In any endeavor to promote change, early consideration is given to the entry points to the
system in question. To improve a community, for example, is it more effective to provide
direct assistance to residents, support the development of organizations and institutions that
provide services to the community, or develop the capacity of individuals in leadership roles in
For many, the logical entry point is at the level of those who lead the organizations that
work for change. Build their skills, the theory goes, and the organization’s ability to affect change
will grow, and the...
Feedback is the dynamic process of presenting and disseminating information to improve performance. Feedback mechanisms are increasingly being recognized as key elements of learning before, during, and after. Assessments by executing agencies of the effectiveness of assistance in capacity development are prominent among these.
This report of the Task Force on Capacity Development in Africa analyzes four decades of capacity development experience in Africa and offers key messages for African countries and their international partners that should underpin a renewed effort to develop, use, and retain capacity for development in Sub Saharan Africa. It also presents specific recommendations of how the World Bank, as a leading development agency in the region, should step up its analytical, financial, and operational contribution tocapacity development as part of a coordinated international effort under the Paris...
This book is about developing the capacity to transform these choices and means
into real progress. Grounded in ownership, guided by leadership, and informed by
confidence and self-esteem, capacity development is the ability of people, institutions
and societies to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve
objectives. It embodies the fundamental starting point for improving people’s lives.
There is now a growing understanding that capacity development unfolds
over the long-term, and can easily be undercut by insistence on short-term
results. An endogenous strengthening of...
The study is to focus on the delivery of public goods and services in five sectors: health, education, water, sanitation, and electricity. This report presents the main findings and conclusions from the study.
The main purposes of the synthesis study are to:
Draw lessons from existing evaluation reports and other studies focusing on good and innovative modes of assistance to capacity development in low-income countries;
Indicate knowledge gaps regarding the effectiveness of these interventions;
Propose a framework for how the impact of these innovative modes of capacity development...
Every year, ADB invests substantial resources in assisting its counterpart executing agencies to increase their capacities. The idea for this study stemmed from a view among senior staff of ADB's South Asia Department that there was considerable scope to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of ADB's capacity development interventions in South Asia. The analysis is based on a sample of CD interventions from the rural infrastructure and power sectors in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka; the capital markets subsector in Bangladesh; and the livestock subsector in Nepal. The study analyzes the...
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee has defined capacity development as "the process whereby people, organizations, and society as a whole unleash, strengthen, create, adapt, and maintain capacity over time." ADB has adopted this definition. ADB formally recognized the importance of capacity development in August 2004, when the comprehensive Reform Agenda was adopted and capacity development became one of 19 reform initiatives. Promoting capacity development was then also elevated as a new thematic priority in ADB lending...
The Bank has made its support for capacity building in Africa more relevant by extending its traditional focus beyond building organizations and individual skills to strengthening institutions and demand for improved public services, and by shifting to programmatic support. Still, most support for capacity building in country programs remains fragmented—designed and managed project by project. This makes it difficult to capture cross-sectoral issues and opportunities, and to learn lessons across operations.
The challenges of capacity building vary markedly across countries and sectors....
What is the measure of capacity? This paper on Measuring Capacity attempts to help development practitioners
unbundle this question. First, by defining the starting point: an institution’s ability to perform, sustain performance
over time, and manage change and shocks; second, by offering programmatic responses that can drive
improvement in these areas; and third, by presenting a framework for capturing the resulting change.
The strength of institutions is central to the achievement of national development goals. Increasingly, development
programmes aim to strengthen various aspects of...
ECDPM recently published the final report of a five year research programme on capacity, change and performance.
This research provides fresh perspectives on the topic of capacity and its development. It does so by highlighting endogenous perspectives: how capacity develops from within, rather than focusing on what outsiders do to induce it. The research also embraces ideas on capacity development drawn from literature outside the context of development cooperation.
Although the research draws implications for international development cooperation, it does not specifically examine donor...
