|Overview : |
The UN in Malawi has recently finalized the new United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2019-2023 that will operationalize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contribute to the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) within the framework of Agenda 2063. This UNDAF recognizes the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which states that the capacity to plan, manage, implement and account for results is critical for achieving development goals. A root cause analysis conducted in 2017 in Malawi highlighted capacity gaps including human, financial, and organizational, which are also compounded by lack of a clear framework for identification of knowledge/skills insufficiencies both technical/specific and within the areas of planning, implementation and monitoring. The absence of clear frameworks for identification, oversight and accountability lead to a large disconnect between inputs and achievement of results. For the delivery of results within the three pillars of the UNDAF: 1) Peace, Inclusion and Effective Institutions; 2) Population Management and Inclusive Human Development and; 3) Inclusive and Resilient Growth, there is need to address these gaps in a holistic and coherent manner.
Over the years, the UN has supported many aspects of capacity development, but this has primarily been at the thematic institutional or project level. Efforts have been fragmented with limited or no tracking of impact on results or review of alternative ways of transferring knowledge, skills or accountability for institutional changes and impact. An initial review of UN Capacity Development in 2015 found that the current approach is neither efficient nor effective in bringing about the joint goals as articulated in the UNDAF and national plans. Since capacity development is such a broad area of work there has been a lack of an operational definition which would enable both the UN and the Government to narrow down its focus to those areas where the UN can invest and contribute to change. Achieving results is the primary objective of the UN’s capacity development efforts. The Government has undertaken decentralization processes at district level in the implementation of its national strategy, increasing the need for an efficient and effective capacity development strategy for the UNDAF at decentralized level.
Recognising the critical role of capacitating national processes but also taking into account the existing challenges of the current approach to Capacity Development, the UNDAF 2019-2023 has included as a transformational principle to change incentive structures through moving from trainings and workshops to interventions that are informed by capacity assessments, clear objectives, alternative and innovative approaches and the move towards the professionalization of skills acquired.
The UN seeks to engage the services of a qualified Consultant to develop a Capacity Development Strategy, including a results framework and operational plan, which will promote a common and systematic approach among the UN agencies to the identification, design, and monitoring and evaluation of capacity development initiatives. The results-oriented framework will include an operational definition of capacity development and the results that can be expected from capacity development efforts with a focus on:
cutting across areas at the institutional level and the individual level;
identification of appropriate methods of change (beyond the workshop culture);
build on existing systems; and
touching on programme-based approaches.
Accordingly, the consultancy will be undertaken in two phases:
Phase 1: Review of initiatives across UN agencies, development of operational definition of capacity development and draft outline for the Strategy, Results Framework and Operational plan.
Phase 2: Formulation of the Capacity Development Strategy, Capacity Development Results Framework and Operational plan.
The overall goal of the capacity development strategy and its results framework is to enable the respective UN agencies under the three UNDAF pillars to have a coherent measurable approach to capacity development in Malawi which will result in improved delivery of programmes and contribute to achievement of national priorities. This will be underpinned by a Capacity Development approach that aims to: (i) strengthen the capacity in government in the identification, design, and monitoring and evaluation of capacity development initiatives (ii) improve accountability for the delivery of results stemming from capacity development initiatives (iii) define capacity development strategies to apply at national, district and community levels (iv) assess program results achieved (v) integrate indicators into program design to track progress and make adjustments for improvements and (vi) to communicate results to stakeholders and donors.
As a long-term approach, improving Capacity Development in Malawi requires a change in mindset, moving away from thinking of capacity building in terms of incidental activity-specific training towards a holistic programme approach including strengthening of existing government systems and the professionalization of skills acquired that ensures sustainable means of addressing capacity gaps within national and subnational institutions. The capacity development strategy and the results framework should be more inclusive across the five domains of Capacity Development, namely: policy and legislation, institutional accountability, strategic planning and financing; programme design and delivery as well as engagement and participation of non-state actors.