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Capacity Development Network, Capacity To Talk

Capacity to Talk

It began as four people sharing a coffee and their experiences of capacity development. Ten months later it has grown into a network of 40 people who regularly meet to help each other find the best ways of helping Solomon Islanders and Solomon Islands reach their full potential.

The Capacity Development Network is thriving as an informal place for Solomon Islands Government public servants, RAMSI advisers and others to meet, discuss and share common experiences of working training and learning together.

Network coordinator Ben Goodman is delighted to see the network grow and help people. He said that like any network, the Capacity Development Network is about linking people who are doing similar things.

"Sharing experiences is our goal", Mr Goodman said.

"Networking can be a powerful tool for people who are working in different areas but face the same sort of challenges. Someone working in Solomon Islands Customs can meet someone in the Solomon Islands Police Force doing the same thing and together they can talk about how best to overcome very similar problems."

Marktus Forau, Solomon Islands Prisons Service Director Human Resources, said attending the Network has been very good for sharing ideas with other agencies which can be brought back to the Solomon Islands Prisons Service.

"Through the Network we have met staff from Customs who have been through a Change Management course. We have been able to use those training materials and adapt them for use by the Solomon Islands Prisons Service", Mr Forau said.

The Network began as a result of four RAMSI advisers all working in capacity development roles and representing the three pillars of RAMSI: economic governance, machinery of government, and law and justice.

"Some of us had attended the Making a Difference workshop and seen Solomon Islands Government public servants and their RAMSI advisers coming from a variety of government institutions all facing similar experiences and similar problems. As a group, we were able to come up with similar solutions."

The Network now meets every six weeks and has a growing list of interested people from Solomon Islands Government, RAMSI, the private sector and NGOs.

At each meeting someone gives a brief presentation from their area followed by a group discussion. Topics have been as diverse as government housing and its impact on capacity development to how capacity development can support policy development.

And then they break for coffee.

"During the coffee break is when you see the real connections being made: people from different areas seeking each other out to freely talk about their problems, ideas and ways to solve things", Mr Goodman said.

The Network is now looking to feed ideas coming from the group back to the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI.

"The journey from restoring order to developing longer term sustainable capacity that will last after RAMSI is a long one", Mr Goodman said.

"But a common message coming from the Network is that the journey begins with developing good relationships between the counterpart and adviser so that they can make decisions together."

The Capacity Development Network encourages people interested in human resources and capacity development from government, NGOs and business to join. Contact Ben Goodman, Ministry of Finance.


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