government and private sectors.

Learning for Development (L4D)'s insight:

For a quick overview of what capacity development entails, the following sections are recommended:

  • The general introduction (containing some definitions);
  • Chapter 1 on ‘ Leading Frameworks’;
  • Chapter 8 on organizational development; and
  • Chapter 22 on ‘Taking Stock’.


The full resource volume presents a comprehensive overview of the domain of capacity development as it has developed to date. A central theme is the need to understand capacity as more than something internal to organizations: capacity also stems from connections between different types of actor and the levels in society at which they operate. The authors provide numerous cases, analytical models and practice methods, while exploring day-to-day dilemmas faced by capacity development practitioners. The resource volume concludes by discussing possible scenarios for the further emergence of CD as a distinct professional field.

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