CAPACITY BUILDING – the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes in individuals and groups of people relevant in the design, development and maintenance of institutional and operational infrastructures and processes that are locally meaningful. (Groot & Mulhern, 2001)
What’s that you say?
This is an official definition of the term “capacity building”, one of the four possible program requirements for Healthy Child Coalition – Central Region funding. But ‘officialese’ is not that easy to understand.
I prefer a simpler approach.
One of the meanings of the verb ‘build’ is ‘to establish, increase or strengthen”. Capacity can be defined as “the ability or power to do, experience or understand something.”
Therefore, capacity building becomes establishing or strengthening that ability.
Part of the coalition’s mandate is to help establish or strengthen the ability of Central Region communities to address the needs of their children and families.
Each community is unique. Each community is at a different stage in its journey. But many are showing signs of their success.
Logically, if all communities grew in their ability to meet their needs, there would eventually be no more need for the coalition. It would have done its job.
It’s not that easy, of course. Nothing is. The process does not have start and end points; it is ongoing.
But when you come to think about it, it’s rather like being a parent. You teach your children how to do things so that they can do them on their own without you.
Parenting as capacity building. Put that in your dictionary.