Every year the Pacific Community (SPC) undertakes and supports significant capacity development work with its Pacific Island members. Key to the success of these efforts is a deep understanding of the unique development challenges that exist in the Pacific, and the specific needs of each one of our members.
To ensure that SPC continues to fully reflect the priorities of its membership, SPC’s Strategy, Performance and Learning (SPL) unit commissioned an independent evaluation in 2019 to build evidence of the extent and impacts of the organizations capacity development efforts.
The evaluation assessed training, mentoring, coaching, peer-to-peer exchanges, attachments, extension visits and technical assistance for 478 capacity development events and programmes including 4507 participants held between the 01 July 2018 and 30 June 2019.
The evaluation showed the clear value and strength of SPC’s work in the region, but also brought to the fore important areas of possible improvement to further increase SPC's impact on Pacific development priorities.
Capacity development impacts for countries included amendments to policy and legislation, review of or changes to standard ways of working, providing awareness raising, education or training to other organisations, communities and team members, and improved networks, coordination or intent to coordinate.
Just over 80% of survey respondents reported that the capacity development program was relevant for both work and personal goals while over 50% reported higher aspirations or setting higher goals as a result of their participation. Participants also generally perceived the capacity development activity to be valuable with a majority reporting getting more out of it than they were required to put in. Overall SPC provides high value capacity development programmes that are contextually relevant to people who are on the receiving end of these.
Capacity development outcomes for individuals varied but included improved knowledge, technical skills, and confidence. Respondents also reported an increased understanding of their roles; undertaking additional roles at work and translation of technical skills to tasks not directly covered in the training; Most notably respondents also reported increased motivation, drive, and resolve; a stronger sense of the importance of the role or topic; and changed attitudes or values. Well over three quarters of the respondents reported that the training was very engaging, and two thirds reported more confidence in their ability to perform in their role. Over a third of respondents reported that they had followed up on new areas of learning as a result.
Up to 20% of respondents confirmed that they were able to teach the tasks to others and /or had been promoted as a result of attending the capacity development event.
Older participants (over 45 years) were more likely than younger participants to report significant or very significant changes in the way their team worked as a result of the training. Respondents in the younger bracket (under 35 years) were markedly less likely to report the highest level of confidence and more likely to report wanting support and guidance.
Areas for improvement identified in the evaluation included a need for a capacity development policy framework for the organisation; more robust assessments of capacity development efficiency and effectiveness, stronger strategies to close capacity development gender gaps and a stronger focus on assessing data around actual cost of capacity development efforts.
Detailed information on SPC’s strategic capacity development evaluation can be found on our website www.spc.int in our digital library on this link. The evaluation was carried out by Charles Darwin University’s Realist Research, Evaluation and Learning Initiative, together with an SPC Evaluation Advisory Group using a co-design, co-implementation approach.