Sunday, January 25, 2009

Capacity Development for ICCO Desk officers 21-22 January 2009

"This course was dynamic, informative, very useful and connected to our work! I can directly apply the tools in my work. I learned a lot from my colleagues. There was room for exchange and the input from the resource persons in the is course had an added value!"

From 21 - 22 January 2009, Desk Officers from the development organisation ICCO participated in the second part of the training Capacity Development of Partner Organisations. This training which was facilitated by Simon Koolwijk, provided participants the space to present practical cases on how they had applied their lessons learned during the first training on 18 - 19 November 2008.

Cases where shared about capacity development of partner organisations in the Pacific, Asia and Africa. Desk officers had applied some of the organisational analysis tools to assess the capacities of their partners. Three resource persons; Hettie Walters, Angelica Senders (both from ICCO) & Ben Haagsma (IC Consult) provided feedback and input to the presentations. Some of the trends which were identified by the participants were; "capacity development is much more focused on strengthening specific domains in the organisation which further help to empower organisations. Elaborated organisation scans are not relevant anymore" "If an organisation is functioning well, it is not relevant to do an organisational analysis"; "Trust on the self-help capacities of a partner organisation. Do not immediately involve a consultant." "Work with the organisations who have focused leadership, team spirit and a vision". "If you have partnerships with such organisations, it will lead to sustainable results."

On the 22nd January 2009 Ben Haagsma (IC-Consult) led a session about monitoring & evaluation of capacity development. Participants assessed his presentation as very inspiring. Some of the lessons which were shared: "Do not focus too much on the proving aspect of results, but also focus on the soft part of improving". If your partner is able to describe changing trends over the years and what the relevant organisation has seen changing as part of a capacity development intervention it shows aspects of improving. A helpfull tool to identify such trends are the principles of the "Most Significant Change". Also the aspect of demystification was a major learning. Monitoring & evaluation should not be something complex, but make it simple and focus on asking simple questions about changes in the organisation, and do not collect too many statistics. Capacity development is also like an hour glass. Assessment of capacities is broad, you focus your strategic intervention and then you monitor & evaluate broadly the changes of capacities in an organisation during and after a capacity development intervention. More of Ben Haagsma's experiences and useful tools can be read in the publication "Planning, monitoring and evaluation in development organisations". This book was one of the rewards participants received at the end of the training. The book "Capacity Building Framework" published by Intrac was the other useful guide the ICCO - Desk Officers received.
The training had provided a good framework for connecting theory with the dynamic and realities of the workfield.

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