Water in Southern Africa: Capacity Building a Misguided Effort?

Thursday 27 August | 16.00-17.30 | Room: NL 357

In the session, we would like to discuss innovative new ways of approaching capacity building in the southern African region. This is a facilitated discussion between representatives from government, academia, consultancies, and non-governmental organisations to find out how current capacity building initiatives can be reviewed to address the capacity needs in the water sector. The seminar builds on a seminar held at the 2014 WWW where the question was asked whether in terms of capacity building in the water sector we are merely “getting better at doing the wrong things”.

The methodological framework is the proposed iKnowledge (iK) model which departs from previous initiatives in that the individual is the starting point for knowledge development. The model has been co-created by the AU/NEPAD SANWATCE and SIWI Africa Regional Office. Application of new knowledge by individuals in their institutional positions is most likely when initiatives address their interests and limitations. iK aims at tailoring capacity building to the drivers and realities of the individuals. iK institutional change will be achieved by overlaying individual drivers and institutional needs in capacity building. In the iK model, the process of co-developing activities (planning phase) is as important as the outcomes. 


Capacity building in the region needs to be revisited to shift the discussion from ‘us’ (the trainers) and ‘them’ (the trainees) to ‘I’ (interests) and ‘we’ (institutional needs). How can this shift take place on both sides? How can training programmes be made more effective and reach the right people? What does capacity building look like in the future as the pressure becomes ever higher in this water scarce region, yet the brain drain puts additional strain on institutions? Basically: How can capacity building in Southern Africa be re-thought to achieve water for sustainable development?