Capacity Development for Learning and Knowledge Permeation: The Case of Water Utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Capacity Development for Learning and Knowledge Permeation

The Case of Water Utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1st Edition

By Silas Mvulirwenande

CRC Press

350 pages

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Paperback: 9781138028609
pub: 2015-10-29
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pub: 2018-09-27
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After World War II, international development became the world leading development model, but its effectiveness is much debated. Nowadays, it is acknowledged that international development can effectively support development through knowledge and capacity development (KCD). Nonetheless, understanding what capacity really consists of in operational terms and what its development entails remains a challenge.

This book investigates KCD processes in water utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The three cases analysed reveal that the learning impact of KCD on utilities depends on whether they are able to close their learning cycle, i.e., to ensure that improved capacity is also translated into mainstream behaviour. This finding challenges conventional wisdom for which KCD translates "automatically" into improved performance. Hence the need to focus KCD evaluation on both capacity improvement and capacity application.

The proposed learning-based framework for KCD identifies two distinct but interrelated stages in KCD, namely knowledge transfer and knowledge absorption. Knowledge absorption usually takes time due to slow organisational processes that govern it. However, in practice it is often taken for granted. The framework also identifies the key factors that shape learning processes in water utilities.

The book argues that water utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa can reinvent themselves by embracing change management approaches and striving to become learning organisations.

Table of Contents


Knowledge and capacity bottlenecks in the water supply sector

Theoretical framework for analyzing learning processes in organisations

Research strategy and methodology

A methodology to assess the impact of KCD interventions in water utilities

Three case studies

Emerging learning-based framework for analyzing KCD

Cross-case analysis

Conclusions and recommendations


About the Author

Silas Mvulirwenande (1978, Rwanda) graduated in 2004 with a bachelor degree in Sociology (with distinction) from National University of Rwanda. Thereafter, Silas worked at COTRAF-RWANDA, a Trade-union Confederation where he served as Research and Programme manager. In 2008, he was awarded a Netherlands Fellowship scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in the Netherlands. He studied Urban Environmental Management at Wageningen University and graduated with a Master of Science degree in 2010. As part of the programme, Silas conducted a master thesis research on the non-adoption of benchmarking as a non-technological innovation in the Dutch municipal waste management sector, and undertook a four months internship at Vitens Evides International (VEI). There he assisted in the development of a VEI assessment tool for water operators. Eager to pursue doctoral studies, Silas enrolled only a few months later (January 2011) in the PhD programme of UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and Delft University of Technology, under the supervision of Professor Guy Alaerts and Dr. Uta Wehn. Funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation (DGIS), his research focused on understanding the modalities of knowledge and capacity development (KCD) in the water sector, with a particular focus on water supply utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Silas also followed the SENSE (Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment) Research School programme and co-supervised Master students. He has presented his work at international conferences, published a number of papers in peer reviewed journals, and served as reviewer of International Water Association conference papers. Silas also co-organised and facilitated workshops on KCD at international conferences on water. His research interests include water utility reforms, organisational change and innovation, learning organisations, knowledge management, institutional capacity, and KCD impact evaluation.

About the Series

IHE Delft PhD Thesis Series

IHE Delft PhD programme leads to a deepening of a field of specialisation. PhD fellows do scientific research, often with conclusions that directly influence their region. At IHE Delft, PhD researchers from around the world participate in problem-focused and solution-oriented research on development issues, resulting in an inspiring research environment. PhD fellows work together with other researchers from many countries dealing with topics related to water and the environment.

PhD research is often carried out in the ‘sandwich’ model. Preparation and final reporting – the first and last portion of the programme – are carried out in Delft, while actual research is done in the fellow’s home country, under co-supervision of a local institute. Regular contacts with the promotor are maintained through visits and long-distance communication. This enables researchers to employ solutions directly to problems in their geographical region.

IHE Delft PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a university. The degrees are highly valued and fully recognised in all parts of the world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply