Capacity Development in Situations of Conflict and Fragility

German Approaches and Lessons Learned by GIZ

This publication is therefore geared towards the dilemmas most frequently experienced in the work of GIZ and which are highly relevant for its work in fragile contexts. In line with the commitment of GIZ as a ‘learning organisation’, and in order to continuously and jointly reflect on approaches and lessons learnt, this publication calls upon the community of practitioners to engage in dialogue on further adjustment and refinement. It also aims to trigger discussions with the international development cooperation community on the ability and willingness to respond to specific contexts with versatile use of available measures and instruments of development cooperation. It finally invites those responsible for policy making and programming to consider that capacity development can significantly contribute to tackling the impacts and root causes of fragile and conflict situations, when applied with flexibility, risk disposition, and continuous learning. These should allow for comprehensiveness, and enable implementers to cautiously orchestrate a variety of support options, such as technical support through national and international experts, training, coaching, facilitation of networks, but also targetedfinancial support provided by the commissioning party – not withstanding their legitimate request and need for evidence-based results.

Brief discussions of both the challenges and characteristics of situations of conflict and fragility (chapter 1) and the concept of capacity development in German Development Cooperation (chapter 2) place the practical lessons learned in the larger conceptual framework. Derived from practical experience, chapter 3 discusses the dilemmas, first in general terms, and then illustrated by short case studies. Chapter 4 then blends the specific experiences to draw more general conclusions on the strengths and potentials of the approaches used for German Development Cooperation in situations of conflict and fragility.


A. Vontobel
A. Walker
B. Konstanzer
B. Meyer
C. Feyen
C. I. Froehling
C. v. Alvensleben
E. J. Solis II
H. Gutsche
K. H. Schreiner
P. Kennet
S. Bajracharya
S. Meyer
S. Schell-Faucon




Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit