Engineering a Better WorldThe Contribution of the Engineer to Humanitarian Assistance and International DevelopmentThe Institution of Civil Engineers, 10-11 March 2010 Engineering Partner
Reducing Poverty by Enabling Access Building Capacity to Deliver Effective Transport Infrastructure: Lessons from experience Gary Taylor Managing Director I.T.Transport Limited (ITT) www.ittransport.co.uk
What is capacity building? • A coordinated process of interventions to • (i) upgrade skills • (ii) improve procedures, and • (iii) strengthen organizations. • Investment in people, institutions and practices • Capacity is built effectively when such activities contribute to the achievement of national goals while donor aid dependence decreases. World Bank PovertyNet website
What it is not! • A large, elaborate and expensive training programme with no discernible immediate practical application Nor is it: • A subcomponent of a large programme that the Consultant would rather not have to do but carries out to fulfil the Terms of Reference
Why is capacity building so important? Dead Aid? • Critics of development assistance claim much is either a waste of time or detrimental to development • Are not many of the failures in past assistance due to inattention to building capacity? • For example – no point in building a road without capacity to maintain it – otherwise needs rebuilding in 10-20 years time.
What can be learnt from experience? • What does not work? – always more obvious than the opposite • What works? – sometimes results take a long time • What Examples – personal views
Training – what was the point? • Case Study – the training of small scale (labour-based) contractors in Tanzania • A group of contractors trained in Kilimanjaro Region about 10 years ago: now have no work • Training replicated in Arusha and then Mwanza: same result, they do not have work • Lack of market research, wrong environment or wrong strategy?
What works better? • Understanding the contractors’ priorities: • Good workload • Payment on time • Training/skill development (short) • Example; Zambia Chipata contractors • Training more, very small scale contractors (petty contractors or labour-only contractors) – example Rufiji local contractors
Footnote to the above • Case Study: Local Government staff in Ghana • Wish to decentralise management of local roads but problem over lack of capacity • Found that LG staff had received lots of training but had no resources to put the training into effect
Improving Processes & Procedures - Computerisation • Case Study: computerisation of MIS in Kenya • Took four years • Never delivered what it should have done • Interim spreadsheet solution provided more benefits • Not properly thought through? Too much “black box”? • .....There are even worse examples!
What works better? • Proper research of the needs – • Example: Kenya AIE program • Keep computerisation as simple as possible (don’t be overambitious) • Break work into modules that can be separately tested and implemented (allows checking of computer specialist’s work if not all delivered at the end)
Training the right target group? • Selection process for trainees is often either: • Too restrictive in terms of qualifications (end result is small group already with training) Or • Seen as a burden so that only those staff that can be easily spared are sent for training (courses too long and not seen as immediately useful) • Result = limited impact
What works better? • Short simple training for a large number of people to achieve impact • Example: Tanzania Village level foremen/gang leaders • Training grass roots groups that are the immediate beneficiaries • Example: Nicaragua Transport committees to look after roads
Lessons Learnt • Do not train people unless you are sure that they can put the training into effect; • Where appropriate, focus training on lower levels and direct beneficiaries • Keep training focused (on customer needs) and short; • Don’t be over ambitious in computerisation and keep it modular;
Memo: Capacity Building is.... • Central to the development of infrastructure • The way to sustainability of transport infrastructure • The route by which the need for development assistance will eventually be eliminated
END Thank you