Why Capacity Building?
Capacity Building: The Ways to the Means
For the purposes of this tool, capacity building is defined as the process through which individuals, groups of people, and organizations obtain, strengthen, and maintain the capabilities they need to set and advance goals toward chosen early learning priorities. Capacity is the means to plan and achieve organizational goals, and capacity building describes the ways to those means so that stakeholders can lead sustained improvements over time. Capacity building is ultimately focused on empowering individuals, leaders, organizations, and systems so that they can generate positive change for early learning opportunities and outcomes on behalf of communities, children, and families.
Readiness for Change
An essential ingredient for capacity building is transformation. For an activity to meet the standard of capacity building as described in this tool, it must bring about transformation that is produced and sustained over time. Transformation of this kind goes beyond performing tasks. Instead, it is more a matter of changing mindsets and attitudes and behaviors. Therefore, creating readiness for change can be a critical component of both initiating and scaling up your capacity building practices within your organization. “‘Readiness’ is defined as a developmental point at which a person, organization, or system has the capacity and willingness to engage in a particular activity” (SISEP & NIRN, 2013, p. 1). It is not static. “‘Readiness for change’ is something that needs to be developed, nurtured, and sustained.” As you move through the assessment process of this tool, discuss the potential changes with your team or group. Be thoughtful and sensitive to individual perspectives. Ask yourself, “What challenges would be faced while trying to make these changes? If these changes are not made, what impact would that have? What impact might that have on what we are trying to achieve?”
The Capacity Building Self-Assessment Tool aims to highlight capacities within and surrounding your organization, system, or any project or initiative you are launching to improve your early childhood system. In this assessment tool, there are 5 dimensions and 23 subdimensions of capacity that can help you identify the specific capabilities you want to change to improve your organizational capacity, your organizational effectiveness and efficiency, and your leadership and staff capacity. As you identify which capacities are currently in place and which gaps need to be addressed, your priorities for capacity building will become clear. The self-assessment tool allows any group or organization to identify strengths and challenges with regard to planning and achieving specified goals. Identifying areas of strength, areas of challenges, and progress made is crucial for ensuring success with whatever it is your organization is trying to advance or improve.