When sport is used as a develpment instrument, capacity building has two dimensions. First of all, expertise and skills must be available to develop a sports organisation and allow it to operate. Additionally, expertise must be available in respect of the development objective to be achieved, such as gender, HIV/AIDS, or trauma. But even from these different points of view, capacity building in relation to sport still largely relies on the same definitions and principles. What definitions and what principles?
The following definitions of capacity building are used within the international development community:
- The process aimed at improving the skills of individuals, groups, organisations, institutions and communities for carrying out key functions, solving problems, defining and achieving objectives and understanding and dealing with the requirements needed to manage these matters sustainably.
- The process aimed at strengthening the skills of an organisation or group of organisations to improve their functioning. The point is to improve the skills of organisations, not just those of individuals within those organisations.
How does capacity building work? PSO, an association that focuses on capacity building of social organisations in developing countries, is a leading organisation in the Netherlands in this field. Below we summarise PSO's vision of capacity building.
Working on capacity building in local organisations and networks of organisations means investing on one or more of three levels:
- Human Resources Development (HRD).
- Organisational Development (OD).
- Institutional Development (ID).
Human Resources Development (HRD) means improving and keeping up to standard the quality of an organisation's human resources. This covers aspects such as how people develop and put into practice knowledge, skills, attitudes and motivation in their day-to-day work within the organisation. At this individual level, capacity building involves finding information, gaining insights, changing perceptions, values, common sense, practical skills, attitude and style. The coach-the-coach programme of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) in the MYSA project is a good example of the way in which people are trained. Go to the section Learning examples for a full description of the project.
Organisational development refers to sustainably improving and strengthening an organisation's internal capacity so that it is in a position to achieve its own organisational goals and to fulfil its mission. This is more than simply increasing the quality of the staff, although this may be a part of it. An interesting example is the Haarlem-Mutare Sport Leaders project. This project trains sport leaders who are jointly and independently in charge of the sports activities. Go to the section Learning examples for a full description of the project.
According to PSO, organisational development must devote attention to the following aspects:
- Strategy and policy (long-term planning, translating the mission into concrete goals and methods).
- Learning capacity (the ability to learn from experience and use the feedback in formulating and carrying out policy).
- Structure (formal and informal division and coordination of roles, positions and responsibilities).
- Systems (internal processes that regulate the functioning of an organisation - administration, planning, budgeting, accounting, reporting, monitoring, evaluating, learning).
- Staff (all activities and regulations intended to motivate staff, calling on and developing the capacities of staff members).
- Management style (roles of managers and other leaders and regulations applying to them, including behavioural patterns of managers, quality, consistency, availability, responses of people in a position of leadership).
- Culture (the values, principles and styles characteristic of the organisation).
- Financial management (fund-raising / fund diversification, expanding income, financial planning and accounting).
- Networking (the ability to maintain relationships and to coordinate them with actors in society who are relevant for the organisation).
- Technical competency (the ability and the means to perform certain technical duties, depending on sector and field of work).
Organisations do not exist on their own and merely for themselves; they have relations with their broader environment. This may involve a network, a sector, legislation and regulations (the "rules"), "politics", a population group, the entire society, the surrounding culture. They need to hold their ground within this environment, adapt themselves and exert influence when necessary. Only when organisations are rooted and exert influence in this broader context will they be able to survive and have an impact. In this sense, Institutional development (ID) also creates the conditions for strengthening individual organisations. NKS in Suriname, for example, had to overcome many problems related to embedding a sport organisation in the local and national structures. KNVB too has observed that the institutional context in that country has a big influence on the success of projects.
Go to the section Learning examples for a full description of these projects.