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  • In 2003, the new governor of Minas Gerais, Brazil, pledged to improve government efficiency and serve citizens better. Residents of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s fourth-largest state by area and second largest by population, had long bemoaned the difficulty of obtaining such vital documents as work permits, passports, and driver’s licenses, which are issued by a variety of federal, state, and local agencies. In 1996, the state government tried to solve the problem by experimenting with 26 one-stop shops that integrated related citizen services under a single roof, but the shops failed to...
  • Organization development (OD) is an important area of capacity development practice to improve food and nutrition security, reduce poverty and promote sustainable development. OD is a powerful instrument that helps to analyse and engage in complex situations or contexts and discover effective ways to promote processes of organizational change. Learning Module 4 is the fourth in the FAO capacity development series. It aims to create a basic understanding of OD and system thinking approaches, as even a basic understanding can cultivate a new way of working. It reflects the learning experience,...
  • Between 1998 and 2009, the South African Revenue Service dramatically improved tax compliance.  The number of income-tax payers increased to 4.1 million from 2.6 million during the period.  Several internal organizational changes helped the revenue service persuade more South Africans to pay their taxes.  This case study tells the story of two of those changes in particular: the recruitment of a new cadre of managers from both within and outside the organization and a campaign to provide taxpayers with better service to encourage compliance.  The organization used...
  • As South Africa approached its first fully democratic elections in 1994, the disparate groups negotiating the transition from apartheid needed to demarcate the country’s revised internal political boundaries. By 1993, the negotiators had agreed that the new constitution would divide the country into provinces, but the thorniest issues remained: the number of provinces and their borders. Lacking reliable population data and facing extreme time pressure, the decision makers confronted explosive political challenges. South Africa in the early 1990s was a patchwork of provinces and “...
  • This guidance is primarily designed for use by all UN staff based in crisis and post-conflict settings.  While UNDG guidance on capacity development has been available for some time, the release of this Guidance Note marks a unique occasion.  Not only is this the first time that guidance on developing national capacities has been produced for the entire UN system, but it is also the first time that such guidance has incorporated the specific lens required for crisis settings. The Guidance Note was drafted in response to a request of the Secretary-General, in his report on civilian...
  • While donors’ efforts to support evaluation capacities of developing countries have increased over the last 20 years, this rapid review of the literature finds a limited evidence base on evaluation capacity development (ECD) approaches and their effectiveness. There are more reports of innovative and good practices than rigorous evidence on what has worked. Nevertheless, the literature identifies key lessons for ECD approaches, including: The fundamental principles of being demand-driven; context-specific; focused on strengthening incentives; working with evaluation systems; addressing...
  • Capacity development (CD) emerged in the 1990s from a reassessment of earlier approaches to technical cooperation. (Pearson 2011b, p. 10) It is now “gaining greater prominence in international discussions on the performance and future of development cooperation” (Keijzer et al. 2011, p. 7) and continues to be identified as key constraint in development analysis and political statements. (expert comments ) International declarations such as the Accra Agenda for Action (2008), Cairo Consensus on Capacity Development (2011), and the Busan 4th High-Level Forum (2011) have recognised...
  • Lack of an enabling legal framework, poor quality of secondary-school education, an absence of research leaders and role models, and the relatively low priority attached to research are all frequently cited as barriers to research capacity development in developing countries as a whole, and Africa in particular (Whitworth et al 2008). Studies have noted that previous research capacity strengthening interventions have largely focused on knowledge generation, and less attention has been paid to the dissemination and communication of research (Jones et al 2007). Recommendations for future...
  • There is a wide and diverse literature on technical assistance, much of which refers to addressing knowledge and capacity gaps in lower- and middle-income countries. This report identifies some novel or emerging approaches which appear to move away from the traditional approaches that commonly centre on short-term filling of capacity gaps and being primarily donor-driven. Emerging approaches tend to emphasise empowerment and leadership by the beneficiary country, use of their country systems, and exchange of experiences as peers. There is a greater focus on longer term impacts and...
  • This report analyses foreign aid to capacity development in central state institutions in fragile situations. The report discusses five cases with relatively successful outcomes in Afghanistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and South Sudan These cases show that interventions tend to succeed if they fit well the given situation and context (donor, sector, conflict etc.). This does not imply conforming to the context. In some cases the initiative, which seems to fit the context, may be one that finds a window of opportunity to confront specific malfunctions. Several issues appear as vital for...
