By Juliet Rogers
Human capacity is the ability to successfully solve problems, make good use of all opportunities and cope successfully in life. It’s the ability to fend for yourself, your family and help your society and country grow strong.
Human Capacity Building is educating, training, motivating and encouraging the people of a country to develop the skills, attitudes and capabilities to help prevent and solve national problems in all areas of human endeavor; and thus help to make society more successful in the areas good for the people and their country.
Capacity building is the “process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in the fast-changing world” (Philbin, 1996). The World Customs Organization (WCO, 2010) defines capacity building as “activities which strengthen the knowledge, abilities, skills and behaviour of individuals and improve institutional structures and processes such that the organisation can efficiently meet its mission and goals in a sustainable way.” As a step further to adding momentum to capacity building, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP 2003 – 2005) defines capacity development as “the process through which individuals, organizations, and societies obtain, strengthen, and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time.”
In accordance with history, the concept evolved in 1991 from what was known as institution building (Deborah, 2003). In addition, according to Schachter (1999), the term “capacity building” (or “capacity development”) came into vogue in the early 1990s among international development agencies such as the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Underdeveloped or un-developable human capacity is the biggest problem in poor, hardship-saturated societies like our little dingy republic – full of endless suffering, unreasonable failures and backwardness.
The huge difference between a modern developed nation and a backward nation, such as a number of African countries, is the quality of its citizens.
In countries such as Germany, Britain, USA, Canada, France, Japan and several other nations in Europe, the citizenry is/are all literate to the high school level with many educated and trained both at the community college and undergraduate levels; and still yet, more are highly educated and trained at the graduate and post-graduate levels in all sectors of human endeavor.
In kindergarten, elementary and high schools, their citizens are trained, not only to read and write but also to learn all the good qualities of good citizenship as well as taught how the the government works, what are the values of integrity, reliability, respect for others, cooperation, fairness, etc. In addition to history, geography, social studies, maths, science, the correct form/structure of their language, etc. with some pupils specializing in technical subjects.
In undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate schools, people are educated and well read in the professional and career fields at various levels. There are also law, engineering, medical, dental and nursing schools, etc.
There are also institutes for learning various skills, from computing to photography, printing, trading, boat-building, aircraft maintenance, motor mechanic, etc. – you name it!
The method of teaching, training and educating are designed to absorbed and cement good productive knowledge into the heads and minds of their students permanently. Cram-en-pass is obsolete to them.
Another feature in developed nation is that libraries are everywhere in addition to other sources for learning such as TV, Radio, magazines, newspapers and so on. Plus facilities where people are educated are nice, spacious, comfortable and well equipped.
In the meantime, reflect and act on these words:
“Building capacities for the young generation is going to make a better generation and a better future for Africa.” – Corneille Ewango
Humans and their capacity identification and development remains the centre of creation of goods and services, advancement in science and technology, economics, agriculture, military; and above all value creation in all spheres of human endeavour ( Isola and Alani 2012 ).
Sierra Leone Government should take the following steps in order to enhance the capacity development of the country’s human resources: Proper education and training and creating a just society for all. Getting rid of ignorance and superstition will make a good step. Spending public resources on the people to increase capabilities. Producing enough food, electricity, justice, healthy environment, infrastructures for all. Speaking the truth to the public, etc .
To develop human capacity in a deprived society such as Sierra Leone that will be beneficial to the people and country, we must first eradicate the mass ignorance and the superstitious beliefs. We must use mass communications tools such as radio and TV. After the minds of the citizens have been cleansed, the government, NGOs, CSOs etc must ensure that the people are educated in marketable skills so they could earn a decent living based on merit.
The type of education available in Sierra Leone schools and colleges since decades ago is totally unsuitable and ineffective in getting Sierra Leone out of its harsh predicament of extreme poverty, sickness galore, darkness and an oversupply of ignorant people easily duped by evil politicians and who rely mostly on tribal appeals and loyalty to survive.
Education in Africa nowadays is shrouded by perplexity. It is probably because all the education in present day Africa hasn’t had a dent in solving Africa’s numerous problems as might have been expected.
Recently, I read a lamentation by a University Don in England during a graduation ceremony, complaining that despite all the degrees granted to Africans since Independence all the news about Africa is about corruption, corruption, corruption! In order words, educated Africans have done nothing to succeed in solving the many problems that are killing their countries.
