As workers at the operatinal level of development, it wasn’t very easy for us to observe the interelation between capacity development and social development in absence of national framework.
In its simplist form Social Development was defined as the gradual discovery and unfolding of the potential of a complex, integrated whole, a living organization, a living social organism (Cleveland, 1999, November 1). Applying this definition to the scene of the development in the country needed a lot of courage and optimism. With a deep understanding of the unpredictability of development, and specially to the case of Sudan, I have developed awareness about the challenges we have to deal with include the following circumestances:
- The jittery situation due to conflicts and war.
- Movement of social groups that contribute to formulation of sudden new structures and patterns. This movement is not spotaneous as normal progress of small community to larger one, or from rural to urban settings, but is unplanned mobility induced by external undesirable factors.
- Rapidly changing political structure, with ambigious merits system.
- Lack of willingness and reluctance of the endogenous groups to particiapte effectively due to lack of trust or lack of the capacity.
- Closed soci- cultural system that has been interferred with lately.
Lack of framework of thinking for development is one of the biggest factors that added to the ambiguity of the development in the country. There is no expectation as to explain what development means in this context, the thing that affected the advisory role and the leadership that could be demonstrated by the country to direct efforts contributing to the social development in the country. The efforts for capacity development then becomes lame, and measurability is not acheived.
Capacity Development defined as a concept which is broader than organisational development since it includes an emphasis on the overall system, environment or context within which individuals, organisations and societies operate and interact (and not simply a single organisation) (UNDP, 1998).
As it is mentioned above, the interrelation is not clear, and that does not apply to Sudan only, it is international but that should not justify our little or nill efforts to improve this aspect.
The relations between capacity development and social development focused on three main issues; results, priorities, and time spent for the circle to happen between both ends. According to the diagram above, it is not clear which comes first, capacity development or social development, which is true. The system needs certian level of capacity to understand and analyze priorities for capacity development, while certain level of awareness and oppeness is required for demonstrable change.
The that measurement of capacity development interventions contributing to social development is often incremental and elusive. Many indirect results might be demonstrated in between the two ends, which could be desirable and indesirable. Therefore, capacity development planning must be as sophesticated and specific as possible to allow minimum level of measurability and adaptability.
Without scruitiny of the terms, capacity development works towards social transformation and change. I would like to mention about interventions intended for democratic transformation. They are very complicated if treated politically, but they can be approached from different angle. Example for that is the experience of the german development service (DED) in sudan for democracy promotion
. Despite of the direct theme of the project, capacity devlopment was the way DED used to acheive democratic transformation. Project logic was; if people are aware enough about thier civic rights, the opportunities and the tools, and if they possess the capacity for that then democracy promotion should be the expected end, and without politicizing, democracy should mean: prioritization, equal opportunity
and fair access. Development should start by election, and then selection
. My concern was to prove the equation: democracy is more about development that politics. However, development is politics.
From my experince also; the outcomes of capacity development to be demonstrated depens first place on the culture of the people and the characteristics of the system, both socially, politically, economically and the relations. It is often happenned that capacity development is offered within specific thematic areas e.g. some are interested in health, some are environment, politics and education. To explain this point clear, it has to be mentioned that; it is not only the civil society organizations who competes for donors funding, the donors also compete for interventions and locale. The most urgent questions to be asked are: how priorities for capacity development are decided and communicated between donors and the country level including the civil society? And how rigorous external supporters are in defining areas for interventions? And what did they do to engage endogenous? For example, Sudan was and still vibrant destination for interventions on democratic transformation and social mobilization, but, the question is; the way those priorities were defined is the first step on the way to development in those specific areas. From my experience, the donors are acting top down and support is not coordinated. That can be attributed to the current staus of comfusion at the political and social systems, but the ongoing capacity development has severly
affected both from planning and implementation ponits of view.
Example to end this insertion:
Example to intervetions in Sudan is my work with one of the international organizations that focuses on development of capacity of young people to reduce the incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS among youth. In a focus group discussion at the community level, the community apprecaited the efforts of the organization, but asked what kind of support could be provided to solve their water and electricity problem. The message sent by the community was: your project is important but we have other issues that concern us to bring about development. And since the issue was government and internal responsibilities, their message was as if; we need more support in campaigning and mobilzation of community to advocate for essential services.
I said to myself:
- Does the community pose the same question in meeting with organization? Or did they have the courage to speak to us as we were young but influencial?
- Could it be more appropriate if we started different through development of the people first, and then letting them to raise their priorities?
- Where could this kinds of realization take us as community and nations?
The planners for interventions should think about how could development be more democratic, and about picking the right approach and doing appropriate prioritization for the intervention.
I worked with the DED as NGOs advisor for organizational development (2008- 2010). I worked in the sector of democracy promotion, but my experience did not entitled dealing with politics. The outcomes of our work was civil society organizations (CSOs) and community based organizations (CBOs) were able to advocate for the rights of their communities; build schools and health centers, access to micro finance opportunities and conduct direct civic education interventions.
This is my own none- tested definitions:
- Election: it is comparable to prioritization, people proactively bring up their needs and agree on them.
- Selection: the external supporters utilize the information brought up by the local communities to