The theme of the April 22-26, 2013 CORE Group Community Health Network Spring Meeting in Baltimore was: Capacity Strengthening for Global Health: Partnerships, Accountability, Integration and Learning. Promoting participatory and inclusive country ownership is a key principal of development assistance that was examined from a variety of perspectives. In a series of blogs, I will write about capacity strengthening, sustainability and accountability, and operations research as well as intervention-updates related to mHealth, Care Groups, and CHW practice.
CORE’s keynote speaker, Dr. Leonardo Cubillos Turriago from the World Bank Institute (home of the e-Institute and Global Learning Development Network), explained the need for both a comprehensive, sustained, theory-based approach to building permanent capacity and for uniform tools to track, monitor, and evaluate capacity development efforts. In teasing apart operational definitions related to capacity building, he differentiated between capacity for development, or the availability of and manner with which societies deploy resources to pursue development goals on a sustainable basis, and capacity development, which is a locally driven process that involves sociopolitical, policy-related, and organizational efforts to enhance local ownership for and the effectiveness and efficiency of efforts to achieve a development goal. Capacity building requires strategic efforts to engage local communities and is foundational to achieving sustainable development.
In 2009, the WBI published The Capacity Development Results Framework (S. Otto, N. Agapitova & J. Behrens), to provide a theory-based structure within which to conduct capacity development programs. The CDRF provides a useful mechanism for stakeholders and practitioners to systematically think through key variables operating in a capacity development situation and to model explicitly the change process.
The model posits that capacity for development is dependent upon local ownership and effective resource use. Change is locally owned and occurs in 3 areas, the capacity indicators, related to the sociopolitical environment, policy, and organizational arrangements. Individuals and groups (such as local community leaders, policymakers, media, and health providers) become change agents as they acquire and use knowledge and information to target change. Six learning outcomes essential to all capacity development interventions guide the design of capacity development program activities. These included altered status (raised awareness, enhanced skills), altered processes (improved teamwork, fostered coalitions), and new products (formulated policy/strategy, implemented strategy/plan). Activities are designed to achieve the necessary learning outcomes for the change agents. A list of standard capacity indicators assist with customizing measurement and evaluation to the local context. The entire framework is available here.
Use of this framework has potential to increase the success of capacity strengthening efforts in our development programs.