Representatives of training institutions from 27 countries around the world convened in Nairobi, 28-30 March, to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face for building the capacity of their government and civil society counterparts to address the pressing development challenges of today.
The meeting was a first step in a three year initiative funded by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs that aims to enhance the contribution and role of local authorities and their partners in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in the realization of improved local governance and sustainable development by strengthening the capacities of local government training institutes.
It was organized by UN-HABITAT in cooperation with the Danida Fellowship Center, a Danish organization aiming to sustain development through training, and the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
By 'building capacity to build capacity' the project aims to leverage and build the skills, expertise and knowledge of training institutions so as to enable them to respond to the needs of their government counterparts. The diverse range of attendees debated four questions over the course of three days:
- What are the factors of an enabling environment for training institutions? More specifically, what policy and legislation lends to or constrains an effective training institution?
- What are different institutional arrangements that are utilized by these training institutions? What collaborative arrangements do they have with Universities, private sector or other actors that support their operations?
- What are the different business models that have lent to the sustainability of training institutions? Public funding, private funding, different fee-for service arrangements, mixed models and others and what are the pros and cons to the different approaches?
- How have these training institutions moved towards becoming ‘learning institutions” and why did they do so? Have some training institutions become more diverse in their service offerings to include capacity assessments, networking and linking to learning opportunities in other countries, and offering more varied learning programmes?
Through a series of presentations, dialogues and open question sessions the attendees shared their experiences and knowledge, as well as developing action plans to take the work ahead at both regional and local levels so as to involve a wider array of training institutions and partners.
Dr. Samson Kassahun, Associate Professor and Academic Vice President of the Ethiopian Civil Service College noted, “Capacity building interventions in the urban arena is a complex undertaking. This is an excellent opportunity for exchanging experiences to understand the different modalities used by training institutions around the world, in areas such as policy, legislation, institutional arrangements, types of business models, and on how to transform into ‘learning institutions’.”
Ana Vasilache, Executive Director of the Partners Foundation for Local Development in Romania said, “We have worked with UN-HABITAT since 1995 building central and south eastern European training institutions and this meeting gave me the extraordinary opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. As UN-HABITAT Executive Director Joan Clos said, shifting the focus from only human capacity development toward building social and institutional capital is an important strategic direction to be followed if we want to have a significant impact”.
The presentations for the event, the agenda and terms of reference can be found below.
To learn more about this meeting and the next steps of the project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org