Thursday, December 16, 2010

Capacity Development Skills PACKAGE for Practitioners and Facilitators

Capacity development (CD) is one of the key themes in the Accra Agenda for Action.  Two institutions Train4Dev and LenCD have committed to taking this theme forward in a number of ways, including through multi-stakeholder processes.  The vast array of knowledge, information and initiatives currently available from multiple sources makes it clear that there is a rapidly changing dynamic around all aspects of CD.  Emerging understanding about the need for new approaches to CD is creating diverse needs for learning and change for development actors at all levels.   

There is also growing recognition that capacity and its development are areas of knowledge, skills and practice in their own right.  Within this scenario the spread of knowledge and skills for effective support of CD is very uneven.  Many, especially at country level, are struggling to understand what is required of them within the changing paradigm articulated in the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action.  

Thus, one of the pressing needs is for a package offering basic knowledge and skills to promote change in CD practice.  Such a package should be in a practical and attractive open source format that will encourage take up by multiple stakeholders.  The process would tap into many players including bilateral agencies, African case studies, multilaterals and UN Agencies.  Steps to initiate the development of a package were started by LenCD, in collaboration with WBI, with a Scoping Study completed in June 2010.  

The extract above is taken from a recent concept paper  published here.

The purpose of the package
The purpose of the package is to provide learning opportunities to practitioners at sub-/regional, country and sector level who want to change and improve their practice in order to become more effective supporters of CD.  The package modules will contain materials that can be used freely to facilitate and inform multi stakeholder processes through the identification of suitable capacity development strategies and approaches.

-        Focus on practitioners at sub-/regional, country and sector levels

-        Focus on learning support in the context of African efforts[1]

The objectives and content of a core learning package
In the first instance the need is for a set of core modules that will enable participants to achieve the following objectives:

·  Theoretical understanding of capacity and change and how it applies within their context
·  Competence: based on knowledge and understanding of how to use a range of tools and techniques to become more effective supporters of CD
·  Generated and shared deeper learning about CD through structured reflection about their own practice

There are several ways to approach content and in practice there may be multiple tracks.  To achieve the objectives above the modules of the core package might be as follows:

1.      CD basics: theories and frameworks for capacity and CD; systems thinking, theories of change
2.      Understanding CD in workplace realities: the relevance of culture and context; opportunities and constraints for CD practitioners as change agents; assumptions and values
3.      Assessment and measurement of capacity and CD: assessing capacity assets; understanding needs and the potential impact of systemic factors; closing learning loops
4.      Changing practice in planning and implementation: policy, strategy and planning responses to new understanding of CD; learning loops and accountability
5.      Learning practices for CD:beyond training – approaches, tools and techniques that work
6.      Monitoring and evaluating CD: adapting monitoring and evaluation tools to elicit learning from CD practice; closing learning loops
7.      Implications for practice: stimulating and managing new approaches to CD within working realities

A scoping study for the CD package has been prepared and is available here.

[1] In 2009 LenCD and the OECD-DAC undertook consultations with NEPAD, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and others to explore the creation of an African Learning Platform (AfLP).  In January 2010 the African Union adopted NEPAD’s Capacity Development Strategy Framework[1], providing a politically endorsed reference for CD initiatives in the region.

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