An Assessment of Woreda Capacity

The case of Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet Woredas in Oromia National Regional State

Master's Thesis, 2012

115 Pages, Grade: Very good


Table of Contents


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

List of tables


Chapter One
1 Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.3.1 General Objectives of the Study
1.3.2 Specific Objectives of the Study
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Research Design and Methodology
1.5.1 Sample Size and Selection
1.5.2 Data Collection Techniques Questionnaires Focus Group Discussion Interview with Key Informants Document Analysis
1.5.3 Data Analysis and Presentation
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

2. Organization of the Paper

Chapter Two
Review of Literature
2.1 The Concept of Capacity
2.2 Capacity Building
2.2.1 Dimensions of Capacity Building or Capacity Development Individual Development Organizational Development Institutional Development Human Resource Development Societal Development
2.2.2 Factors that Determines the Success of Capacity Building or Capacity Development Internally Initiated and Demand Driven Strong Political leadership and Commitment The Prevailing System of Governance and Policy Environment The Broader Environment Availability and Management of Resources
2.3 Capacity Building for Decentralized Local Governments
2.4 Decentralization and Capacity Building in Ethiopia

Chapter Three
Data Presentation and Analysis
3.1. Description of the Study Areas
3.1.1. Gindeberet Woreda Profile
3.1.2. Abuna Gindeberet Woreda Profile
3.2. Data Analysis and Interpretation
3.2.1. Power and Structures of Woredas
3.2.2. Human Resource Capacity
3.2.3. Management Capacity
3.2.4. Financial Capacity
3.2.5. Availability of Facilities
3.2.6. Enabling Work Environment Internal Enabling Environment External Enabling Environment
3.2.7. Community Participation

Chapter Four
4. Conclusions and Recommendations
4.1. Conclusions
4.2 Recommendations



Annex 2


Annex 4


Annex - 6



First and for most I would like to thank my advisor Professor C.D.Dash for his academic guidance and constructive criticism in the course of the study. Furthermore, my gratitude also extends to my parents especially to my mother Hamelmal Wasie who have played a great role in shaping and making my life bright.

Furthermore, I owe my deepest gratitude to my uncle Ato Fetene Getachew and his wife W/ro Getenesh Gosaye for their parental love they showed and thought me. My heartfelt thanks also goes to my younger brothers Abel Fetene and Kidanemariam Fikadu, and my elder brother Kinde Wasie for their brotherly advice and moral throughout the program.

Moreover, I woul like to extend my gratitude to my father Ato Fikadu Mulubrihan; and W/ro Mihret for their advice, moral and financial support throughout the program.

Besides, my appreciation goes to public servants of Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet Weredas who thought me a lesson about the challenges of real research. Moreover, I would like to extend my gratitude to the study Wereda officials who participated on the focus group discussion and key informants for their valuable information they provided me. Above all, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Gindeberet Wereda TVET administration and Abuna-Gindeberet Wereda Finance and Economic Development office administration for allowing me their premise to organize the focus group discussion.

Further, my gratitude also extends to my aunt Tewabech Belay, my brothers Nebro Kefyalew, Eshetu Mulubiran, Alemu Beza, Belay Dagnachew, my uncles Dagnachew Hunegnaw and Teferi Alemu, and my friends Fufa Abetu, and Abera Benti who have highly engaged in the collection of questionnaires.

Finally, I also thank all those who have contributed in one-way or another to the successful completion of my study but whom I do not have mentioned their name.

List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt


Table 1: Staff Availability in Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet

Weredas sector offices (2004 E.C)

Table 2: Management Capacity

Table 3: Financial Capacity

Table 4: Budget and Sources of Budget in Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet Weredas

Table 5: Availability of Office Equipment or Facilities

Table 6: Internal Enabling Environment

Table 7: External Enabling Environment

Table 8: Level of Community Participation


This research assesses woreda capacity in Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet Woreda of WestShoa Zone Oromia National Regional State since the implementation of District LevelDecentralization Program. To this end, the research has assessed the human resource, financial,managerial, facility capacity as well as the extent to which enabling work environment andcommunity participation is available. In order to achieve these objectives, qualitative andquantitative research approaches were used. Furthermore, to generate qualitative andquantitative data primary and secondary sources were employed. Key informant interview,questionnaires, and focus group discussions were used as primary sources whereas financialand human resource reports and other relevant documents were used as secondary sources. Both probability and non-probability sampling techniques were employed.

The finding of the study indicated that the capacity building program which was launched toaddress the problem of rural woredas has not brought about significant changes or could notbring about the desired change though there are some improvements in terms of communityparticipation, service delivery and responsiveness to customers. It has also empowered woredacivil servants to provide decisions on their own. However, constraints of resources and itsutilization, lack of conducive work condition, lack of strong political leadership andcommitment, and lack of governance system have been identified as factors responsible for theineffectiveness of the program. Accordingly, the study found out among other things, problem ofadequate and competent human resources as well as lack of managerial capacity. Furthermore,woredas have limited financial and human resource autonomy as well as lack autonomy to setpriority and targets. Besides, low revenue generating capacity has forced woredas to heavilyrely on block grant from the regional government. Moreover, the overall work environment wasnot conducive and attractive as inter alia organizational structures were unclear, unstable andcomplex as well as there was weak coordination and communication among local governance actors. The level of the participation of the community in matters affecting their life was foundnot to the desired level.

