CapEFA - 5-Step capacity development approach

CapEFA takes advocacy and assessments of existing national capacities as its point of departure and works to consolidate them through a structured programme approach and through synergies and partnership arrangements with local education actors and the private sector.

The five inter-connected steps described below are adapted and fine-tuned according to the specific contexts in which the Programme operates and in line with priorities identified by Member States.

Step 1: Advocacy, dialogue and consensus building

  • The objective of Step 1 is to engage stakeholders in a dialogue to ensure national ownership of the process, discuss national needs and priorities, and agree on the overall goals and objectives of the Programme.
  • Capacity development can only be successful in the long term with internal commitment and a sense of ownership from all who will benefit from the process. Step 1 ignites a demand-driven process led by the government that allows CapEFA’s assistance to be relevant and adapted to the country’s context. It also harmonizes UNESCO’s work with interventions of national and international development partners and within national and multinational development frameworks, and fosters partnerships between all actors and stakeholders implicated in the delivery of education.

Step 2: Joint conception and implementation of capacity assessments and mapping exercises

  • The objective of Step 2 is to design and conduct an assessment exercise to obtain a better understanding of existing capacities and how these can be developed to ensure that the national education system within a specific sub-sector (e.g. literacy, TVET or teachers ) or at a sector-wide level  addresses EFA issues and meets the needs of different population groups.
  • The assessment exercise is undertaken by a national team with guidance from UNESCO, being therefore a capacity development exercise in itself: it allows national counterparts to develop a clearer knowledge of their institutions and organizations’ strengths and weaknesses, and to propose creative solutions.
  • Step 2 should lead to the identification of existing capacity levels and the creation of a capacity baseline from which to establish desired improvements and to monitor progress.

Step 3: Formulation of a capacity development response

  • The objective of Step 3 is to formulate a consensual capacity development response that addresses the gaps identified in the capacity assessment.
  • With the capacity baseline in hands and a broad reflection on the results of the assessment exercise, the Programme works alongside the beneficiary groups and country counterparts to identify priority areas for interventions and design an action plan with the identification of resources (human and financial), tools and implementation modalities, detailed description of costs and budget, and agreement on benchmarks and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation. If the budget proves to be insufficient to cover all proposed interventions, the findings of the capacity assessment should guide the prioritization of activities.

Step 4: Implementation of the capacity development action plan

  • The objective of Step 4 is to put in practice the action plan by implementing the agreed interventions to achieve short, medium and long term impact. The action plan itself should not be seen as a stand-alone or parallel process. It should be an integral part of on-going education reform and part of the broader education sector strategy, or sub-sector policy, in which the CapEFA response is embedded.
  • Implementation is carried out through existing national systems. This approach facilitates ownership, ensures the strengthening of existing networks and avoids the creation of parallel – and often short-lived –structures. To ensure sustainability, interventions should include exit strategies that allow national beneficiaries to be ready to take over and perform new functions at the end of the Programme.

Step 5: Monitoring, quality assurance and evaluation

  • In practice, and ideally, Step 5 is not an isolated step, but a continuous process that is embedded in each step of the approach.
  • It ensures the ongoing oversight of the Programme’s developments, progress and obstacles towards its targets, and the continual learning and interactive mechanism for adjusting and improving implementation and effectiveness, as well as for ensuring accountability both towards national counterparts and supporting donors. Step 5 allows the mainstreaming of lessons learned from programme experiences into upstream technical support and guidance, and the sharing of good practices within CapEFA with countries facing similar challenges.
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