Training & Capacity Development


D3 Associates has designed and facilitated hundreds of training programs around the world. We find that training programs can often be a strategic entry point to broader change initiatives where skill building and awareness-raising may be necessary ingredients for achieving sustainable change.  We have expertise and experience in designing and facilitating customized training programs on a diverse array of topic areas that have included:

  • Conflict resolution and transformation
  • Peacebuilding
  • Designing for social change
  • Negotiation & mediation
  • Tools and methodologies for dialogue, deliberation and public engagement
  • Process design for participatory decision-making and consensus building
  • Facilitation
  • Leadership development
  • Strategic Planning
  • Theory of change / Design, Learning and Evaluation methodologies
  • Approaches for developing learning histories
  • Systems thinking

Providing training programs that focus on increasing knowledge and awareness and strengthening individual skills and behaviors is a common and visible response to the perceived need for capacity building/development.   Our approach to capacity building is based on the assumption that any given system may be dysfunctional or ineffective if there are weak or missing capacities within individuals or within other aspects of the broader system.   We believe it is important to locate the specific purpose and focus of training within a broader framework of capacity development that identifies four dimensions that influence the level of capacity an organization or initiative may have for achieving its purpose.  Consider the following graphic where the vertical axis distinguishes between a focus on the capacities of an individual and the capacities of a social system and the horizontal axis distinguishes between those changes that are internal (subjective and less visible) to the individual or system versus those that are external (objective and more visible).  Using these four dimensions can help identify more precisely important leverage points where capacities may be weak or missing.

In most cases, capacity building requires focusing attention on a combination of factors across the different quadrants.   For simplicity, consider four different scenarios as a way of highlighting the perspectives of each of these quadrants separately.

Quadrant 1:    A potential block to movement forward in an important process might be that key individuals lack sufficient awareness to act, or their current ways of thinking limit their effectiveness.  They may lack the necessary motivation or incentives to act differently.   This, however, doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of skill (quadrant 2).   In this situation, capacity building would focus on raising awareness, increasing knowledge, shifting ways of thinking, promoting different values. 

Quadrant 2:   In a given context, it may be that individuals are sufficiently motivated and have the necessary knowledge and awareness, but the lack of specific skills is impeding movement forward in a process.    In this case, capacity building would focus on training programs to build the required skills and appropriate behaviors and actions.

Quadrant 3:   It may be that individuals have the necessary knowledge, attitudes, motivation and competencies indicated in the upper quadrants, but effectiveness within the system is limited because of missing or inadequate structures or mechanisms.  Capacity building here would focus on strengthening institutional capacities (policies, laws, procedures, decision-making systems, resource allocation systems, IT systems, etc.)

Quadrant 4:   In a given context, it maybe that the barrier to a process moving forward is not located in specific individuals (upper quadrants) nor in existing structures (quadrant 3), but is situated in quadrant 4 where relationships between sectors and stakeholders are polarized and dysfunctional; power imbalances and patterns of exclusion and marginalization prevent important stakeholders from working together.   In this case, capacity building would focus on shifting patterns of interaction and relationships between individuals and groups and promoting a culture where difference and healthy expressions of conflict favor rather than impede effectiveness.