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Learning to Evaluate Capacity Development and Collaborative Learning about Community-Based Natural Resource Management: Lessons from Asia

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Learning to Evaluate Capacity Development and Collaborative Learning about Community-Based Natural Resource Management: Lessons from Asia

Abstract

Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) has made inroads in many Asian research and development organizations. Developing capacity for CBNRM among practitioners and organizations requires field-based action learning, networks and partnerships, institutional reform, and training and information support services. A major challenge has been to assess and document the role of capacity development in enhancing CBNRM outcomes. To address this challenge, nine CBNRM-oriented organizations from four countries in East and Southeast Asia established an informal regional platform to strengthen their ability to carry out such evaluation. A key lesson that emerged is that evaluative learning frameworks contribute to understanding and enhancing capacity development strategies, including scaling up, sustainability, and institutionalization. Such frameworks consist of a clear definition of context, content, capacity, the capacitated, and capacity development. Collaborative learning provides a platform for those seeking to evaluate capacity development, by enabling them not only to conduct evaluation, but also to develop their capacity to evaluate. It also allows participants to draw on their individual and collective experiences to build a practice-informed theory on evaluating capacity development. The effectiveness of evaluation can be greatly enhanced if it is built into and becomes integral to the capacity development process and is fully embraced by all those involved. An adaptive mode of learning is likewise critical to successful evaluation, as continuous conceptual and methodological refinement occurs with increased understanding of the contexts and purposes of evaluation.
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2009

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