Capacity building


Capacity building among policy makers, industry managers and the local community is key, and takes place through education, training, and knowledge sharing. People who are familiar with the Building with Nature philosophy are more likely to support it and take part. This will help scaling-up and is critical for proper maintenance of Nature-based Solutions. Key aspects to consider:

  • Increasing awareness of the philosophy and possibilities of Building with Nature
  • Involving upcoming generation in Building with Nature by training and educational programs
  • Creating Building with Nature communities around your project

Building with Nature is relatively new and innovative and requires that various local stakeholders take part to make the design specific to the context,  thereby addressing the various functions. This combination requires a broader capacity of involved professionals and communities than in traditional design. The different stakeholders require some sort of knowledge and understanding of Building with Nature to successfully play their part in the development of Building with Nature projects: professionals need to be aware of the suite of solutions and the underlying fundamentals of the design approach, local communities must be aware of their crucial role in providing input regarding the working and needs of their systems, and policy makers need to understand their role in the institutional embedding.

Capacity building “involves the empowerment of societal actors through learning, knowledge, information and innovation to effect transformational and sustainable change in institutions, which in turn supports the achievement of the development goal” (Worldbank). This means that the transformation is generated and sustained over time from within. At the individual level, capacity building refers to the process of changing attitudes and behaviours-imparting knowledge and developing skills while maximizing the benefits of participation, knowledge exchange and ownership. At the institutional level it focuses on the overall organizational performance and functioning capabilities, as well as the ability of an organization to adapt to change. At the systemic level it emphasizes the overall policy framework in which individuals and organizations operate and interact with the external environment (UNDP). Within the Building with Nature program we have focused on creating awareness at all these levels (via the Book of Concepts, website etc) as well as providing training programmes. In the rest of this enabler we will focus on the capacity building via training programmes.  

The capacity building of Building with Nature focuses on education, training, and knowledge sharing. For one, it is necessary to upscale the implementation of Building with Nature both from a local site to its surroundings, or globally by applying similar Building with Nature concepts at a different location elsewhere. Next to that it is vital to further develop Building with Nature science and practice by bringing more real-life experiences, insights and understandings in touch with the methodology. In both cases, it is about building trust: creating trust amongst the local community is essential for cooperation and obtaining support throughout project development, but trust is also needed amongst the professionals that are proposing Building with Nature technologies for them to consider it as a real alternative to traditional solutions. Both are inspired by sharing stories of successes and failures, and a more thorough familiarization and understanding of the Building with Nature philosophy.

Key to capacity building is that it is a two-way process in which knowledge and experience is exchanged so that solutions can be designed fitting the local systems and contexts, both in terms of process and outcome. It is also about skills: from recognizing the potential for multiple co-benefits and their values to being able to retrieve and apply system information from a participatory design process: it is all about bringing knowledge to practice. The community building is also central: whether building the (local) community that will design, implement and maintain a particular Building with Nature solution, or the wider community that is appreciating the merits of the Building with Nature approach more in general, the community that is build is equally important to the knowledge shared in training. Finally it is clear that capacity building is tailor-made: when outreaching the next generation of engineers or when approach a local village to participate in the design, the form of capacity building is just as context-specific as Building with Nature itself.