Research projects and capacity building
AbstractA World Bank long-term perspective study on Sub-Saharan Africa highlighted the need to build human and institutional capacity in virtually all sectors and countries. In South Africa, establishment of a democratic government in 1994 saw increased emphasis placed on capacity building. This led to the revision of policies and legislation directing human resources development. This emphasis on capacity development is reflected in procurement policies to the extent that it is increasingly difficult to successfully bid for funding from government and parastatal organisations unless there is both a plan and a commitment to capacity building in the previously marginalised sectors. There are currently no guidelines to support researchers in their attempts to support the intentions of legislation and policy. It has been assumed that researchers have the understanding and expertise to effectively promote capacity building. Under such conditions the expectations of research administrators are neither clearly structured nor are they understood by researchers. Not surprisingly, researchers often fail to meet the expectations of administrators. In an attempt to contribute towards developing a structured approach, this paper interprets what is meant by capacity building in the context of research projects. Based on this interpretation, reasonable and unreasonable expectations with respect to the extent to which capacity building can be achieved within a given project duration are discussed. A model is suggested, which would improve understanding and delivery and in doing so, achieve better congruence between expectations and outcomes.
Key Words: Capacity building, Research, Change, Performance, Innovation
WaterSA Vol.30(4) 2004: 429-434