Step 1: Engage

Once support is requested, the first step in the five-step capacity development process is to identify and engage relevant stakeholders on the capacity development agenda and how it can support achievement of national human development goals. Stakeholders could include national and sub-national governments, sector agencies, single ministries, line departments, independent commissions, hybrid (or cross-sectoral) institutions, civil society organisations, national CSO platforms, etc. Ensuring an effective capacity development response requires building political commitment to and thus ownership of capacity development among key stakeholders and embedding capacity development in broader national development priorities and investment plans/budgets.

A poverty reduction strategy (PRS) or a national development plan or strategy can be the starting point for a dialogue on capacity development. At the sector or thematic level, programme-based approaches such as Sector-wide Approaches (SWAps) offer an equivalent framework for engaging different stakeholders on capacity development. At the institutional level, organisational mandates can be a starting point for discussion with national partners. Regardless of level, the strategic goals and objectives (of a country, sector, organization) will drive the kinds of capacities needed to achieve those goals.

It must be noted that while engaging stakeholders is depicted as the first step of the capacity development process, on-going engagement is crucial at every step of the process.