Module 5 - Capacity Building for Sustained Change

Benefits of Capacity Building

Capacity building is valuable and important because of its many long-term impacts. For example,

  • Capacity building approaches purposefully minimize an over-reliance on outside experts as sources of knowledge, resources, and solutions to community issues. By preventing a dependency relationship on outsiders from forming, capacity building encourages local people to take action on local issues themselves.

  • Capacity building fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment, so that community partners gain greater control over their own future development.

  • Strengthened confidence, skills, knowledge, and resources that increase from capacity building efforts on one project may enhance a community partner's ability to envision and take action on other projects.

  • Capacity building efforts are sensitive to the particularities of local culture and context, and, as a result, often lead to more feasible and appropriate community solutions than approaches that lack a capacity building focus.

  • Capacity building approaches to community work acknowledge that growth, learning, and change occur reciprocally; that is, both you and your community partner are expected to be different at the end of your collaborative community work. Ideally, your community partner will be more effective and successful in addressing community issues, and you will learn about working with community partners more effectively and respectfully.


ConversationAnother Kitchen Conversation

Overall, Alicia was pleased with her progress and was confident the new webpages would be ready for the big event.

One day, after the staff meeting, Ryan helped her clean up. They started talking about her next steps now that the content was mostly finalized. Alicia seized the moment and asked Ryan if he had any ideas about how she might teach others at Riverfront how to make simple webpage updates themselves. She explained that she was worried about how much they relied on students and how much she wanted to help them out in the short term (with a nice new webpage) and in the long term (keeping their pages updated themselves). Ryan thought about it for a moment and then shared an idea with her.

Ryan told Alicia about how their accountant had been trying for a few years to have the staff complete travel reimbursement forms in a way that made the accounting easier. Everyone had gotten into the habit of relying on the accountant to straighten things out. No matter how many times he brought up the inaccurately completed paperwork during staff meetings, people just turned the paper work in the way they wanted to because they knew he would always take care of fixing their mistakes for them.


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