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Capacity Development
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 resource capabilities..

Capacity Building is much more than training and includes the following:

* Human resource development, the process of equipping individuals with the understanding, skills and access to information, knowledge and training that enables them to perform effectively.
*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).
*Institutional 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 training/learning session.

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.

Team Leadership
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 decision making.

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 knowledge learning.

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. How 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 actions. 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 place. 


Lifelong learning
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 throughout life.

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.


 The ability to develop others can only occur through recognising our own stages of development. 


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Last updated January 2016