Starting in April 2016, the “Capitalization of Experiences for Greater Impact in Rural Development” project organised a series of training processes with hundreds of individuals, all of them representing projects and organisations in different parts of the world. Some of them were familiar with this approach while many had not heard about it, but all of them were eager to look at the best way to start and complete a process which would help them describe and analyse the work they were doing, draw lessons and recommendations, and share them with a broad audience. The training sessions led to many interesting discussions, most of which continued as part of the ongoing online community of practice (COP). And by joining these workshops and discussions, all participants actually started and completed a capitalization process, and the results of their work has been shared in more than 120 stories included in 10 booklets like this one.
These have been very positive results, and they have helped validate the approach we followed and which is presented in the different documents and training materials prepared by the project. But the objective of the project was not to train a number of representatives of projects and organisations, nor only to help them complete a capitalization process. Complementing these efforts, we were especially interested in the institutionalization of an experience capitalization approach, and in facilitating a process that would lead to its adoption in projects and organisations.
The different training workshops included a session on institutionalization, and participants looked at the problems they would face back home, and at the steps which the theory suggested they should take. Many of them prepared “action plans” which they promised they would implement, and we soon started hearing about them: some of the participants mentioned that they had shared information with their colleagues, others described the workshops they organised, and the new capitalisation processes they started. It was soon clear that the path towards institutionalization was not only theoretical, but that it was actually taking place.
More than 60 persons responded to a message sent to the members of the community of practice, all of them describing in detail their institutionalization efforts, and also the results they had already seen. Twenty-five were invited to come to the Netherlands, and together we compared the theory and the practical steps they had taken – also comparing them to the steps we took at CTA (supporting the COP, sharing information with our colleagues, training facilitators, etc.). Together we explored the main conditions and requirements needed for the effective adoption of the approach. Building on the discussions and the
peer-review process we had, participants were able to complete their case studies, and show the processes going on in countries as diverse as Argentina and Zimbabwe.
The cases captured in this booklet show the steps taken in many of these projects and organisations to support and ensure the adoption of an experience capitalization approach. Working together with their colleagues, those who joined the CTA workshops have become active “champions”: organising their own training sessions, they shared information in different ways, and have shown how others can benefit from the capitalization process.
They have helped to create the conditions for experience capitalization to be more widely adopted by their organisations. As a result, there are many
new capitalization processes going on, and many more will be taking place in the future – effectively underpinning more accountable and efficient projects in the future and greater progress in rural development.