It is therefore, generally recommended that for the capacity building effort to be materializedand achieve the desired objectives, there is a need to fulfill the following conditions thatenhances the successful implementation of the program, viz. availability of resources and properutilization, strong political leadership and commitment, enabling work environment and thegovernance system has to be improved.

Chapter One 1 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Decentralization and local governance are not a new concept though their emergence and exposure to academic discourses and discussions is a recent phenomenon. The two concepts are highly interrelated and interdependent concepts as local governance is defined to be the interaction between or among different local governance actors (private, public, and civil society organizations) as well as the coordination and integration among different sectors; whereas decentralization is a process that involves the transfer of planning, management, resource raising and allocation responsibility and functions from the central government and its agencies to one or more of the following local governance actors or institutions: field units of central government ministries or agencies, subordinate units or levels of government, semiautonomous public authorities or corporations, area-wide, regional or functional authorities, or nongovernmental private or voluntary organization.

Accompanied by one or more of the following benefits of decentralized governance like improving the life of people at local level, enhancing human development, and deepening democracy, bringing the government closer to the people, promoting government responsiveness and accountability, increasing government’s flexibility to address diverse needs of the population, reducing corruption through enhanced oversight, promoting the dispersal of power from monopolized political structures, and ensuring allocative efficiency (Rondinelli,, 1983; Smoke, 2003; Rondinelli, 1999; Rondinelli,, 1989; Litvack,, 1998; Devas, 2006; Olowu, 2001; Conyers, 2006; Shah and Thompson, 2004; Hadingham, 2003; Lister and Betley, 1999; Cheema and Rondinelli, 2007; Crawford and Hartmann, 2008; Faguet, 1997; Middleton, 1987) though the result is one of mixed (Rondinelli,, 1983), several countries have embraced one or more forms of decentralization as a means to promote participatory development and governance.

Ethiopia has a limited experience of decentralization compared with several other African countries in which developed system of local government prevailed from colonial powers legacy. The effort to decentralize responsibility and power was begun in the country during the reign of emperor Menilik II with the purpose to ease the tension between the center and the periphery on the one hand and the administrative systems on the other (Daniel, 1994). The effort continued under the reign of emperor Haileselassie I who issued different proclamations and decrees such as the administrative decentralization of 1942, and Order No. 43 of 1966 to empower awrajas with a deconcentrated responsibility and functions and promote rural development as well as bring the growing local government activities in to manageable dimensions (Tegegne and Kassahun, 2004; Meheret, 2002; Dickovick and Tegegne, 2010; Fenta, 1998). The Derg regime also continued the top-down system of administration through establishing a centralized and unitary state. Furthermore, the regime had instituted Urban Dwellers Associations and Peasant Associations and Service Cooperatives as an instrument to bring about economic, political and social development through devolving substantial authority (Yigremew, 2001). However, decentralization with the objective of empowering citizens and devolving power was not exercised and genuine.

In order to realize the benefits of decentralization the present government has adopted decentralized system of governance through the 1995 constitution that declared the country as federal government comprising of nine national regional states and two administrative cities (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa) with power and authority to self-rule. The constitution has empowered regional governments to have their own legislative, executive and judicial power; to pass legislation on matters falling under their jurisdiction, to enact state constitution and other laws consistent with the federal constitution; formulate and execute economic, social and development policies, strategies and plans; administer land and other natural resources as per the federal laws; levy and collect taxes and duties on revenue sources reserved to them and to allocate and administer budget; enact and apply laws on the state civil service and their condition of work; and establish and administer state police force, and maintain public order and peace within their jurisdictions (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Constitution, 1995, Article 50 & 52).

Even though, Article 50 (4) of the federal constitution proclaimed that in order to enable the people participate directly in the administration of local units adequate power to be granted to the lowest units of government, in the 1990s the initiative of decentralization was mostly limited to regional level without clear definitions of powers and duties of the lower tiers of government. It is only from 2001 onwards that Ethiopia began to adopt a decentralized form of local governance characterized by devolution.

As a result, the 2001 revised constitution of Oromia National Regional State has established woredas as one of the basic tiers of government for the provision of services as they are closer to the grassroots population. Accordingly, the region’s constitution Article 76-89 has empowered woredas inter alia to plan, approve, implement and evaluate social services, economic development and public administration, oversee the activities of basic agricultural development and natural resources, mobilize and activate the community for development, ensure the proper collection of land use taxes, agricultural income taxes and other taxes as determined by the law, and utilize revenues that falls within its jurisdictions.

