Capacity development

Sustainability is core to all that we do. We believe that good capacity development enables individuals and institutions to independently and sustainably work towards their desired changes in policy and practice, beyond the life of a project.

We develop local capacity to support the production, sharing and use of research and knowledge in developing countries.

young women sitting at laptops

Commitment to collaboration

We are committed to genuine collaboration with Southern institutions. We work together to define the problem, identify the most appropriate solutions, deliver the project, and to evaluate and communicate what we’ve learnt 

Understanding local context and building on existing capacities

Too often a lack of capacity is assumed. We start by understanding – with partners – the local context, needs and the existing capacity of the individuals, institutions, or the system.

Beyond training – putting capacity into practice

Training is important. But, it’s vital to also look beyond training to find other ways in which individuals and groups can be enabled to learn and to solve problems. We use a wide range of capacity development choices, tailored to the needs of our partners and targeting different levels of change.

At the individual level we  

  • Develop the skills of key actors in the research and knowledge system, according to learning goals – for example  creating initial awareness about a subject, building basic ‘starting knowledge’ and skills, strengthening skills and deepening knowledge, or putting this into practice in the workplace.
  • Design and deliver training, mentoring and advisory support through face-to-face and online approaches. 

At the organizational level we

  • Strengthen relationships and shared learning within and across teams – for example through joint problem-solving workshops. 
  • Assist partners to identify the changes needed to structures and processes to ensure that capacity development initiatives can be sustained - for example, embedding training into an institution’s professional development programme.
  • Assist partners to identify changes needed to organisational ways of working – for example assessing needs and developing tailored plans to increase the use of evidence in public institutions.

At the systems, or environmental, level we 

  • Work across national research and knowledge systems to convene and connect key actors, strengthening relationships and the exchange of knowledge.
  • Connect Southern partners to peers regionally and internationally, for example via  webinars, peer learning, or mentoring.
Help us achieve our vision