Tag Archives: Capacity development

What does ‘Capacity Building’ really mean?
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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?
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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
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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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