Capacity development, learning, change, poverty/power/progress
The international organisation I am working with at the moment has been succesfully supporting the government with multi-stakeholder sector development. All donors and international technical assistance providers, including the organisation I'm consulting with, have agreed to align within one national program. International consultants have just arrived in the country for step two in the design of a multi-donor supported program.
Yesterday I discovered that the national government partner is not represented on the mission team. Apparently the national partner has no capacity, and the country is also mounting on the anti-corruption list of Transparency International (Corruption index info graphics). That seems to give a carte blanche for doing what development partners agreed to stop doing in Paris over a decade ago: design your own project and develop mechanisms for implementation that steer clear as much as possible from existing structures.
It makes me want to blow a wistle, but there is no mechanism to enforce Aid Effectiveness agreements.
It's been a frustrating day. The organisation I'm working with has some ongoing work that needs to be aligned with this national program. I was meeting one of the national program formulation team members. He completely took me off guard with his belief that capacity development does not yield any results.
He might benefit from reading a few of these Case stories about capacity development processes that deliver sustainable results. This document was prepared for the 4th Aid Effectiveness Forum in Busan, where
the plenary session on effective institutions and policies on the final day which received reports from previous sessions was un-equivocal sending a most powerful and convincing message that there can be no meaningful development without investment in building the capacity of local institutions, whether for delivery of basic services, private sector development or domestic accountability. USAID stated that its policy today is to invest in and work through local institutions, a significant departure for the past. Denmark argued that working through country systems makes sense and implies a re-thinking of our understanding of risk and moving to the idea of managing rather than avoiding risk. The World Bank argued that if our focus is on development effectiveness then the challenge is to assist partners develop their capacity to manage all sources of development finance, domestic and international.
(this quote is from Tony Land's blog: Busan outcome statement on the LenCD website).
We have had some good reflections at the end of the day with colleagues and their contacts in the national government. Let's see if our strategy for creating a bit more space for good capacity development services will work.
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