Capacity refers to all the strengths, attributes and resources available within a community, organization or society to manage and reduce disaster risks and strengthen resilience. Capacity may include infrastructure, institutions, human knowledge and skills, and collective attributes such as social relationships, leadership and management (UNISDR, 2017). At Philanthrope, our objective is to facilitate capacity building.
Capacity building refers to the initial stages of building or creating capacities. Capacity development is a concept that extends the term of capacity building to encompass all aspects of creating and sustaining capacity growth over time (UNDP, 2008). It is the process by which people, organizations and society systematically stimulate and develop to achieve social and economic goals, including through improvement of knowledge, skills, systems, and institutions (UNISDR, 2017).
It involves learning and various types of training, but also continuous efforts to develop institutions, political awareness, financial resources, technology systems, and the wider social and cultural enabling environment (UNISDR, 2009a). Furthermore, capacity development commonly refers to a process that is driven from the inside and starts from existing capacity assets (UNDP, 2010). Integral to capacity development is bringing about transformation: changing mindsets and attitudes rather than just performing tasks. However, measuring change and results in concrete terms remains a major challenge (UNDP, 2009).
How We Build Capacity
Capacity development is central for reducing risk. It is needed to build and maintain the ability of people, organisations and societies to manage their risks successfully themselves. This requires not only training and specialised technical assistance, but also the strengthening of communities’ and individuals’ capacity to recognise and reduce risks in their localities.
We participate in disaster emergency preparedness activities, that are organised on local and national levels. Philanthrope operates at grassroots level with communities and local organisations as partners, and takes a participatory approach to development planning. This allows Philanthrope to respond better to local people’s priorities and build on local capacities.
Moreover, we also work with & on behalf of the most needy groups: the poor & vulnerable. Thus, the assistance extended by civil society towards risk reduction can be through policy development and advocacy, education and awareness raising, technical assistance and human resources for risk and vulnerability assessments and enhancing community participation into local activities.