Pathways to capacity building
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CTA. 2001. Pathways to capacity building. Spore 93. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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Participation in agricultural policy making means learning new skills in analysis and organisation: capacity building in short. We look at some of the options.Just where should you start, when you decide to build up your capacities? Well, the fact...
Participation in agricultural policy making means learning new skills in analysis and organisation: capacity building in short. We look at some of the options. Just where should you start, when you decide to build up your capacities? Well, the fact that you have taken the decision to do so is the most important step. Beyond that, there are so many places to go that the challenge is to select the right path. If you start to ask around organisations near yours, within a day you will probably have found a hundred. If you start to look on the Internet, you might start off finding the half a million references to capacity building that are available. Confused already? Lesson One: learn to be selective, to find and take the shortest route from A to B, and to trust your own judgement. Become a proper nomad of the information networks; do as a nomad does. Do not wander aimlessly, but go to those places and contact those people who seem the most promising. One obvious first port-of-call is the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) which operates in the framework of the Partnership for Capacity Building in Africa (PACT). First set up in 1991, this body expanded its mission in 1999 in order to serve the public sector, the private sector, and civil society. Among its particular areas of concern are strengthening of the interface between public-private sector-civil society, and enhancing the effectiveness of civil society organizations. Contact: African Capacity Building Foundation, PO Box 1562, Harare, Zimbabwe. Fax: + 263 4 702915; Email : firstname.lastname@example.org. The ACBF has programmes to support initiatives in policy making at national and regional level throughout Africa, and is itself supported by a range of international institutions. A creation of governments, the ACBF sometimes shows signs of unfamiliarity with the civil society organisations it seeks to serve, but with perserverance and a good networking approach, you could reap many rewards by contacting this body. Also ten years old, but much closer in origin to the particular needs of non-governmental and civil society bodies is the International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC). If you are anxious about the possible loss of freedom and autonomy which is implied by involvement in policy making, be assured that INTRAC believes in the importance of NGOs as independent actors and wants to protect and promote within a wider society the NGO values of social justice, empowerment and participation of the poorest and the most marginalised . As well as customised training courses on all aspects of organisation which it organises in partnership with colleague bodies in Portuguese, Spanish, English and, to a lesser extent, French, INTRAC has a superb range of well-focussed publications on various aspects of capacity building such as finance, confidence building, codes of conduct ir relationships with the private sector. The newsletter ONTRAC is a good place to meet new opportunities and other organisations. Despite its strong Southern approach, INTRAC is located in the North: INTRAC, PO Box 563, Oxford OX2 6RZ, England. Fax: + 44 1865 201852; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.intrac.org. Another gateway to the world of capacity building is the electronic organisation known as Capacity.org whose online services at www.capacity.org provide a wealth of information and links. National experiences The InterAfrica Group (PO Box 1631, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; fax: +251 1 517554; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.interafrica.org) is very well informed about the ins and outs of partnership building within their region and beyond. Their NGO Network Service (NNS) is a powerful source of contacts and experiences. With capacity building so high on many agendas these days, it is no surprise that there is a growth in advisory services for NGOs and civil society bodies. One which is notable for its openness and participatory nature, with an accent on organisational development, is the OLIVE Regional Cooperation Programme (21 Sycamore Road, Durban 4000, South Africa. Fax: +27 31 2052114; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.oliveodt.co.za) An excellent bibliography and organisational guide, which shines for its openness and honesty, has been compiled by the journal Development in Practice, a major forum for people working in the area of capacity building. The guide lists organisations all over the world, working in various languages. Development, NGOs and Civil Society is available on the journal s Website: www.developmentinpractice.org/readers/NGOs/biblio.htm A wide range of organisational tools are described in the toolkit publication Facilitating innovation for development, P Engel and M Salomon. CTA-KIT-Stoas. 1999. 320 pp. ISBN 0 471 96076 4. CTA number 823. 80 credit points Many organisations working in capacity building thrive through pro-active networking, meaning that they reach out to other organisations in a genuine spirit of cooperation, in order to be able to exchange experiences. You will get the most benefit if you do the same, so do all you can to exude openness and partnership! Some networkers are more intense in this than others, and few are more so than the member organisations of the regional committees of development associations. Their stated goals include 'to aim towards positive first-hand guidance in policy-making'. They represent a very useful collection of skills and resources; the regional secretariats of interest to most ACP countries are: ADIPA (Association of Development Research and Training Institutes of Asia and the Pacific) c/o APDC, Pesiara Duta, P.O. Box 12224, 50770 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Fax: + 603 651 03 89; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org AICARDES (Association of Arab Institutes and Centres for Economic and Social Development Research) c/o IEQ, 27 rue de Liban, Tunis Belvedere, Tunisia Fax: +216 1 78 70 34; Email: email@example.com Website: www.sas.upenn.edu/Africa_ Studies/codesria/codes_Menu.html' CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa) PO Box 3304, Dakar, Senegal Fax: +221 8 24 12 89; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.sas.upenn.edu/Africa_Studies/codesria/codes_Menu.html' OSSREA (Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa) P.O. Box 31971, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Fax: +251 1 55 13 99; Email: email@example.com ; Website: www.ossrea.org
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