CAPACITY development is one of the defining ideas within contemporary international development and stems from the conviction and experience that addressing social, economic and environmental issues calls for greater capabilities in society–in individual human capital, in communities, groups, organisations, sectors and institutions.
This volume is a compilation of articles by and for ‘practitioners’, that is, people whose work and concern is to try to stimulate the development of capacities in diverse ways. The practitioners through their own experience and understanding of capacity present a profile of methods, concepts, competencies and common challenges. Three perspectives form the core of this volume, namely, capacity is about concrete results and impact; capacity is a ‘living phenomenon’; and it is relational and thus also political.
Firstly capacity development is viewed as directly engaging with real-life issues and results, whether one looks to water management or minority rights, micro credit or education. If capacity exists and grows, it makes a difference.
Part II with seven chapters provides insights about critical features of the practitioner’s work, that is the elements and topics he or she needs to be knowledgeable.
Part III with another seven chapters provides a range of insights, experiences and approaches on how to work with multi-actor and multi-tiered systems. Topics range, for example, from dealing with politics and accountability to working with value chains and knowledge networks.
Part IV, including four chapters, explores the need for results and to learn ‘on the go’. The four chapters illustrate the possibilities and challenges of combining these ambitions that are often seen as being in opposition or difficult to reconcile. Part V has three chapters, which take stock of the terrain, explore the ‘market dynamics’, the status of capacity development as a ‘professional field in formation’ and perspectives for its further development.
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