USIP has developed a handbook entitled “Sustainable Capacity Building: Guidelines for Planning and Project Design Communities”. The handbook and the accompanying curriculum offer practical guidance for planning, program design, and decision making for building the capacity of host country institutions, ensuring that lasting capacity is built and new processes remain in place over time. The guidance is meant to offer policy makers and planners/program managers an approach to ensure that foreign assistance missions are targeted, efficient, cost effective, and more likely to have lasting impact.

The handbook includes three primary sections: 1) a new approach for sustainable capacity building which includes the theory of change, 3 key principles, 6 necessary conditions, and specific guidelines for the planning/program design community and the policy making community; 2) tools for sustainable capacity building including a common lexicon and a mapping of existing capabilities for capacity building activities of the US and five partners (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK); 3) a sample teaching curriculum intended to teach the use of the handbook which includes an overview of the course materials and a course agenda.

Sustainable Capacity Building Handbook

Project Team:

  • Nadia Gerspacher, PhD – Director of Security Sector Education, U.S. Institute of Peace’s Academy for International Conflict Management & Peacebuilding -
  • Querine Hanlon, PhD – Subject Matter Expert -
  • Nick Weiland – Project Coordinator, U.S. Institute of Peace -