Our methodological choices
Local actors often possess strong, specific and sometimes unique knowledge, experience and capacities. For several reasons, these strengths are not sufficiently emphasized in partnerships and collaborations. As a result, there is a cogent need for a specifically designed alternative and innovative capacity building program. A capacity building program that would valorise and make use of existing local strengths and would build on complementarity (of roles, resources, knowledge and decision-making, among others). CERAR, endorsing the localization agenda, has developed specific methods to gradually achieve a culture of endogenous innovation and continuous learning within local organizations and communities.
Accompagnement Contextualisé de Proximité
These methods are based on different a few field observed common issues: the capacity building that often limited to ad hoc training, strengthening individuals instead of structures, without putting it into practice; the difficulties of applying training (sometimes too theoretical and general) in day-to-day operations; the use of overly technical jargon; the enthusiasm that quickly wanes after training, due to lack of an environment allowing for the implementation of learning; the lack of real knowledge transfer, etc.
In order to respond to and overcome these challenges, the CERAR approach combines two alternative structural and organizational capacity building methodologies
– BOOST (Building On Our Strengths Together ), a specific method of mentoring
– ACP (Accompagnement Contextualisé de Proximité – Contextualized Local Support) for the implementation of changes in daily practices
through the application of a cyclical, gradual and staggered approach, adapted to locally available pace and resources(financial, human and logistical) and appropriate methodologies.
In addition, by promoting local experiences and knowledge this approach supports and accompanies local teams and their partners in the implementation of their achievements and learning in their daily practice. It includes experiential learning (learning by doing), learning between peers ( peer-to-peer learning ), building of a pool of competent instructors (Training-of-Trainers), and organizational capitalization.
CERAR sees capacity strengthening of local organizations and communities as a continuous and endogenous learning proces, a long-term comitment.
The CERAR approach simultaneously combines research with field action in a permanent game of interactions. It is mainly based on the idea that in order to know a social reality, one must participate in its transformation. A research or development intervention does not take place ‘on’ a field but ‘in’ a field situation. In this, action research does not operate on an object (of study) but with knowledge-producing subjects, co-authors of the research.