Donors and capacity development in Guyana and Bangladesh

Rethinking capacity development
67 p.

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Development agencies' concerns about aid effectiveness are being increasingly linked to aid-recipient countries' concerns about development effectiveness. A consideration of these twin focal points has led to new ways of conceptualizing the potential role of capacity development in leading ministries of education away from sub-sectoral education "projects" towards enhanced budgets that will allow for an adequate expansion of quality education for all - and, ultimately, poverty reduction. The challenge for development agencies, in particular, is how precisely to support capacity development, when, as the OECD's guidance states, it is likely to remain ineffective when not endogenous, when it lacks an impulse from within. The case studies of Guyana and Bangladesh, while very different from each other, underline the importance of cross-sectoral public sector reform. The constraints on such reforms differ in each case, but the necessity of their underpinning any particular capacity development in education planning and management is clear. Another significant factor is the donor community's perspective in the two countries. The lack of incentive, seen in the case of Bangladesh, for donors to accede in their practices to the principles of the Paris Declaration (such as country leadership and donor harmonization) is noted. What becomes clear in both case studies is the need for policy dialogue on aid effectiveness to focus on development effectiveness - embracing holistic capacity development, supported by donor agencies but managed (where possible) by recipient countries.