Saturday, May 14, 2011

Capacity development is about building relationships!

Listening to what keeps people involved! Getting to know people and create the right conditions, which help people to build their identity, realize their hopes & dreams are the main important things a capacity development advisor can do in building local sustainable structures for development.

These were some of the conclusions and lessons which were shared during the training capacity development (conducted by Simon Koolwijk), which was held on the 9th and 11th May, 2011 at the Hendrik Kraemer Institute in Utrecht. Three development advisors working for ZHHK in Malawi and Suriname were guided in their process on 'how to think through and tackle an intervention in building sustainable structures for church work.

Let people take responsibility and make them to discover what works and not works?; shared the participants. Development is about building relationships. If you have gained the trust from others and shown you are ready to make a long term investment in the community, people are also willing to make an investment. A lot of consultancy work in organisational development is about listening, talking and asking the right questions. Mostly people already know the solutions, but miss a stimulus or positive fresh approach in clearifying their hopes and dreams. It are not the methods, tools or management systems that are successfull, but common sense and a human centered approach are crucial for sustainable results.

Just a discussion after a church ceremony on sunday's can already be a simple moment to build capacities. In case these meetings become a part of people's rythm, you can start people to stimulate to take responsibility. They can share rituals about their own culture, organize a meal or provide input on how to build a church council. These were some of the ideas which were shared at the training.

As part of the training the development advisors got a practical task to analyse the current status of their partner organisation through an organisational life cycle and a SWOT-analysis. Based on their job description, the three advisors presented a draft plan of action for their capacity development intervention. Main purpose of the exercise was to get a deeper insight about the philosophy of capacity development. In most case the 'draft plans', differ from the real plans and implemented activities, since organisational development is a process involving local stakeholders and decision makers. The participation of local people is crucial in making your capacity development intervention to a success!

A lot of tips and suggestions on how to gain results in capacity development through relationships building, you can find at 'Barefoot Guide', 'Capacity4Dev.eu' and 'Everything you always wanted to know about capacity development'.

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