Lessons learned in capacity development
Lessons learned in capacity development by SPREP from 20 years of working with the Pacific Island member countries are summarised as follows:
- On‐the‐job training is most effective, with regional workshops being the least effective
- Workshops should be seen as part of the capacity process – i.e. as training events - and not as the entire process
- Exchanges and attachments are valuable, recognized as such, but not used as much as they should be. Its too easy to take the "workshop" option
- Internships generally take the person away from their job for too long. Gap filling can be done with professional volunteers.
- Follow-up to capacity building events is essential.
- A lot of professionals actually have the technical knowledge but lack the confidence and/or institutional support to deliver. This is where follow-up and support can be most powerful.
- Achieving conservation benefits is about showing people what success looks like and then supporting them on their own path to achieve it
- Recognise champions and support them
- Getting the right people to attend can be difficult – for all sorts of reasons
- These can be for the "right" reasons
- The country doesn't have enough people to cover all the meetings going on at the same time but wants to be involved and sends whoever they can
- More usually they are for the "wrong" reasons
- Participation is taken by senior staff who are not interested in the subject
- Participation is delegated down to junior staff not in a position to implement the training, or unlikely to stay in the post long
- Strategic planning can be very useful, and often the process is more important than the resulting plan
- Multi-sector strategic planning helps breakdown organisational barriers
- Select the battles you can win
- Clear institutional strategies are needed, owned by stakeholders, management and staff
- Effective performance management systems are needed within institutions
- Weak coordination of projects, activities and training events affects capacity development at all levels (individual, organisational and enabling environment) in the region.