Innovative Capacity Building Models


The terms 'training' and 'capacity development' are sometimes confused or used interchangeably. While training is just one element of capacity development / building, it usually focuses on providing skills for specific needs. Capacity building on the other hand, encompasses a whole range of activities designed to empower individuals and institutions.
According to USAID, Capacity Building is defined as “Approaches, strategies or methodologies used by an organisation and its stakeholders to change, transform and improve performance at the individual, organisational, sector or broader system level”.

While capacity building can be at different levels – Systems, Organisations and Individuals, each has its own focus on different development traits/aspects:

Systems and policy level capacity building activities improve the external environment in which organisations and individuals function, including structures supporting the way organisations interact, and/or policies and standards that must be adhered to.

Organisational level capacity building activities improve the performance of internal organisational systems and processes leading to stronger organisations with the ability to adapt and continue to develop over time.

Individual/workforce level capacity building activities improve the performance of staff according to specific, defined competencies and job requirements.

Models of Capacity Building

Development Alternatives (DA) Group's Capacity Building Solutions Domain aims to accelerate sustainable development by innovating and incubating training and capacity building packages/products and services for individuals as well as organisations ranging from not-for-profits, social enterprises, corporations, donors and other investor ecosystems. Our solutions are packaged to meet customer needs in the space of Training & Capacity Building, Organisational & Institutional Development and Sustainability Advisory.

Development Alternative Group's Models for Capacity Building

Classroom Training

The most common form of capacity building is classroom training. The DA group has its own development centres across various locations in central India for training of individuals. Apart from the traditional classroom training, DA Group also focusses on capacity building of individuals through workshops, on-the-job learning, mentoring, industrial visits and guest lectures across their training centres.

Capacity Building through Community Radio

In recent times, community radios have served as an excellent and effective tool for promoting development at the grassroots and bringing about positive change in a community's living conditions and environment through dissemination of information and promotion of community dialogue through radio debates and dialogue via phone call in, SMS etc. Radio Bundelkhand, initiated by DA in October 2008 has a unique participatory model of programming and broadcasting and is jointly managed by the community and DA.

Other New Models of Capacity Building

a. Online Portals/ Virtual Modes

Faster internet speeds, free Wi-Fi in public spaces throughout many destinations and multi-functional smartphones have dramatically impacted the capacity building space. Companies like +Accumen, paved a path to become the largest massive open online course (MOOC) provider in the social sector. +Acumen's free online curriculum is built around Acumen's leadership model, which stresses not only the importance of financial and operational skills but also the need for moral imagination.

b. Mobile Apps

ICT in capacity building is fast emerging as a solution for transforming education and percolating learning to remote rural areas. In order to make learning fun and with increasing mobile penetration, Byju Raveendran took the entire mobile app space by storm through his Byju's Learning App. Capacity building through the app-based model has several advantages. Students understand it easily after some usage, and the app also begins to understand the student learning behaviour.

c. Games

Games are now a new means of capacity building. Studies indicate that the value of play provides distinct advantages in guiding the design of interactive multimedia learning environments for children and adults (Lloyd Rieber, 1998). Since games are engaging, challenging and entertaining, development professionals now use this method for capacity building, as it effectively engages people interactively, enhances participation by giving learners tangible, interesting and easy-to-relate to activities. A more structured approach to developing educational games for capacity building will ensure consistency of learning experience and quality of the educational game elements. However, there is much to be learned about the potential of educational games and the use of serious play techniques in building individual and institutional capacity.

Pulari Kurian

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