The Process of Capacity Development

The Process of Capacity Development

The Capacity Development process involves various stages, shown in the side menu of this page:

  1. Scoping and design.
  2. Participatory assessment and planning process.
  3. Preparing a draft Plan.
  4. Stakeholder review of the draft and finalising plan.
  5. Where there is a transition planned inclusion of a handover plan with measurable milestones.
  6. Obtaining approval and resources for the Plan.
  7. Implementing and monitoring the Plan.
  8. Evaluating the plan.

UNDP’s role is to help facilitate the process, make tools and guidance available to the stakeholders and to support the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the capacity development plan.

Factors determining the success of a capacity development programme are very dependent on the culture, context, and circumstances of the country, organisation, and individuals involved.

Factors Critical to the Success of Capacity Development Programmes

  • A common understanding of capacity development its purpose, objectives, scope, and approach, and an understanding of and agreement on the end goal.
  • National support and ownership clear and recognised national ownership to drive the process and results.
  • Senior management political leadership are engaged in the process and have the will to change and power to make it happen.
  • A will to change management and staff are empowered and willing to change structures, processes, procedures, and behaviours in order to improve performance.
  • Leadership of the CD Programme One or more individuals are required to lead and oversee the capacity development programme as ‘change agents’ with sufficient credibility, skills, and positioning.
  • A Capacity Development Working Group Ideally an existing group of partners and stakeholders including donors (such as the CCM) can be leveraged to regularly review capacity development plans and budgets, issues, milestones, and objectives, and recommend changes.
  • Objective evidence-based diagnostics used in the assessment process to reach a common understanding of root causes and recommendations, supported by simple tools with actionable indicators to reach the end goal.
  • Adapt the capacity development approach to the specific context and circumstances of the country and organisations involved.
  • Clarity of responsibilities To effectively provide capacity development support, roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and understood, including who is responsible for implementing the CD Plan.
  • Skills and experience in capacity development Appropriate capacity development and functional capacity experience is necessary.
  • SR and SSR capacity development A key role for the PR is defining and delivering capacity development support for SRs and SSRs as necessary based on capacity assessment review exercises.  The success of PR implementation often heavily relies on effective SR and SSR implementation.
  • Planning and budgeting for capacity development Capacity development plans and budgets should be developed as part of initial grant applications, and refined during the grant making process.
  • Integration of capacity development plans with existing national plans and strategies, rather than seen as separate programmes.
  • Leveraging donors and stakeholders Substantive involvement of donors and other stakeholders within the capacity development process is important, both to participate and contribute, as well as to ensure coordination of various capacity development initiatives and cost sharing.
  • Leverage global and regional support through the local UNDP country office, access support from UNDP’s regional office and the UNDP Global Fund Global Fund Programme Team.
  • Capacity development indicators in the grant Performance Framework Performance Frameworks include a limited number of indicators, which are a priority for PRs to address to ensure on-going funding.  To elevate the importance of capacity development efforts, a small number of capacity development indicators should be considered for inclusion in the grant Performance Framework.
  • Resource mobilisation The plan is clear on all resources required in terms of both money and people.
  • On-going and transparent communications and collaboration with partners, stakeholders, staff, donors including the CCM and LFA, regarding the plan, progress, status, and change efforts.
  • Regular review and updating of the capacity development plan to track indicators and make necessary changes.

Capacity development efforts can be hampered by the absence of a supportive legal and policy environment, both in the functional capacity areas and in support of relevant disease technical areas.  Without such strategies, laws, policies and technical papers in place, management decisions and actions may not be as focused as necessary to coordinate partners and manage broad capacity development efforts.

  • Policy dialogue - Engagement with policy makers to ensure that policy guidance is provided throughout the policy dialogue.  
  • Stakeholders engagement Effective participation of key stakeholders including civil society organisation, in particular Key Affected Populations.
  • International frameworks To ensure links to major international frameworks on the right to health and specific information on human rights and law.


Further information is available on the Critical Enablers Page

Extensive resources for Key Populations and Strengthening Legal Environments are available on  the Resources Page