In my view, education has not been helpful to Africa nations the way education has helped other societies go forward because:
1. The Western Education in Africa is antagonistic to the advancement of Africa.Therefore, there is the need for us to reintroduce the Ancient African Education. The Ancient African Education provided the foundations upon which the different civilisations of the world were built. It also produced these technologies that modern scientists can’t explain:
➖The Greek Fire,
➖The damascus Steel,
➖The Voynich Manuscript,
➖The Antikythera Mechanism,
➖ The Phaistos Disc,
➖ The Roman Dodecahedron
➖ The Iron Pillar Of Delhi, etc.
2. The cultural underpinning of education in Africa is different from those of other countries. The current African cultures are antiquated agrarian tribal cultures. These cultures are in contrast to the cultural underpinning of someone born and bred in, say, an achieving country like Singapore or England and graduating on the same day from the same United Kingdom (U.K) University as his African colleagues.
Western Education assumes Western upbringing of pupils. Hence, the cultural underpinning of someone brought up in Western society is consistent with the education she/he receives as opposed to someone brought up in present day traditional African societies, unknown going beyond subsistent existence.
The European abides by the rules of the Merit System he was brought up in and educated in. He has no influential relatives locally and thus he can afford to be objective without fuss. The partisan local African has been brought up under the rules of family and tribal favoritism. He is bombarded for favors requested by friends and relatives. In no time, the partisan African gives up any professional objectivity he gained from his education. He then reverts to the value system of his tribe in pursuing his profession.
As a nation and a people, we can begin our capacity building after basic literacy education and then create the organizations to teach Sierra Leoneans to be trained to do agriculture; fishing, quality handicrafts and similar pursuits right. The training and supervision should be objective with zero favoritism and sectarianism.
The key basis that strengthens human quality in developed countries is free education which is compulsory until age 16 and the education is grounded on their own culture and thus their education is in complete harmony with the underlying culture.
Furthermore, people in developed countries are educated to share their knowledge with others rather than hoard knowledge. In poor countries, learning is not scientific. Education is too narrow and towards examinations which encourages cramming without deep understanding. Also, people tend not to share their knowledge. Hence, technical knowledge once plentiful in some countries no longer exists in the same countries because past generations have taken their expertise to their graves without passing it down to succeeding generations.
Educators are poorly paid and places of education are substandard and poorly equipped. The curricula are very narrow and people grow up and get “educated” without 90% of what they need to be good citizens and personable individuals.
Thus, a person in some underdeveloped country can recite crammed passages and pass his exams with distinction, yet he has no integrity and is full of tribal prejudices without an ounce of national consciousness and patriotic feelings.
The education thus crammed is mostly in conflict with one’s tribal culture. This conflict drives some people to prefer solving problems the tribal way rather than the properly educated and objectively driven ways.
Proper education leads to high human quality by increasing one’s capabilities to prevent or solve national problems, both the social or technical problems as well as function effectively and efficiently in society. That is exactly why we have developed nations. Where human quality is of poor quality, we find suffering people in hardship society.
Sierra Leone’s native communal cultures are a huge drag on progress as well as its secret societies and its system of native chiefdom administration. Chiefdom administration bleed the people dry and citizens very much fear their Local Native Authorities (LNAs). Besides, few if any development occur in villages. I bet you, some villages must be as threadbare as they were when Pedro da Cintra visited SL during the late 1440s. Chiefs eat all the money or the Lion share of the village’s “wealth”. That system must be reformed – a herculean task!
Also needing reform are the Secret Societies in Sierra Leone. From what I have read, the male societies teach their initiates real bad deeds and tricks. Tribalism and corruption in business and politics are taught in the Wunde and Poro Societies. On the other hand, the various cultural and tribal bushes of the Bondo Society are the ones teaching females to be submissive and patient to make polygamy successful for unreasonable males. Polygamy is what has today created the population explosions of idle, useless, destructive youths and may end up given evil men a large supply of child soldiers. Many children in Sierra Leone today exist without parents supervision, full of stupid superstitions, penniless and looking for trouble. Without population control, forget about development.
Nothing good is going to happen in Sierra Leone until we get to do our governance rights at all levels. Sierra Leone is a tiny but promising country. It needs both internal and external markets to prosper. But no one is thinking along the lines necessary to create an export-driven economy.
In essence, high human capacity is a necessary precondition for developing any nation for ALL the people. Low human quality tends to create conflicts due to low national production that leads to unethical competition, such as tribalism and corruption, in the war to capture the top of a nation’s food chain