Capacity and capacity development have been pervasive concepts in international development cooperation since the late 1980s. But for most of the 1990s, both capacity as an outcome and capacity development as a process –what we call in this report capacity issues – attracted little in the way of serious research. This pattern began to change in 2001 with a major UNDP initiative entitled Reforming Technical Cooperation, which was critical of the weak contribution of technical assistance to capacity development. In late 2002, the Department for International Development (DFID)...
Capacity development has become a strategic objective of aid and development. There is a common consensus on the need to have a capacity development perspective for development effectiveness and aid effectiveness.
By focusing on individual and/or institutional capacity development processes, the RAC provides findings that go beyond what other existing instruments usually offer.
The RAC builds on current EC Technical Cooperation reform (i.e. Backbone strategy) and the Aid Effectiveness agenda. It has been integrated into the new EC Project and Programme Cycle management.
The RAC purpose...
In 1996, Mongolia’s newly elected government, led by a group of market-oriented politicians, decided to reform civil service on the New Zealand New Public Management model, which required managers to sign contracts promising results in exchange for freedom to spend their budgets as they chose. The reforms were intended to modernize a civil service that, while legally changed since democratization in 1990, retained many of the characteristics, and staff, of the previous Soviet-modeled system. Reformers confronted a lack of robust accountability procedures, salary arrears and a lack of...
Between 1998 and 2003, Rajeev Chawla, the joint secretary of the Revenue Department in India's Karnataka state, led a drive to computerize the state's land records. Before computerization, farmers were at the mercy of local village accountants, who often charged informal fees in exchange for land records, which they issued slowly nonetheless. Chawla, benefiting from strong state-levelpolitical support and national funding, replaced the manual system with a digital one, speeding up the process and reducing village accountants' ability to solicit bribes. Working with a...
Papua New Guinea decentralized power to newly formed provincial governments shortly after declaring independence from Australia in 1975. The process was driven largely by demands for increased autonomy for Bougainville, the most distant of PNG's island provinces and home to what was then one of the world's most lucrative copper mines. The central government sought to keep the island part of PNG by satisfying Bougainvilleans' desire for a greater degree of self-rule without devolving so much power that outright secession seemed feasible. The resulting system of...
In 1995, the government of Papua New Guinea under Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan enacted a sweeping reform of its system of provincial and local government. The reform aimed to address the challenges resulting from the country’s first two decades of decentralized government. Although decentralization was originally intended to provide a degree of autonomy to provinces and local governments in the interest of economic development, by 1985 corruption, nepotism and poor administration at the provincial level had deprived local governments and communities of the...
Between April and July 1994, as forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Front swept through the country and put an end to a government-led slaughter of an estimated 800,000 people, one of the challenges was to create a government presence and provide basic services in the war-torn country. In order to govern during the crisis, several of the RPF's civilian leaders conducted a daring experiment. When they captured territory in the chaotic aftermath of the genocide, these leaders, who were active in approximately one-third of the country, adapted the RPF's own structure as a form of...
President Suharto of Indonesia (1967-1998) presided over one of the most corrupt regimes of the 20th century. For over three decades, the political and financial interests of Suharto's family, cronies and allies in the military dictated the policies of the Indonesian state. Nevertheless, a handful of public officials attempted to rationalize, improve and clean up the way government worked. Emil Salim and Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, both cabinet ministers under Suharto, were two such men. The pair struggled to manage the influence of the military, motivate a moribund...
When Tarun Gogoi was elected chief minister of the Indian state of Assam in 2001, the government's finances were in shambles, key public enterprises were on the verge of collapse, and two decades of violence between insurgents and the police and armed forces had created deep insecurity among the citizenry. The main insurgent group, the United Liberation Front of Asom, continued to threaten the state's ability to govern the countryside. Faced with poverty and insurgency, with the former often feeding the latter, Gogoi set development ahead of peace-building on his list of...
The government of Mozambique began to decentralize in the early 1990s as the country emerged from 16 years of civil war. The minister of state administration, Aguiar Mazula, pushed for greater citizen involvement at local levels of government, an agenda that opened the sensitive issue of what role would be played by traditional leaders, or chiefs, who wielded strong community influence. Because many chiefs had cooperated with the country’s former colonial powers, the ruling party sidelined traditional leaders and played down related customs when it came to power in 1975. ...