The planning process is an ongoing cycle that incorporates a series of different stages. The outcomes of one stage may change the next stage of the plan. One way of thinking about the stages involved in the planning cycle is:
Each stage feeds into the next, making planning an ongoing activity which is closely linked to evaluation.
Reviewing progress at each stage is essential, thinking about factors such as outcomes, costs, future priorities, or a range of other measures. This ensures that you do not create a plan of action only to discover that you cannot, for example, afford the level of investment it requires.
While this provides a useful overview of how planning could operate, community capacity building activity cannot always be planned following this cycle precisely – particularly at an operational level.
Planning with communities needs to build upon where the community is now, taking time to identify strengths, opportunities and priorities, and it needs to go at a pace that suits the community. Sometimes earlier stages of the planning cycle will need to be revisited and adapted based on the changing context.
Develop your practice
View the planning cycle diagram above, and consider the question:
Is there a capacity building context you can explore by using the planning cycle?