K4D Helpdesk Report

Lessons from Donor Support to Technical Assistance Programmes

Published on 15 January 2018

Recent literature discusses aid effectiveness and impact in relation to capacity building programmes, rather than technical assistance. To ensure coverage of the latest evidence and learning, this rapid review adopts the same approach. It finds that there is a dearth of rigorous evaluations of capacity building interventions.
This is due to a lack of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in the field, conceptual confusion in the literature and a tendency to view capacity building as an “end in itself” rather than a “means to an end”. Nevertheless, there is a large literature documenting good practice for effective capacity building.

This review discusses five best practices where there is strong consensus in the literature, ensuring country ownership, recognising and responding to complexity, improving delivery of technical assistance, involving different levels of government, as well as non-state actors and focusing on results. The selected key sources in Section 4 provide further evidence and learning on capacity building effectiveness and impact.

Cite this publication

Timmis, H. (2018). Lessons from donor support to technical assistance programmes. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


Research Officer

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published by
Timmis, Hannah


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