These last two weeks have been under the banner of capacity, for different reasons.
- First off because I’ve been working with the successor of a great colleague for communication in the RiPPLE project and it focused a lot on rapid capacity development as the departing colleague would be working only for another 2 weeks before leaving. After almost 3 years in position and a number of activities well in progress, it’s much of a challenge to get her successor up to speed and in delivery mode. Luckily he will have detailed task-based guidelines and a few activities will involve the new organisation of our flying bird.
- Secondly because of long discussions on learning and capacity with my RiPPLE colleague and friend Livia. The recent reading of an excellent paper by IDS ‘capacities for a change’ have fuelled our reflections on the understanding of capacity.
- Finally, this week is the week of the world water forum and i am taking part to a couple of sessions on learning and capacity.
What are the common threads coming out of these happenings?
- All (good quality) development is essentially about capacity development (CD) and a joint process whereby both parties are learning to work together;
- Capacity is important at personal, organisational and institutional level: it is in the combination that development work proves most valuable;
- There is still a mixed bag of initiatives unde the label of capacity development but in my view a key criterion is that it aims at empowering the actors involved in these CD activities.
- For Northern partners this means that CD should be liberating from the development discourse inherited from (de)colonization and it should objectively help a) provide as clear a view as possible on their role b) help identify and address weaker areas of their function as partners and most importantly c) make them realise that their end purpose is to disappear (from developing countries), not to grow.
- For Southern partners, well enough books have been published about the topic to really address this at the end of this post!