Furthermore, the government has launched nationwide capacity building initiatives to be headed by the Ministry of Capacity Building. Accordingly, the National Capacity Building Program (NCBP) with an emphasis to 14 sectors was launched among which District Level Decentralization Program was inaugurated mainly to address local capacity challenges in rural woreda areas (Dickovick and Tegegne, 2010; MoFED, 2002).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Ethiopia has been ruled by a highly centralized system of governments which did not allowed local autonomy and local discretion to lower tiers of government. Accordingly, local governments under the previous two regimes served as a field agent and instrument of control over local population.

However, the 1991 governmental change has ushered in a decentralized system of governance in which power was devolved from the center to regions to enable different ethnic groups develop their culture and language, manage socio-economic development in their respective jurisdictions, exercise self-rule and bring about an equitable share of national resources among the regions, promote harmony among different groups and develop self-rule (Meheret, 2002; Tegegne and Kassahun, 2004; Tegegne, 2007). Moreover, the practice of decentralization in Ethiopia was a response to the hitherto highly centralized system of governance on the one hand and the federation created under the previous unitary system on the other (Assefa, 2006).

The realization of effective decentralization relies on the presence of certain conditions such as the availability of resources like human resources; financial resources; and physical infrastructures and how best they are utilized; the willingness and the commitment of leaders at different levels; the presence of conducive organizational conditions; the attitude of the local people towards the government and the commitment of local leaders; and appropriate institutional capacity (Rondinelli,, 1983; Rondinelli,, 1989). However, in Ethiopia these conditions were hardly available as the decentralization policy, particularly of Woredas, were characterized by administrative and institutional capacity gaps, viz. shortage of administrative and personnel capacity to carry out socio-economic functions and poor revenue base, lack of independent taxation authority and restrictions on raising local revenue have inhibited effective self-government, lack of adequate decision making power and self-rule, and compelled them to heavily rely on support from regional and central governments (Meheret, 2002; Tegegne and Kassahun, 2004; Dickovick and Tegegne, 2010, Yegremew, 2001).

Realizing these facts the government has launched National Capacity Building Program that comprises of 14 sectors, (such as civil service reform, tax reform, justice reform, district decentralization, information and communication technology, private sector, construction sector, urban management, cooperatives, textile and garments, agricultural training of vocational and technical levels, industrial training of vocational and technical levels, civil society, and higher education) which involves a systematic combination of human resources, working systems and institutions that would enable a country to achieve its development objectives. Furthermore, in collaboration with the World Bank the government has initiated a five-year Capacity Building for Decentralized Service Delivery Project (CBDSD) with the objective to improve service delivery performance by building public sector capacity at the federal, regional, and local levels of the country’s decentralized government system (Yegremew,, 2005; Dickovick and Tegegne, 2010; MoFED, 2002 ).

Furthermore, in order to alleviate the capacity gaps of local governments District Level Decentralization Program was designed to deepen democratization process, enable legislations, fiscal reform, institutional restructuring, and to establish more offices to be manned through redeploying employees from regional and zonal administrations (MoFED, 2002).

However, there are little evidences that show the extent to which the capacity building program was effective in filling the capacity gaps that have already been identified. Furthermore, there were no priorly undertaken studies to assess the result of capacity building initiatives in the two study woredas . Hence, this is the gap that this study wishes to fill with a particular focus on Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet Woredas in Oromia National Regional State.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

1.3.1 General Objectives of the Study

The general objective of the study is to examine whether capacity building program’s process is effective in bringing about the desired outcomes in Gindeberet and Abuna-Gindeberet woredas with focus on variables like human resources, financial capacity, enabling environment, community participation and other related issues.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives of the Study

In accordance with the stated general objective, the study has addressed the following specific objectives:

- Describe the basic constitutional functions assigned to woredas under study .
- Analyze the overall activity of the two woredas in the area of human resource development (training and development) to enhance the performance of local government employees.
- Assess human resource capacities of woredas under study in terms of adequacy, qualifications, and skills.
- Assess the availability of the necessary infrastructures and office equipment to the successful implementations of local development plans and functions.
- Identify the financial capacity of the woredas under study .
- Assess the existing enabling work environments (both internal and external enabling environments).
- The extent of community participation in local development planning, implementations, monitoring and evaluation.

1.4 Research Questions

The study has addressed the following basic research questions:

- What are the basic functions and responsibilities assigned to woredas under study?
- Do woredas (Gindeberet and Abuna-Gindeberet) have adequate, qualified and skilled Personnel?
- Do woredas have adequate fiscal capacity and resources to undertake local development planning, monitoring and executions?
- Do woredas have adequate infrastructure and office equipment’s to run local socio economic development?
- Is the environment (internal and external) conducive to effectively execute local
-unctions and responsibilities?
- To what extent local government under study engage the local community in matters that affect their life?

