Capacity Development Effectiveness Ladder Framework

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  • depinder
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  • Depinder Kapur is a senior development professional with experience in WASH, Livelihoods and NRM.
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Capacity Development Effectiveness Ladder Framework

The last part of the 3 paper series on capacity development effectiveness is based on a critique of the prevailing global discourse and practice of capacity development thinking.

All the 3 papers can be downloaded from the SCBP learning portal :  niua.org/scbp/?q=learning-material  

We have tried to show, based on the experience of running a 5 year long urban sanitation capacity development program in India, what it means to run an effective capacity development intervention.

The CDEL Framework is a think piece for understanding effectiveness of capacity development and can be applied to not only sanitation but any developmental intervention or any sector. The framework attempts to place learning as the core of capacity development, to reclaim its legitimacy and that of capacity development work as such.

We hope this paper will contribute to deepening of the understanding of capacity development discourse at the global level. 

Comments, critique and disagreements, suggestions, appreciation....................................welcome.
Depinder Kapur is an independent Senior Development and WASH expert. He was till recently leading the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform of National Institute of Urban Affairs in New Delhi that is focussed on non sewered sanitation systems( scbp.niua.org). He has worked with AKRSP, SPWD, CARE(Director NRM), Oxfam(Program & Advocacy Director), WaterAid India(Country Head) and WSSCC(National Coordinator).

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  • depinder
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Re: Capacity Development Effectiveness Ladder Framework

Capacity development is a low priority even among development community. Not just the funders and donors. 

If you come across any other paper on capacity development effectiveness - kindly share with us.
Depinder Kapur is an independent Senior Development and WASH expert. He was till recently leading the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform of National Institute of Urban Affairs in New Delhi that is focussed on non sewered sanitation systems( scbp.niua.org). He has worked with AKRSP, SPWD, CARE(Director NRM), Oxfam(Program & Advocacy Director), WaterAid India(Country Head) and WSSCC(National Coordinator).

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Re: Capacity Development Effectiveness Ladder Framework

Thanks Depinderji for posting all the three parts of the lessons from SCBP series. I think they together offer useful pointers for capacity development programs for WASH as well as other developmental concerns. I particularly liked the honest account of the SCBP's experience, the course corrections, evolution of the framing of the work, etc. in part 2. 

Posting below the CDEL framework to enable a quick glance: 

I am curious with the use of the word 'ladder' to be honest. I think all the five you mention as steps could also be considered as components of a CD program. 

Also, the content would hopefully bring about a change in vision and therefore lead to design of alternative instead of conventional solution. Curious how this connection is considered. 

Thanks
paresh
Paresh Chhajed-Picha
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Re: Capacity Development Effectiveness Ladder Framework

Hi Paresh,

Thanks for taking time to read and respond.

The CDEL framework was based on the long term experience of SCBP program implementation where we went through all the 5 steps proposed in this Ladder Framework. We certainly see this as a ladder because each step is an advance on the previous one.

Let me explain the steps. If you develop original learning content and the larger and strategic your range of partnerships, you will be able to develop and deliver impact. And if you develop a strategy that is appropriate to your context, you can upscale it even beyond your project. While developing learning collaterals you will come face to face with real life implementation challenges and there if you can vision change and design solutions based on your capacity development work, then that is proof of concept of your work. Finally having done all the 4 things, you are in a position to actually critique and contribute to the global discourse on capacity development, to enrich it or even to improve it. And we did this through the CDEL Ladder Framework and a critique of the prevailing 3 pilar framework of Capacity Development and the UNDAF CD framework as a 6 step process. 

You cannot contribute to the global CD discourse(step 5 of the CDEL), without having done anything on the previous 4 steps. The CDEL is a ladder framework, it is not a process. Depending on the ambition, the length and depth of the capacity development intervention, some CD interventions will end with step 1 and few will be able to demonstrate their reach on ladder steps 3 to 5. The ladder framework is a unique framework development from practice. 

We critiqued the World bank and ADB capacity development work that they quote as success. In the first part/paper of the 3 paper series, we critiqued the privatisation/reform agenda, disguised as capacity development. We showed how this so called "institutional capacity development" may actually curtail the capacities of individuals and institutions through re structuring their existing work, roles and profiles to make them more of managers and contractors. That this institutional reform work should be called Organisation Development work, not capacity development.

The UNDAF capacity development framework(that we have critiqued in the Paper 3), is questionable in terms of the 6 process steps proposed. We critiqued this to show that you need to develop some learning and training collaterals and apply them, before developing a strategy. The strategy itself evolves and is not a rigid one time work. The UNDAF framework is therefore very instrumentalist and rigid, not matching to the reality of capacity development on ground.

We quoted Prof. Piers Blaikie to show that the nature of capacity development work is "deflected action", that in itself is useful in explaining the problem but may not directly contribute to a solution of the problem.

We therefore strengthened the capacity development understanding in a larger political economy context that is not seen in current theory and practice of CD.

By combining theory and practice, we believe we could contribute to the critique of the prevailing global CD discourse through the CDEL Framework.  The global capacity development discourse we feel has become rigid and disassociated from real world capacity development context, specially in the last two decades given the push from bilateral agencies and sector reform agenda for sector reform. Capacity development has become divorced from its core learning agenda. We could do this because we got our hand dirty and delivered a successful five year long capacity development program in FSSM.

I am enclosing all the 3 papers compiled into one. For easy reference.

Will be happy to continue this discussion on this forum to explain why the CDEL Framework deserves the attention and recognition as an original contribution to the global capacity development discourse. 
Depinder Kapur is an independent Senior Development and WASH expert. He was till recently leading the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform of National Institute of Urban Affairs in New Delhi that is focussed on non sewered sanitation systems( scbp.niua.org). He has worked with AKRSP, SPWD, CARE(Director NRM), Oxfam(Program & Advocacy Director), WaterAid India(Country Head) and WSSCC(National Coordinator).

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Re: Capacity Development Effectiveness Ladder Framework

Hi Paresh,

Missed highlighting the evaluation potential of CDEL framework. Assessing effectiveness is a key consideration of any Program Evaluation including capacity development.

Capacity Development Effectiveness Ladder(CDEL) Framework is a step wise ladder framework that can be applied for EVALUATION of any capacity development work. To assess the EFFECTIVENESS of capacity development. The 5 steps can be the five indicators for an effective capacity development intervention. To assess at what level has the capacity development intervention matured or been significant enough to qualify as highly effective or moderately effective intervention.

Hope i was able to answer the second point of your response - "How can good content lead to change in vision and design of alternative solutions". This is answered in the 5 step Framework itself - as the 4th step - visioning change. I quoted Piers Blaikie work to show that all the good work you do in capacity development or research, may just be. "deflected action".  You may develop excellent original high quality learning collaterals, their uptake may be beyond your scope of work.

Therefore capacity development results should be judged by what you were able to produce, its quality, its partnership strength and strategy, its proof of concept visioning and finally its contribution to the larger CD discourse development. 
Depinder Kapur is an independent Senior Development and WASH expert. He was till recently leading the Sanitation Capacity Building Platform of National Institute of Urban Affairs in New Delhi that is focussed on non sewered sanitation systems( scbp.niua.org). He has worked with AKRSP, SPWD, CARE(Director NRM), Oxfam(Program & Advocacy Director), WaterAid India(Country Head) and WSSCC(National Coordinator).

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