Capacity development beyond aid
Reflecting on 25 years of capacity development and emerging trends. Capacity Development (CD) is far from being a new concept, having roots in a number of different development ideas and academic traditions, dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. Many other disciplines have also come to influence capacity development. Sustainability and empowerment have been the core ideas behind capacity development thinking and practice. State building, including the establishment of political systems and administrations able to discharge the affairs of state, as well as the progressive development of an educated and engaged citizenry, means building the capacity of people, organisations and society at large. Finding the right way to support country-driven capacity development has remained a key challenge and a driver of much of the analytical work on CD commissioned by the international community over the past 15 years. In this regard, the CD discourse has been intimately associated with evolving discussions around country ownership, partnership and aid effectiveness, with increasing appreciation of the political, cultural and related contextual dimensions of capacity development. Capacity.org was established in 1999, at a time when the international donor community was courting a new and appealing concept – that of ‘capacity building’ and later ‘capacity development’. Few disagreed about its importance, but many questioned its theoretical underpinnings and operational value To mark the 15th year of publication of Capacity.org, and in recognition of its significant developments, this special edition collection of articles explores these questions. It does so in the firm belief that capacity development is as relevant today as it has ever been and that it already plays a critical role in transforming societies 'beyond aid'. Photo courtesy of Alamy/Jenny Matthews.