1.5 Research Design and Methodology

In order to capitalize on the strength of both approaches and compensate for the weakness of each approach the research has made use of the combinations of qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Qualitative approach particularly case study is selected as it represents a comprehensive and in-depth observation, description, explanation, analysis of many components of a given social situations or analysis of individual case that be a person, group, episode, process, community, society, a program, event, activity, process, or one or more individuals or any other unit of social life with the purpose to develop as full understanding of that case as possible. It aims to understand the case in depth, and in its natural setting, recognizing its complexity and context. Moreover, case study places more emphasize on the full analysis of a limited number of events or conditions and their interrelations (Babbie, 1973; Kumar, 1999; Creswell, 2009; Punch, 1998; Kothari, 2004).

Thus, case study is justified so as to enable a thorough investigation of the case through exploring attitudes, behavior and experiences by using such research techniques like interview, focus group discussions, and unstructured and semi-structured questionnaires. It is also preferred due to the fact that the research involves empirical inquiries and assists to collect as many data as possible about the subject under study etc.

Two cases are selected in order to maximize the data and reach at a stronger conclusion about the issue under study.

On the other side of the coin, quantitative research approaches descriptive survey method is employed as it produces quantitative information about the social world and describe feature of the characteristics of large population, and analyze several variables simultaneously (Babbie, 1986; Neuman, 1994). It helps to reach on generalized proposition about human behavior, attitudes, beliefs/opinions, characteristics, expectations, self-classifications, knowledge, etc. It helps to get the greatest amount of understanding from the fewest number of variables, provides empirical verifications and it is logical (Babbie, 1973; Neuman, 1994). It is also used to explain or explore. Moreover, it is probably the best method to collect original data for describing population too large to observe directly, and it is excellent tools for measuring attitudes and orientations in a large population (Babbie, 1986). Besides, it saves time and costs.

Descriptive survey research is important for the study as it has a paramount importance to analyze several variables, provide empirical justification, and to collect original data. Moreover, it helps to measure the attitudes and beliefs of large sample in relatively short period of time. Besides, survey research is desirable as the research comprises of tabulation and statistical treatment. Furthermore, descriptive survey research is preferable as the main target of the research is to assess how effective capacity building is in the two study woredas and how adequate the resources available are. Moreover, it has paramount importance as the researcher has investigated the capacity building challenges and opportunities of the two woredas under study.

1.5.1 Sample Size and Selection

Woreda level administration is taken as a focal point due to the fact that they are key local units of government as they play key roles in prioritizing the provision of public services (Loop, 2002). The two woredas are selected due to the convenience the researcher has in terms of access to collect data. Moreover, they are also selected to compare the two woredas as Gindeberet is the forefather of Abuna-Gindeberet woreda. Last but not least, Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet woredas are selected due to the fact that they are considered as remote area though they are only about 180 and 184KM respectively from Addis Ababa.

The study has made use of both probability and non-probability sampling techniques. A probability sampling is proved if a sample is representative of the population from which it is selected and if all members of the population have equal chance of being selected in the sample (Babbie, 1973). Accordingly, in order to provide all civil servants of both woredas equal chance of being selected and avoid bias, simple random sampling was employed. Accordingly, the names of the woreda civil servants were found and samples were drawn using the 'lottery' method of selection.

Moreover, the non-probability sampling used was purposive and convenience sampling. According to Neuman (1994), purposive Sampling is appropriate in three situations; to select unique cases that are especially informative; to select members of a difficult-to-reach, specialized population; to identify particular type of cases for in-depth investigation. Having this factors in mind key interview informants and focus group discussion participants’ were selected purposively based on their familiarity to the issue, their seniority, as well as the different positions they held at different time so that it enables to get more reliable and dependable information about the issue under study. In spite of its disadvantage, convenience sampling is used in order to address questionnaires to members of woreda cabinets and councils as it is difficult to administer the questionnaires to all of them since most of their members are not on job and in session respectively.

Survey sample must represent the populations from which they are drawn if they are to provide useful estimates about the characteristics of that population (Babbie, 1973). Accordingly, Gay (1981), points out that the minimum number of subjects believed to be acceptable for a study depends upon the type of the research work involved. For descriptive survey research, a sample of 10% of the population is considered minimum; for a smaller population 20% may be required. Therefore, for the sake of this study 20% is considered as reasonable in order to attain the objectives of the research. Accordingly, in Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet woreda official document’s showed the presence of 544 and 314 employee respectively out of which 20% of sample size is drawn. Accordingly, the sample size for Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet woreda is about N=108 and N= 63 respectively. Furthermore, questionnaires concerning the issue of finance was distributed to N=11 and N=7 officials who are both members of cabinets and woreda councils of Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet woreda as they were on training and are not in a session respectively.