  • In the early 1990s, a string of high-level corruption scandals in Botswana outraged citizens and undercut the country’s reputation for good governance and fiscal prudence. In 1994, the government created the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), responsible for combating corruption through investigation, prevention, and education. The DCEC won global recognition for its innovative preventive and educational efforts, ranging from preventive units embedded within problem-prone government offices to outreach programs for youth and rural...
  • From the 1960s to the early 1990s, Ghana’s Cabinet-level policy management system deteriorated as multiple coups d’état produced abrupt changes in government. Many competent civil servants either left or were pushed out. Ministries submitted policy documents to the Cabinet that lacked essential information ministers required to evaluate the wisdom and feasibility of proposals. Ministries rarely cooperated with each other. But beginning in 2003, a newly formed policy unit in the presidency partnered with the Canadian International Development Agency to...
  • Until 2001, Morocco’s Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale (CNSS, or National Social Security Fund) did its job unevenly, inefficiently, and, critics said, often unfairly. Although the fund was meant to provide insurance for all private sector employees, it covered only about half of them. It had no proper accounting and was mismanaged and corrupt to the extent that it had lost the trust of companies, workers, and politicians. In 2001, the CNSS’s new director general, Mounir Chraïbi, moved to improve service delivery and increase enrollment in response to a parliamentary...
  • This paper analyses to what extent the aid- and development- effectiveness agenda has been applied in the area of capacity development support (CDS), with a specific focus on the use of developing-country systems. The paper is based on a literature review and a limited number of semi-structured interviews, as well as a review of available research evidence on CDS practices in Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda and Vietnam. Three main conclusions are drawn from this paper. First of all, available research confirms that aid- and development-effectiveness achievements in the area of capacity development...
  • The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) launched the inaugural version of its Africa Capacity Indicators Flagship Report in 2011. The Africa Capacity Indicators Report (ACIR) measures and empirically assesses capacity in relation to the development agenda in African countries. The ACIR also highlights key determinants and components of capacity for development. To this end, the ACIR maps out the capacity development landscape in Africa with the goal of sharpening the focus on capacity deficits as a major development policy issue. The ACI (Africa Capacity Index) is the report’s...
  • Existing community managed systems in Rwanda suffered from a lack of accountability as well as low technical and administrative skills. This contributed to poor cost recovery and hampered the rehabilitation of water supply infrastructures, leading to many dysfunctional water points. SNV Netherlands Development Organisation facilitated the establishment of public–private partnerships between two public water utilities, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Aquavirunga, a private company that manages three water schemes. A crucial element of SNV's support was contributing to the...
  • Until 1994, the Brazilian state of Bahia delivered public services with little attention to efficiency or effectiveness. Citizens found it difficult to obtain basic documents like birth certificates, identification cards, and work permits, which were essential to earning a livelihood and participating in political life. Because issuing centers were mainly in urban areas with limited operating hours, citizens in interior areas were underserved, and applicants often had to wait in long lines and visit offices on different floors or shuttle between various buildings to fulfill all requirements....
  • In 2005, in a bid to foster decentralized participatory development, the Government of Cameroon (GoC) under the Ministry of Economy, Programming and Economic Development (MINEPAT) in collaboration with the World Bank and other bilateral organisations put in place a National Community Driven Development Programme (PNDP). The design of this programme is in consonance with the Growth and Employment Strategy (GESP) and Vision 2035 geared toward improving the socio-economic conditions of the population, especially those in the rural areas by reducing poverty and enhancing opportunities for growth...
  • Governance constraints and weak institutions are a major cause of poor public service delivery in developing countries, yet there is little evidence on whether and how aid can help to release or ameliorate such constraints. Evidence that does exist tends to focus on the impact of particular types of accountability structures (such as user committees and citizen report cards). In contrast, little research has considered the broader implications of governance constraints for the design and delivery of aid programmes. To address this gap, this study looks at four aid programmes in lower-...
  • In the early 1980s, the poor condition of roads and other infrastructure in remote areas of the Philippines hindered economic growth and heightened regional inequalities. A major problem was the central government’s inability to follow through on its own improvement projects in far-flung regions of the 7,100-island archipelago. In 1986, President Corazon Aquino created the Community Employment and Development Program, which changed the way the government managed its rural public works program. Her administration empowered citizens to monitor the progress and quality of construction. In...