Current thinking is that capacity development is central to the aid effectiveness agenda.  However, many people, especially at country and sector level, are struggling to understand what this means for them within the changing paradigm articulated in the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action.  This package is intended to respond to the need for practical learning opportunities about capacity development: a freely available virtual resource, designed to help country and sector level practitioners expand their knowledge and skills for facilitating sustainable capacity development.

The Learning Package: What’s in it for you?

You will learn about the core concepts and principles of CD, for example:

  • How CD is defined (definitions and terminology with easy links to glossaries)
  • That CD relates to all domains and levels
  • The importance of context and culture for effective CD
  • An overview of international best practice in CD
  • The importance of a CD approach driven by stakeholder demand
  • How CD is related to the aid effectiveness agenda

You will find ideas to help with your CD work, for example …

  • Developing a CD approach
  • Assessing what others are suggesting/offering as CD interventions
  • Facilitating shared understanding of the concepts among
  • Developing a CD strategy
  • Making sense of/evaluating other models
  • Negotiating or advocating for CD
  • Explaining CD to others
  • Integrating CD into programmes and projects
  • Promoting shared understanding and the use of a common language

You will get practical ‘how to’ pages guiding CD in practice, as follows:

  • Map and influence stakeholders to get started 
  • Formulate capacity goals and objectives
  • Formulate capacity indicators for different contexts and levels
  • Measure capacity outcomes and results for different levels and contexts
  • Develop M&E processes to foster learning
  • Establish partnerships and networks for scale up 
  • Design the overall CD approach and an evolving mix of ‘best fit’ methods and tools
  • Assess change readiness, including analysis of the political economy
  • Assess existing capacity and capacity needs
  • Work with incentives to stimulate change
  • Define the change process and map the changes required

PLUS practical advice in a trainer/facilitator’s guide, including

  • Resource materials for workshops and trainings
  • Resources for discussion of CD issues – general and specific
  • Listings to help locate other CD resources on the Internet

The purpose of this resource is to provide an overview and synthesis of current thinking about capacity development. It has been developed in a collaborative process by a working group supported by LenCD and Train4Dev. There is no intention either to create a new theory or approach to capacity development or to promote any of the existing theories and models as being better than others. What is offered in the following pages is a summary of many different strands of current theories and practice from many different sources. This summary is presented in a way that can help readers get an overview of the issues and then access other resources for anything they want to explore further.

It is hoped that the resources in the package will be of benefit to many practitioners from multiple disciplines. However, all readers should be aware that the primary target audience for this resource is national practitioners working at national or sector level. Practitioners who have a different profile may need to explore additional resources or to adapt any advice or guidance offered in the package as necessary for their own context and mandate.

Download and print the learning package

The Learning Package is available for download in three PDF files:

PowerPoint presentation (PPTX 0.7 MB) is also available to accompany the Package.

Credits and citation

This learning package was prepared by Jenny Pearson in 2011 in a collaborative process that included a working group supported by LenCD and Train4Dev. Web site design and print layout by Brian Lucas.

Recommended citation: Pearson, J. (2011) Learning Package on Capacity Development. Learning Network on Capacity Development (LenCD). http://www.lencd.org/learning.

Next section: The core concept