Tag Archives: Capacity development

Poems from a Library Ambassador

Kenneth Mukigi is a 19 year old student at the Co-operative University College of Kenya, studying for his Bachelor of Co-operative Business (BCOB). He works as a Library Ambassador with one of INASP’s partner librarians.  “I am glad to be a student ambassador because I want to be involved with the university activities – it gives me a level of responsibility. I am eager to meet new people, including other ambassadors, and I always welcome exposure to different opportunities. I also have an avid passion to give back to my society, which has raised me to the level I am” – Kenneth Mukigi Kenneth started writing when he was in primary school. He is inspired to write by the environment and society that surrounds him and is currently working on a novel, “The Chapter”. Kenneth wrote the two poems featured below after working with INASP.

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Is it a needs assessment if you have already decided on your intervention?

At INASP we provide small grants to support capacity building activities in many areas.  In all areas including mine, the evidence informed policy making (EIPM) programme, we are very interested in if a capacity gap a) exists and b) if the proposed intervention goes some way to filling that gap.  As such we provide small grants to conduct needs assessments and pilot activities.

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In which we try to identify success

We were recently reviewing the activities of the evidence-informed policy making team at INASP and trying to identify the success stories to see what could be learned and how our approaches could be improved.  We identified four stories based around four different countries. Briefly: In Tanzania an INASP partner is developing a course in information literacy aimed at public servants studying at the Tanzania public service college.  This is a comprehensive approach involving curriculum development, pedagogy training of trainers’ and content delivery. In Ghana, INASP supports the Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) and Savana Signatures to deliver capacity building activities targeted at policy makers in response to local demand. The Zimbabwe Evidence-Informed Policy Network (ZEIPN) has just been formed which aims to promote interactions between multi-disciplinary researchers and policy makers to tackle challenges to evidence-informed policy making. In Uganda INASP is working with the Uganda National Council of Science … Continue reading

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What does ‘Capacity Building’ really mean?

Jonathan Harle is Programmes Manager (Research Capacity) at the Association of Commonwealth Universities A few weeks back, Jonathan Tanner of ODI offered some important observations about the way we talk about development.  His plea is that we use the word ‘development’ less (‘it is too easy to hide behind the word ‘development’… it is too easily misunderstood, it doesn’t always mean the same thing…’), to ‘be more precise about the work we do’ and to ‘junk the jargon’. His thrust is that we need to get better at being much clearer about what we mean – not simply use ‘development’ as a catch all which disguises more than it explains. We need to do this not only so those outside the sector can understand but also so we can be clearer amongst ourselves.

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Are centres of excellence or strong networks the key to capacity building?

Most of us reading and writing (and in my case at least, indulging in some ‘thinking out loud’) on this blog are probably concerned with ‘capacity building’ in some form. How to do it better? How to make it sustainable? How to do it at the scale required? Capacity is too big an issue to address in a single post, of course, so this is just a take on one particular dimension — centres or networks?

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What caught our eye last week

The UK looks poised to take a big step into Open Access. Last week, Ian Samples (the Guardian) looked at the UK government’s plan for ‘Free access to British Scientific research within two years’. The UK would be the first country to take this controversial step. We recently came across a report published by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) entitled ‘Learning purposefully in capacity development’ (Alfredo Ortiz and Peter Taylor, IDS). The report analyses long and short term objectives of capacity development activity as well as what to take into consideration when deciding how to monitor the on-going process and evaluate the impact of the whole activity. This is a must read for any capacity development organisation. While not specifically related to research communication and international development, we did find the following links interesting. The first is simply the introduction of walking routes on Google maps for Africa. The second is a visual representation … Continue reading

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