Capacity development or capacity building is a process aimed at
building a bridge to assist people, organisations or governments
achieve their desired goals. The process involves identifying and
understanding the obstacles that inhibit realisation of those goals
as well as developing the bridge to facilitate achievement and
sustainability. These obstacles may relate to individual skill
levels, organisation or government systems, or both. The role of
capacity building is to assist in the development of people and
existing systems at the individual level, institutional level and
societal level. Capacity building uses a countryís human,
scientific, technological, organizational, and institutional and
Capacity Building is much more than training and includes the
Human resource development, the process of equipping
individuals with the understanding, skills and access to
information, knowledge and training that enables them to perform
*Organizational development, the elaboration of management
structures, processes and procedures, not only within organizations
but also the management of relationships between the different
organizations and sectors (public, private and community).
and legal framework development, making legal and regulatory
changes to enable organizations, institutions and agencies at all
levels and in all sectors to enhance their capacities.
Capacity building is defined as the "process of developing and
strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and
resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt,
and thrive in the fast-changing world." (Ann Philbin, Capacity
Building in Social Justice Organizations Ford Foundation, 1996).
The learning strategies and process used by
adults (andragogy) are different to the learning process and
strategies used by children (pedagogy). Adolescents are able to use either
learning process; it depends on their age, maturity and
circumstances. The learning strategies and processes of mature learners (genagogy)
are also different again. My belief is that learning should not be
generic but stylised to meet the needs of the learner. A formal or
informal audience analysis is a necessary part of any
Learning is an active process. Whether we are aware we are learning
or whether it becomes a subconscious activity, it is important to
consider a number of factors to ensure learning is remembered so
that it can be recalled when required.
Learning involves change. Therefore the learning process may often
be difficult, unpleasant and stressful for people, because it may
cause uncertainty and insecurity. To minimise this uncertainty and
insecurity, I believe that teachers/trainers need to provide encouragement and motivation
in an environment that supports the learning process.
Learning should be an enjoyable activity for both the
participant/student and the presenter. If either party are wishing
they were somewhere else, then the learning will suffer. It is
important that all parties involved in the learning process are
physically and mentally participating in the activity. Effective
communication is the foundation of any learning activity and the
physical and mental attitudes of all parties involved are
consciously or unconsciously displayed.
Learners need time to assimilate their new knowledge and skills into
their previous understanding and abilities. Learning is a building
process which means that building on previous knowledge is easier
for learners. Naturally no group of learners are at the same level
of knowledge, skills and experience, so it is the teacher/trainers
role to develop in some, refresh and revise with others, the
relevant areas of knowledge and skills until the group is brought to
a common level. From this point of understanding and knowledge,
further learning aimed towards the common goal can occur.
Learning has many theories, doctrines, strategies and practices that
are continually researched and discussed. For those who facilitate
or deliver learning, maintaining currency of knowledge and skills is
vital to ensure appropriate contemporary, innovative and learning
benchmark strategies are identified.
Leadership is not management. Managers manage
resources, while leaders act as role models, inspire others, influences
others, and interact with others to achieve team and organisational
goals. Team leadership should be participative more than autocratic so
that members of the team are encouraged to contribute in the team's
decision making processes. Team ownership together with increased
motivation and commitment are the bi-products of participative team
A leader should walk the
talk, set the example, and support the team. By having regard for
otherís values, beliefs and expectations, a team leader is able to
demonstrate integrity, credibility, respect and empathy. Integrity in a
leader is shown when they are honest, trustworthy and fair. By being
honest and showing integrity a leader will build trust and credibility.
When a team leader is honest and is trusted, then he/she is believed in
and will be followed often without question. Leadership is seen through
the eyes of followers.
A team leader should encourage respect and diversity within the team.
Building an inclusive culture within a team fosters respect, diversity
of cultures, reduces stereotyped ideas, reactions, attitudes,
misconceptions, and builds a team who are able to acknowledge and
embrace physical, cultural and religious differences.
A team leader recognises respect of others is earned and should not be
expected as a right of the position held. For those who are team
leaders, encouraging and inspiring team members to achieve is equally as
important as encouraging the team. Being an effective team leader is a
combination of innate behaviour characteristics plus some skills and
Empowerment for change
Empowerment is a construct shared by many disciplines
and arenas: community development, psychology, education, economics,
and studies of social movements and organisations, and other areas.
we define empowerment within capacity building projects and programs
depends on the context and the situation.
Empowering others is accepted as a basic
tenet of capacity development. People can be empowered once they
have the knowledge and skills to perform their role. However they
also need to accept the responsibility and be accountable for their
Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social process
that helps people gain control over their own lives. It is a process
that fosters the giving of power to people, for use in their own
lives, their communities, and in their society, by acting on issues
that they define as important.
For effective capacity
development and empowerment to occur, people need to be given full
understanding of what is to change, where they fit in the plan, how
their roles will be effected and what benefits the change will
provide. Once people are prepared for change, empowerment can take
Lifelong learning (LLL)
recognises that learning is required throughout our lives. When you
leave school and commence work, learning continues either formally or
informally. Use of lifelong learning principles contributes toward
provision of a more just and equitable society. Lifelong education is a
set of organisational, financial and didactic principles established
with the aim of lifelong learning. Lifelong education is the system,
lifelong learning is the content, the goal and the result.
Exponents of LLL are constantly seeking alternative teaching and
learning strategies that can equip their students to become
self-directed learners who can function successfully in an ever changing
and complex world. No two LLL strategies will have the same focus as the
factors of the situation (political, education traditions, or degree of
industrial development) will dictate the most appropriate strategies.
LLL does not replace existing education structures; rather it seeks to
identify any shortcomings or find ways to make improvements. Lifelong
education seeks to establish a set of organisational, administrative,
methodological and procedural measures that seek to promote LLL. The
goal for educational practice (leading to LLL method and content) of the
organisational and procedural guidelines is learning carried on
LLL is intentional, has a specific goal, has a purpose, and the reason
for learning is that it is to be retained and used for a long period of
time. LLL is deliberate learning that can be a mix of formal education,
informal education and non-formal learning. As a lifelong learner Vicki Roberts lives
the ethos of LLL and continually seeks to improve her knowledge and
skills in capacity building and TVET.
ability to develop others can only occur through recognising our own
stages of development.