Capacity building is a mystery. Despite all the attention given to capacity building over the last decade, we are left with nagging doubts and unanswered questions. We are not sure what works and why. Some are not convinced that capacity building makes any positive difference at all.
This paper investigates this mystery. It draws on the experiences shared by capacity building practitioners through the INTRAC Praxis Programme over the past four years. This DGIS-supported programme encouraged capacity building practitioners to reflect on, learn from ad disseminate their experiences in the field. To date, practitioners have written 31 Praxis papers, 72 Praxis Notes and attended six Praxis-supported workshops. They have written from diverse contexts on a wide variety of themes, and yet common issues have emerged. This paper syntheses this learning.