1.5.2 Data Collection Techniques

For the purpose of this research both primary and secondary sources of data were utilized in order to generate qualitative and quantitative data’s. Qualitative data’s were collected from primary sources of data such as interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussion and personal observations. Secondary sources of data such as official reports and publications, working papers, national and regional constitutions as well as other laws are reviewed in order to prepare the socio-economic and demographic profile of both woredas, and to understand the formal responsibilities and functions of woredas under study as different from other tiers of government. In addition, books, journals, electronic materials and other publications were also reviewed.

Furthermore, quantitative data are generated by making use of both primary and secondary sources of data. Primary data are collected through questionnaires administered to samples selected from civil servants, members of woreda councils and cabinets while the remaining quantitative data’s are gathered from secondary sources such as survey statistical reports and organizational documents. Questionnaires

In order to able to generate both qualitative and quantitative data that provides comparable results and obtain in-depth information questionnaires that have 7 parts were prepared in English language and translated to Afan Oromifa due to the widespread use of the later language and all were administered to both woreda sectoral civil servants except the parts that deals with finances which was distributed to woreda officials (members of cabinets and councils). Accordingly, all questionnaires were returned effectively. Focus Group Discussion

The hall mark of focus group is the explicit use of the group interaction to produce data and insights that would be less accessible without the interaction found in a group (Morgan cited in Punch, 1998).

Lunt and Livingstone cited in Flick (2002), stated that the general strength of focus group is twofold: it generates discussions, and so reveal both the meaning that people read into discussion topic and how they negotiate those meanings. Second, it generates diversity and differences, either within or between groups, so reveals the dilemmatic nature of every day arguments.

Thus, focus group discussion was conducted in order to clarify and counter check the information or data collected during key informant interviews as well as through questionnaires. Furthermore it was undertaken to better understand and cross check the present situation. According to Flick (2002), it is more appropriate to organize focus group discussion with strangers instead of groups of friends or of people who know each other very well, because the level of things taken for granted which remains implicit tend to be higher in the latter. Hence, to clarify the data collected and to get the general perception of the respondents two focus group discussions, having 12 and 8 participants are invited from different woreda sector offices which have actual experience with the issue of capacity building program and other senior civil servants who have worked at different positions in Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet woreda respectively, were organized towards the end of the fieldwork. Interview with Key Informants

Interview is useful when participants cannot be directly observed, allows researcher control over the line of questioning, to attain higher response rates, to guard against confusing questionnaires items, it is the most flexible method, and helps to get answer to all questions (Creswell, 2009; Babbie, 1973; Neuman, 1994; Kumar, 1999; Kothari, 2004). Moreover, it is very good way of accessing people’s perceptions, meanings, definitions of situations and constructions of reality as well as understanding individual or group perspectives (Punch, 1998).

In descriptive survey studies, structured interview is quite often useful technique because of its being more economical, providing a safe basis for generalization and requiring relatively lesser skill on the part of the interviewer (Kothari, 2004; Kumar, 1999). Hence, in order to collect dependable and reliable information about the issue under study and to counter check the response collected through questionnaires, interview with key informants that the researcher thought are more informed about the study were conducted. Accordingly, Head of woreda Civil Service and Good Governance office, Deputy Head of woreda Civil Service and Good Governance office and Coordinator of Work Process, Human resource Management Core process owner, and previous Head of capacity building office of each woreda were interviewed by using semi-structured questionnaires.

In addition, in order to gather an in-depth information and valuable data unstructured interview was undertaken as unstructured interview is characterized by flexibility of approach to questioning capable of producing rich and valuable data. It is important in a situation whereby either in-depth information is needed or little is known about the area (Kumar, 1999; Kothari, 2004). Document Analysis

Creswell (2009) states that document analysis enables a researcher to obtain the language and words of participants, unobtrusive sources of information, as written evidence saves a researcher the time and expense of transcribing. In light of this, different official documents (budget proclamation and human resource report as well as documents showing the profiles of the woredas were used as in put to the study.

1.5.3 Data Analysis and Presentation

Once the necessary data’s and information are at hand, both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis were employed. In this regard, for quantitative data’s gathered through questionnaires a descriptive statistical analysis was used. To this end, tabulations, and Statistical Package for Social Science version 17 (SPSS) were employed to describe the data at hand. Moreover, qualitative methods of analysis were used to analyze information gathered from official documents, interviews, focus group discussions and questionnaires.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The second wave of decentralization which aimed at strengthening the capacity of woredas was launched in 2001. It aimed at enabling legislations for local governments, fiscal reform, institutional restructuring, capacity development, etc. Moreover, it has devolved more power and responsibilities to district level administration.

Therefore, it seems important that such moves and others are backed by research efforts as the country has very minimal experiences of decentralization as compared to centuries of centralized governance the country has undergone. In light of this, the study has paramount importance to:

- Woredas under study by showing their capacity gaps and issues that deserve attention for future solution.
- Generate valuable information about the capacity of woredas as they are the key units of local governance in Ethiopia.
- Helps higher authorities and policy makers to take measures to overcome woredas capacity constraints.
- Encourage future research.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The national government of Ethiopia has launched capacity building initiatives under National Capacity Building Program with District Level Decentralization Program focusing on rural local government levels. Accordingly, in making assessment of whether this government effort has achieved the intended objective at woreda level, the study has focused on selected variables that help measure capacity of local governments such as human resources, financial capacity, enabling environment, community participation and other related issues (woredas).

