Toolkit for Capacity Development

European Commission
European Commission
Year of publication: 

The purpose of this document is to improve planning and implementation of capacity development, including dialogue about and support to such processes from development partners.

The approach and the tools presented are developed to assist practitioners, including staff and managers in public organisations who are tasked with developing the capacity of a sector, a subsector or an individual organisation. Consultants, as well as staff from the European Commission (EC) or other development partners who wish to support endogenous CD processes, can use the tools to structure their dialogue about CD and CD processes with partners.

The tools serve particularly in the context of a broad sector perspective, where several organisations may be part of a sector-wide CD process. The tools may also be useful for CD processes in individual organisations.

The toolkit is designed for decision-making and planning at the strategic level, helping to ensure attention to questions such as the following:

  • What symptoms and root causes explain the present capacity situation in sector organisations, and what does that mean for the options for CD?
  • What is the effective demand for CD and change, and is it bigger than the resistance to and cost of change?
  • What local capacity is available to manage a CD process?
  • How can local stakeholders design an output-focused CD process?
  • How can external development partners support CD?

In the implementation of more complex CD or reform processes, practitioners are likely to draw on a variety of other tools from disciplines of organisational development, management, change management and process consulting. The tools in this document do not replace such operational tools.

The tools are primarily helpful for partner-led diagnosis and planning of CD. They support analytical work by government and non-governmental actors. They feed into sector diagnostics and subsequent plans for CD-oriented sector support from the EC.

All CD tools — including those in this guide — must be used with caution. The tools may ease communication, order information and remind users about what they should pay attention to in and around CD processes. They can be used to facilitate analysis, dialogue and decision-making, but do not substitute for these processes.

The tools in the guide have to be used selectively based on sound judgment. They are NOT intended to be applied sequentially in a short and compressed period of time. The dynamics of a country-led dialogue, analysis and formulation process related to CD must guide the use of the instruments.