INTRAC’s Praxis learning programme formally ran between 2003 and 2011 in two phases. It was set up to enable CSOs to become more effective by linking theory and practice in organisational capacity building. The programme gave practitioners with hands-on experience in different cultures and contexts an opportunity to share the solutions they developed in the course of their work. Through Praxis, practitioners could reflect on and write about their experiences, and bring them to the attention of policy-makers and donors, civil society activists and researchers.
INTRAC continues to publish papers under the Praxis Series brand. This invaluable resource continues to be used widely by practitioners, consultants and academics worldwide.
Phase One (2003-2007)
The primary objective of phase one, funded by the Dutch foreign ministry, was to establish and facilitate capacity building and learning groups for civil society organisations around the following themes:
- Capturing and nurturing innovative practice
- Recognising and responding to culture and context
- Catalyzing exchange and dissemination
- Improving evaluation and impact assessment
- The value and power of capacity building
- Organisational learning
Small civil society organisations were supported to: access and use relevant academic resources; undertake participatory action research; write, edit and publish practitioner-oriented publications; and disseminate research for use by practitioners. Additional activities included capacity building for advocacy and influencing, and for programme and budget management.
In view of its network, reputation and approach to capacity building, INTRAC was the ideal and possibly the only organisation to be able to launch and implement a programme like Praxis. [independent evaluator]
Phase Two (2008-2011)
The second phase of the programme ran from 2008 to 2011. Themes covered during this period were:
- HIV/AIDS in the workplace
- Capacity building for gender, diversity, and equality
- Monitoring and evaluation for capacity building
- Capacity building for advocacy
- Faith-based dimension of capacity building
The stream on Strengthening Support for HIV/AIDS Internal mainstreaming, much of which was undertaken in collaboration with STOP AIDS NOW!,had considerable impact. The work aimed to increase the organisational resilience of CSOs in Africa to the impacts of HIV/AIDS by improving the support offered by capacity-building providers and international donors. This included facilitating and expanding a global Praxis HIV and Capacity Building learning group of more than 35 practitioners from 14 African countries.
Under the Praxis programme (Phases 1 and 2), 3 books, 61 short papers and 26 long papers were produced. It increased dissemination across a wide range of stakeholders; enabled learning processes within CSOs to be strengthened and deepened; strengthened relationships and networks among CSOs, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa; and increased breadth and depth of debate on capacity building.
Although the programme formally ended in 2011, we continue to publish papers by practitioners and INTRAC staff and associates under the Praxis name. To date we have produced 31 Praxis Papers and 73 Praxis Notes. And we are not done yet. The Praxis Series lives on as a core component of our publications suite.