Moreover, given the time, budget, transportation service, topographic features and other constraints, the study was confined to employee that are currently working at sectoral offices of the two woredas (Gindeberet and Abuna-Gindeberet). Hence, civil servants and other employee who were currently working at kebele level were not part of the study.

There are also information constraints to fully assess the performance of capacity building program given data collection and analysis are poorly developed at woreda level. Furthermore, since capacity building is an ongoing process it is difficult to get or collect all sorts of information and make a comprehensive and conclusive generalization.

2. Organization of the Paper

The study will consist of four main chapters. Accordingly, chapter one mainly introduces the study, problem statement, objectives of the study, and research design and methodology of the study. Chapter two set the framework of the study and reviews relevant literatures on the subject. The main part of the paper, analysis of the collected data, is presented in chapter three of the study. The last chapter will make concluding remarks and forward possible recommendations.

Chapter Two Review of Literature

2.1 The Concept of Capacity

The literature devoted to capacity is abundant and covers a wide range of disciplines, from economics to education, from management to public policy. Each discipline gives different meanings to the term depending on the users and the context in which the term is used. Accordingly, some authors define capacity as the ability of doing something or the ability to perform (CHIP, 2007; Walters, 2007; Baser and Morgan, 2008; Horton, 2002). Accordingly, capacity is the proven ability of key actors in a society to achieve socio-economic goals on their own that is demonstrated through the functional presence of a combination of viable institutions and respective organizations; commitment and vision of leadership; financial and material resources; skilled human resources (Farrell, 2007). According to this definition capacity is the ability of individuals, organizations and societies to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve goals as well as design, implement, manage, monitor and evaluate development policies and programs in order to achieve the intended goals and objectives successfully (UNDP, 2006; Baser and Morgan, 2008; Browne, 2002; Fukuda-Parr,, 2002; Koning, et. al., 2006; ACBF, 2011; OECD, 2006; Leautier, 2010). Capacity is therefore the product of deeply embedded processes connected to both societal and individual abilities and motivations to manage their overall affairs successfully.

Capacity is the emergent combination of attributes, assets, capabilities and relationships that enable a human system to perform, survive and self-renew (Baser and Morgan, 2008; Ubels,, 2010). This definition makes clear that capacity is not a static state or quality. It is about creating some form of added value for the members and the outside world (perform), it is about staying alive and active (sustain), it is about adjusting and developing over time (self-renew) on the basis of external pressures and internal drivers.

Capacity is about ability to identify challenges and constraints and react to these situations. Accordingly, Gbla and Rugumamu (2003), states that capacity is the ability of organizations, organizational units, individuals and societies to identify constraints and to plan and manage development effectively, efficiently and sustainably. This definition involves both the development of human resources, institutions, society and a supportive policy environment. It encompasses the process by which individuals, groups’ organizations and societies develop their abilities individually and collectively, identify their problems and constraints to development, set development objectives, formulate policies and programs, perform functions required to solve the identified problems and achieve a set of development objectives.

Capacity is the ability of an organization to function as a resilient, strategic and autonomous entity (Baser and Morgan, 2008; Kaplan, 2000). This entails that capacity represents the potential for using resources effectively, mastering change and the adopting of new ideas, and maintaining gains in performance with gradually reduced levels of external support (Fowler and Ubels, 2010). It is the broader ability of a system to live an active and meaningful life and demonstrate confidence in determining its own future. Capacity is inherently relational that involves interaction with its environment, influencing and being influenced. In this regard, Brinkerhoff (2010), argues that capacity is the aptitudes, resources, relationships and facilitating conditions necessary to act effectively to achieve some intended purpose.

Moreover, Lavergne and Saxby (2001), argue that capacity highlights the ability of individuals, organizations or society as a whole to do several things: to be guided by key values and a sense of purpose, to define and analyze their environment and their own place in the greater scheme of things, to define the issues and reach working agreements on purposes or mandates, to manage and resolve conflicts, to formulate strategies, to plan, and act on those plans, to acquire and mobilize resources, to learn new skills and approaches on a continuous basis, to build supporting relationships with other parties, to assess performance and make adjustments, to meet new challenges proactively, by adjusting agendas, approaches and strategies.

