November 2013

Invitations to participate

LenCD Member Survey

LenCD will soon enter its 10th year of activity as a key network for organisations and practitioners working in capacity development. As reaffirmed in the last LenCD assembly, held in Brussels in June, the future of this valuable "knowledge capital" depends on how the network's structure and functions will be adapted to the resources and opportunities available. To this aim the participation of LenCD contributors and interested practitioners is essential. We invite all network members to share your views and priorities with us through a short survey. It won't take you more than 15 minutes but it will be of great importance for the future of the network.

As an incentive, we will award prizes to two randomly-selected respondents: (1) a copy of Jim Armstrong's book Improving International Capacity Development: Bright Spots, which Jim presented at the Brussels learning event, and (2) an Amazon gift certificate worth GBP 30.

Please click through to and let us know what you think!

Network news

New training materials from Maputo CD workshop now available

New training materials developed for the EU delegation in Mozambique to support capacity development in public financial management, rule of law, civil society, and local development are now available to share. The materials were specially developed by Tony Land and Alfredo Mazive for a workshop held in Maputo, Mozambique, 12-14 November 2013. Participants at the workshop included officers of the Government of Mozambique (over half of the participants), staff of the EU delegation, a selection of other development partners (UNDP, GIZ, UNIDO, Italian Cooperation, Portuguese Cooperation), and representatives of civil society.

Capacity Alliance weekly newsletter launched

Capacity Alliance is a collaborative initiative of international development organizations and knowledge networks involved in capacity development policy and practice. Founding partners include APDev,,, LenCD, SNV, and UNDP-KIC. A weekly newsletter delivering news from all partners is now available at, and you can follow Capacity Alliance on Twitter at @cap_alliance.

CD insights: selected case stories, research, and shared experience

Africa Capacity Indicators Data Tool

The Africa Capacity Indicators Data Tool from the Africa Capacity Building Foundation is an interactive dashboard in Microsoft Excel for displaying and analysing data from the 2011-2013 Africa Capacity Indicators Reports (ACIR), which assess capacity and highlight key determinants and components of capacity for development. The Data Tool includes the complete data base of statistics for the three years in the form of an interactive dashboard which does more than just provide a read-out – it is highly interactive, enabling you to perform point-and-click analysis, country and RECs comparisons, scatter plots, etc., easily predicting the outcome of changing variables or circumstances with greater accuracy.

Capacity Development of Central State Institutions in Fragile Situations

This new report from the Danish Institute for International Studies 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 vital for change to occur. First, there has to be strong motivation for capacity development to occur. Second, people are central to institutional change and there is a need to pay close attention both internal and external staff. Third, working with the external relations and environment of an institution may lead to a push for institutional change. Finally, there is a need to balance change in formal systems and procedures with alteration of internal hierarchies and power relations.

Evaluation capacity development

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 fundamental principles of being demand-driven; context-specific; focused on strengthening incentives; working with evaluation systems; addressing demand as well as supply; and integrating human rights and gender equality concerns.

Unfinished Agenda or Overtaken by Events?$FILE/DP%2017.2013.pdf

A new research paper from the Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik confirms that aid- and development-effectiveness achievements in the area of capacity development have been slow, but suggests four windows of opportunity: (1) development partners should decentralise the programming of CD to their embassies and country representations; (2) efforts should be made to identify concrete objectives and improve evaluations, and to make these publicly available; (3) further disaggregate OECD/DAC reporting on technical cooperation and allow for separating genuine CD from projects with other relevant purposes; and (4) further empirical research can inform the concretisation and implementation of these recommendations and play a role in improving the effectiveness of support.