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Developing Institutional Capacity in Crisis and Conflict-Affected Environments

Tue, March 27, 8:00 to 9:30am, Museo de Arte Popular, Floor: 1st Floor, Manitas 1

Group Submission Type: Panel Session


The Panel will open with a conceptual overview of the field of institutional capacity development in aid programs. It will note that the track record for effective institutional capacity development in development assistance, and particularly in crisis and conflict-affected environments, is weak (see Dichter for USAID, 2014). It has typically been conceived as addressing a gap analysis, whereby individual and institutional capacities to achieve results are set against what is needed, and then training programs put in place to fill those gaps. Much of the problem has to do with institutional structures and incentives, where political agendas and bureaucratic power limit the exercise of expertise to solve systemic problems.
A large part of this dilemma arises from what Andrews (2017) call the capability trap, whereby external agencies, donors and implementing partners, prepare detailed technical designs to address a problem, often based on a successful intervention in a different context, and then 'train' local staff in the implementation of that model. The local staff in these contexts have little incentive to be creative or innovative, but rather is expected to implement as planned. This does not build capacity to address new problems or opportunities, and to seek better solutions.
The Conflict Sensitivity in Education (INEE) and the Collaborative, Learning and Adapting (USAID) Frameworks, which are intended to guide sector assessments, project designs, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation, provide a different strategy for building local capacity. These frameworks can engage implementers and local stakeholders in a cyclical collaborative process, informed by attention to drivers of conflict in the education sector and schools, whereby implementing actions are collectively assessed and critiqued.
The Panel will provide three cases that illustrate this the possibilities and challenges of local institutional capacity building using these approaches, providing well-documented cases which demonstrate the efficacy of Conflict Sensitive Education (CSE), and Collaborative, Learning and Adapting (CLA) frameworks for sector assessment and planning, project design, implementation and evaluation.
Following the presentations of the three cases, there will be a discussion of the evaluation frame for local institutional capacity building, and a set of questions and answers on how to organize, manage, and evaluate an institutional capacity development for EiCC.

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