Generally, Baser and Morgan (2008) characterize capacity as:

- Empowerment and identity - Capacity has to do with people acting together to take control over their own lives in some fashion.
- Collective ability, The combination of attributes that enables a system to perform, deliver value, establish relationships and to renew itself.
- A state or condition which is inherently a systems phenomenon. Capacity involves a complex combination of attitudes, resources, strategies and skills, both tangible and intangible.
- A potential state. It is elusive and transient. Capacity is dependent to a large degree of intangibles. It is thus hard to induce, manage and measure. As a state or condition, it can disappear quickly particularly in smaller, more vulnerable structures.
- The creations of public value. All countries, regardless of their level of development, have effective capacity that subverts the public interest.

While specific wording and emphasis may differ, there is a general consensus among development actors that capacity is the ability of individuals, institutions and societies to solve problems, make informed choices, define their priorities and plan their futures. Capacity comprises of the resources, knowledge, and processes employed by the organization to achieve its goals. These comprise the staffing, physical infrastructure, technology, and financial resources; strategic leadership, program and process management; and networks and linkages with other organizations and groups. An organization’s personnel, facilities, technology, and funding constitute its resource base. The organization's procedures and processes for managing its resources and programs as well as its external relationships make up its management capacity. Together, these resources and management capacities make up the overall capacity of the organization.

2.2 Capacity Building

Capacity Building or capacity development was an issue of development for decades that is tied to international development assistance of the 1950s and 1960s (Farrell, 2007; Simillie, 2001). It was highly oriented to tackle short term technical constraints to project implementation with focus on human resource development, equipping developing countries with a basic inventory of public sector institutions and, later, strengthening them to improve their performance through training, research, counterpart relationships and technical assistance, and political imperative was not given due attention in effecting change (Leautier,, 2010; Smillie, 2001; World Bank, 2005; OECD, 2006).

However, in many poor countries much of the assistance yielded very low returns. Four decades of foreign technical assistance could not result in the achievement of sustainable national capacity and prevented the utilization and development of endogenous skills that resulted in the rethinking of traditional model of knowledge and skills transfer (Leautier,, 2010; Lusthaus,, 1999; Fukuda-Parr,, 2002; OECD, 2006; World Bank, 2005).

As a result, the concept of capacity development emerged in 1980s to gain a high prominence and wide range of popularity throughout 1990s in the field of development building on previous concepts that had dominated development thinking for the past four decades, that includes, institution building, institutional development, human resource development, development management/administration and institutional strengthening by adding new features (such as private sector, and NGOs) into its focus (Lusthaus,, 1999; Koning,, 2006; Smillie, 2001; Lavergne and Saxby, 2001). Capacity building or development was considered as a long term process of restructuring and institutional change with more focus on adaptability and responsiveness of development institutions, and moved beyond the framework of individual organizations, to address about sectoral perspectives and groups of institutions, and began to emphasize on the issue of sustainability (Smillie, 2001).

However the concept continued to be elusive, complex and difficult to understand and operationalize in the design, execution and evaluation of development initiatives. This was due to the fact that the concept was evolved from a wide range of previous approaches (Lavergne and Saxby, 2001). Moreover, the definitional problem of capacity building has to do with the target and purpose. In some cases individuals, a community, or an organizations are to be strengthened. In others, the target is a sector, such as agricultural or health, while in others the target may be an entire societal subset. Capacity building may also be a means to an end while in others the end may be more important than the means. In some cases the process of capacity building may be more important than either the means or the ends. Some describe capacity building as an approach or process to achieve a goal, such as poverty reduction, while others see it as an objective in itself, such as the development of individual or organization effectiveness (Farrell, 2007; Smillie, 2001; Ubels,, 2010). Whatever the purpose and targets of capacity building or capacity development might be here are some among several conceptions and definitions.

Capacity development is a dynamic process whereby different actors (individuals, groups, institutions and organizations) on different levels try to improve their abilities in relation to each other, and identify and meet development challenges overtime (Koning,, 2006; Morgan, 1997; UNDP, 1997; Smillie, 2001; Lavergne and Saxby, 2001). This definition entails that capacity building is a process on its own right. Capacity building is understood as something that individuals, groups, organizations and societies can achieve on themselves. This implies that outsiders can reinforce or support the process but they cannot deliver the final outcomes. In connection with this (OECD, 2006; UNDP, 1997; Horton, 2002) defined capacity development as the process by which individuals, groups, organizations, institutions and societies increase their abilities to (i) perform core functions, solve problems, define and achieve objectives; and (ii) understand and deal with their development needs in a broad context and in a sustainable manner. It is about community’s ability to appreciate organizational goals, and to build and use its resources to that end.

Capacity development is about ability of individuals, organizations and societies to set goals and achieve them; to budget resources and use them for agreed purposes; and to manage the complex processes and interactions that typify a working political and economic system. Capacity is most tangibly and effectively developed in the context of specific development objectives such as delivering services to poor people; instituting education, public service, and healthcare reform; improving the investment climate for small and medium enterprises; empowering local communities to better participate in public decision-making processes; and promoting peace and resolving conflict. In addition to government, the capacity of the private sector and civil society to participate meaningfully in the development process, in turn to provide employment and hold government to account is considered as vital. Capacity development is largely an internal process of growth and development, and that capacity development efforts should be result oriented (World Bank, 2005; ACBF, 2011).

