- LAST REVIEWED: 15 June 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 May 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0051
- LAST REVIEWED: 15 June 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 25 May 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0051
Capacity building contains the concept of enabling—individuals, organizations, systems—for positive changes, strengthening their capacities to perform effectively in solving problems. The concept of enabling adopted as part of the definition of health promotion in the Ottawa Charter, integrates values associated with participation, knowledge exchange, ownership, equity, and sustainability. It goes from individual to organizational, community, national, and international levels. It is understood by different approaches, mainly concerning the interventions that can be invested in providing material aid or training skills. The main debates center on whether some of the interventions in health promotion are caring about strengthening the system or whether they are more systemic and sustainable dealing with building local and national infra-structures. Capacity building rests on the notion that change is the norm, because capacity depends on the ability to adapt to change.
Most authors agree that capacity building goes beyond simply training or providing technical assistance. It is considered a foundational strategy outlined in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. The United Nations Development Programme and WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health 2008 present the concept as the ability to face new challenges. Hawe, et al. 1999 refers to the sustainability of the background resources for health gains; Labonte and Laverack 2001 focuses capacity building on increasing abilities to address health issues. Germann and Wilson 2004 tries to apply the concept to health organization to develop an empowering and democratic partnership with the community. Gibbon, et al. 2002 question its meaning as being mainly a process or just addressed to achieve goals. Goodman, et al. 1998 brings the concept of capacity building close to public policy and civic participation. Blackwell and Colmenar 2000 understands capacity building as being very close to social capital.
Blackwell, A. G., and R. A. Colmenar. 2000. Community building: From local wisdom to public policy. Public Health Reports 115:161–166.
Community building is a process in which people in a community engage themselves to focus on reinvesting in the community, building and sustaining social capital, promoting community participation, and strengthening families and neighborhoods.
Germann, K., and D. Wilson. 2004. Organizational capacity for community development in regional health authorities: A conceptual model. Health Promotion International 19.3: 289–298.
Organizational capacity for community development (OC-CD) is defined as “the potential ability of a health organization to develop an empowering and democratic partnership with a community, through which the community’s capacity to identify and address its priority health concerns is enhanced (p. 290).
Gibbon, M., R. Labonte, and G. Laverack. 2002. Evaluating community capacity. Health and Social Care in the Community 10.6: 485–491.
The authors ask the following questions: Is community (development, empowerment, and capacity building) a means to achieving a program end (often defined by the funding agency or practitioner)? Or is community (development, empowerment, and capacity building) an end in itself?
Goodman, R. M., M. A. Speers, K. McLeroy, S. Fawcett, M. Kegler, and E. Parker. 1998. Identifying and defining the dimensions of community capacity to provide a basis for measurement. Health Education & Behavior 25.3: 258–278.
The authors define community capacity as “the cultivation and use of transferable knowledge, skills, systems and resources that affect community- and individual-level changes consistent with public health-related goals and objectives” and as the “characteristics of communities that affect their ability to identify, mobilize and address social and public health problems.”
Hawe, P., L. King, M. Noort, C. Jordens, and B. Lloyd. 1999. Indicators to help with capacity building in health promotion. Sydney: New South Wales Health Department.
Defines capacity building as an approach to the development of sustainable skills, organizational structures, resources and commitment to health improvement in health and other sectors, to prolong and multiply health gains many times over.
Labonte, R., and G. Laverack. 2001. Capacity building in health promotion, part 1: For whom? And for what purpose? Critical Public Health 11.2: 111–127.
Defines capacity building as the increase in community groups’ abilities to define, assess, analyze, and act on health (or any other) concerns of importance to their members.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Capacity Building for Development Programme.
The UNDP defines “capacity building” as an approach to development that gives people and organizations a greater ability to address new challenges.
WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. 2008. Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
Identifies six priority areas of capacity building: policy development, organizational development, develop the information and evidence base, awareness raising, advocacy actions, partnership development, and leadership skills development.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email email@example.com to express your interest.
- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Tuberculosis among Adults and the Determinants of Health
- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Worksite Health Promotion