The concept “Capacity building” has been part of the argot used by international organizations, governments and private companies since the 70s. What it means, how to achieve it and what methods involves, has changed through the years. According to the Agenda 21 drafted by UNEP in 1992, capacity building “Encompasses the country’s human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional and resource capabilities.”
Nowadays increasing these capacities is considered a main component of the activities promoted by International Finantial Institutions (IFI) such as World Bank and European Union. It can be the key to achieve sustainability in any project or program outcomes.
There are different ways to carry out capacity building activities and different areas in which it can be focused. It can be centered on skills upgrading and human resource development, procedural improvements inside of an organization or legal framework developments. All of it with the main objective of helping to develop the needed capabilities to evaluate and address the different options to consider in the face of political change and regulatory framework development.
ambiente has been involved in several international projects funded by IFI since 2010 and these projects had an important component of capacity building. The thematic of these projects were related to Water management and Oil & Gas where governmental officials, NGOs, journalists and academic figures were involved in the action plan designed.
ambiente’s approach to enhance capacity building go through the following steps:
1. Carry out a need assessment. By completely understanding the objectives and overall vision of any project, ambiente is able to consider the priorities of the beneficiaries, respect the local context and incorporate them in the activities to be carried out..
2. Assess the current capabilities. ambiente tries to maximize the efficiency and usefulness of any human resources, procedures and infrastructures already available. From the starting point it is evaluated what will be the best way to enhance the already existing foundations of the beneficiary’s organization.
3. Identify the appropriate stakeholders to include in the activities. The key to sustainability after the project has been completed is targeting the right critical mass of people which will sustain the propose changes and new procedures. By involving officials from different levels of the government, communities, academic figures, council representatives…etc important partnerships and inter-relationship can be created. This synergy will be vital to sustain change and ensure long term involvement
4. Choose the best possible participatory approach considering the needs, the resources available and the specific objectives to achieve. These approaches can include; trainings, training of trainers, networking, formal education…etc.
5. Implementation and evaluation. After each training, conference or workshop, ambiente evaluates the impressions and opinions of the participants. By collecting an individual and detailed feedback the impact achieved can be assessed and the continuous cycle of Plan- do-check-act, can be closed and assure the best possible quality outputs.
6. Define future strategies. ambiente is able to guide his clients in the consequent steps to take towards capacity building by defining future training needs, milestone to achieve and possible approaches to apply .