Capacity building is a process of unleashing, strengthening, creating, adapting and maintaining capacity overtime (OECD, 2006; World Bank, 2005). It is an ongoing process by which people and systems, operating within dynamic contexts, enhance their abilities to develop and implement strategies in pursuit of their objectives for increased performance in a sustainable way (Lusthaus,, 1999). Capacity development involves the long term, contributes to sustainable social and economic development, and is or should be demand driven. It encompasses a variety of strategies that have to do with increasing and strengthening the efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness of governments or institutions to design, implement and evaluate development activities according to their mission. Capacity development tends to be a continuing learning and changing process. The concept of capacity development was attached with the needs and purposes of organizations that it is the ability of institutions to identify and solve development problems overtime. It is task driven and mission oriented referring to capacity to perform certain functions. Capacity development is about an effort to change a society's rules, situations and standards of behavior (UNDP, 1997; Malik, 2002).

Capacity development involves the acquisition of new knowledge and its application in the pursuits of individual and organizational goals. Accordingly, it can be targeted at gaps and weaknesses in the following: resources, skills and knowledge, organization, politics and power, incentives (Brinkerhoff, 2010). It is the process by which people of a given society are motivated to transform their physical, socio-economic, cultural, political, and spiritual environments for their own well-being and the advancement of their society. It is about empowering people to take control of their lives and enables people to rediscover their strengths and limitations, and the opportunities to develop their fullest potential. The process enables people to build selfconfidence and self-respect, and to improve the quality of their lives, utilizing their own resources, both human and nonhuman. The African Capacity Building Foundation (2011), states that capacity development seeks to enlarge the people's choice by empowering individuals, groups, organizations and societies to fully participate and deliver on their specified mandates. It ensures that there is a room for them to participate in their country's decision making and economy. Capacity building aims at enhancing the ability to evaluate and address the crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation among development options based on an understanding of environment potentials and limits and of needs perceived by the people of the country concerned.

Capacity development entails sustainable creation, utilization and retention of that capacity to reduce poverty, enhance self-reliance, and improve people’s lives. It requires acquisition of individual skills, institutional capacities and social capital, and equipping a country, a region, an organization or an individual with attitudes, values, behaviors that they needed to make progress as well as the development of opportunities to put these skills and networks to productive use in the transformation of society (Farrell, 2007; World Bank, 2005; Fowler and Ubels, 2010; Fukuda-Parr,, 2002; Lavergne and Saxby, 2001; Gbla and Rugumamu 2003). It is not only about acquisition of knowledge and enhancing knowledge and skills of individuals but it is also the capability to use them. Capacity is not only about skills and procedures; it is also about incentives and governance (OECD, 2006).

Capacity development is about altering the access of people to authority, resources and opportunities. It privileges some individuals and groups not others. It is a process of unlocking or inducing the potential capacity of country or sector or group or individual that they had within themselves. Capacity development is about transformation from one pattern of behavior to another. In this way it is about the dynamic of organizational, institutional, personal, political, and logistic change (Baser and Morgan, 2008).Capacity development is important in that it helps to trigger economic growth and development. It is a process of creating opportunities for people to be creative and imaginative, to dream, and to be able to live their dreams (Turay, 2001).

Capacity building involves the whole network of relationships in society: within, between and among households, neighborhoods, grassroots or community-based organizations, unions, religious confessions, training institutions, research bodies, government ministries, the private sector, NGOs and donor agencies—whether official or nongovernmental, Northern or Southern (Eade , 2003).

It seems, therefore, that there is an emerging consensus that capacity development is a long term process that contributes to sustainable economic and social development. It also entails that capacity development is about strengthening and enhancement of existing capacity as opposed to the past approach of institutional building which emphasis on establishing new institutions based on the experience from industrialized countries of the west. Capacity development is also a response to the structural and functional disconnect between informal, endogenous institutions and formal institutions mostly transplanted from outside. Capacity development aims to increase the ability of an organization to carry out its functions and achieve its objectives. It increases the ability of an organization to learn and solve problems as well as to deal with the issues of today and also to remain relevant in the future (Lusthaus,, 1999; Lavergne and Saxby, 2001).

2.2.1 Dimensions of Capacity Building or Capacity Development

Capacity building or capacity development which involves the interaction between or among different actors (individuals, organizations, institutions, and society) comprises of different dimensions or aspects which are mutually interdependent.


Excerpt out of 115 pages


An Assessment of Woreda Capacity
The case of Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet Woredas in Oromia National Regional State
Addis Ababa University  (College of Business and Economics)
Public Administration and Development Management
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assessment, woreda, capacity, gindeberet, abuna, woredas, oromia, national, regional, state
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Telaye Mulubiran (Author), 2012, An Assessment of Woreda Capacity, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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