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Last edited: December 27, 2011

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One of the most widely used models of engagement with the informal sector is creation of capacity development and training programmes. The following are key steps to consider in developing a capacity development programme:

  • Needs assessment/Situational appraisal: Like any justice sector reform effort, capacity development should begin with determining what is needed in a particular sector or community. Along with the techniques described in the Programme Planning and Design Section, needs assessment for capacity development can be done through a capacity inventory. [Editor’s note: Capacity inventories are useful in both the informal and formal justice sectors.]
  • Planning: Develop a plan to increase capacity that allows sufficient time and resources for training or other capacity provision, for people to practice new skills or use new equipment/resources, and for individuals to adjust to new roles and responsibilities as their capacity increases.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Include benchmarks for success and an evaluation component to examine whether the capacity development has met the needs outlined in the assessment.

Capacity development related to informal justice and violence against women can take many forms, but some of the most commonly used include:

  • Creating legal educational materials
  • Creating or modifying infrastructure
  • Increasing collaboration and linkages
  • Facilitating knowledge transfer
Example: In Papua New Guinea, village courts use custom to come to a decision but they are considered an official part of the formal justice sector. Village court officials are trained and supervised in some respects by the formal sector, which opens avenues of communication and should ensure the integration of women’s rights principles into the customary system.



Capacity Inventory of Justice Sector Actors. To conduct a capacity inventory, work in a team to list out the types of skills, knowledge, and relationships that are needed to accomplish a project, organizational goals, or a justice reform initiative. These lists can be very broad and inclusive – from specialized legal knowledge to typing skills. Then, if conducting individual inventories, designate an individual to interview all staff and volunteers to determine what assets they possess from the list. This will generate a “capacity resume” of each individual. Capacity inventories can be conducted on an individual, organizational, or community level. The process does not just look for deficits but also examines assets that already exist but may be unknown or under used. At the end of the process, new assets and the need for increased capacity can be revealed. At the organizational or community level, these inventories might look more like a map, instead of an extended resume. With the assets of key players documented, the places where capacity is lacking quickly become clear. See a sample Capacity Inventory developed for use in community building in the United States.