UNDERSTANDING CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FROM INSIDERS? PERSPECTIVES: A CASE STUDY OF AN URBAN REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT IN MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

Abstract

Author(s): Mine SATO

In contrast to the current discussion on Capacity Development (CD) which is mostly made from donors’ aid-effectiveness point of view, this paper attempts to explore what foreign donors can learn about CD by tracing the endogenous and long-running CD process from insiders’ perspectives. As a case study, an urban redevelopment project called MIB of the Medellin City of Colombia is examined. After clarifying the initial context of urban poverty in Colombia, the paper traces the six phases of the MIB project: institutional preparation and awareness enhancement, conception of the inclusive-urbanism idea, planning of the MIB, construction/reconstruction of the residences, resettlement of residents, and the scaling-up. Then the paper makes in-depth analysis of the whole process, focusing on five key CD factors identified by Hosono et al (2011): stakeholder ownership, mutual learning, specific drivers, scaling up, and roles of external actors. From the analysis, the paper draws four major lessons on CD research and practice in the future. First, we need to change our time frame by which we look at the CD process. The MIB experience shows that the process can be by far longer than what has been assumed to be by donors and researchers. Second, the current project-centered periodization of development assistance and the overwhelming focus on the project period should be reconsidered. In the MIB, the project implementation phase took only five years among the total process of 30 years. Third, the MIB case shows that documentation of previous projects and seminars which occur in the pre-project phase under donors’ auspices can greatly help local specialists conceive new ideas. Fourth, the post-project phase also merits a greater attention to identify constraints to sustainability and replicability of the project concerned and to explore what external actors can do to overcome the constraints. The paper concludes by pointing out the necessity of accumulating the similar kind of case studies on the CD process made from insiders’ perspectives.

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