Local governments have a key role to play in achieving sustainable local development in their jurisdictions. However, local governments across the world find themselves struggling to fulfil their role effectively. A lack of capacity is often cited by local government staff, as well as outsiders, as one of the main reasons for this. But what do we mean by capacity? And what specific capacities do local governments need in order to reach their goals?

These questions were discussed by municipal sanitation officers in Aburi, Ghana during a 1,5 day training course on the 5 Capabilities organised by VNG international and Maple Consult in cooperation with The Hague Academy for Local Governance.

VNG international and the participating municipalities in LGCP use the 5 Capabilities (5C)-assessment to jointly identify capacity development needs. The training course in Ghana aimed at familiarising municipal sanitation officers with the 5C tool and exploring how it might benefit their work. Overall, the participants were very positive about the course. According to one of the participants: “The 5 capability-assessment is such a rich tool! I know have a better sense of what capabilities we need to strengthen in order to achieve our aim of becoming the cleanest city in Ghana”. Many participants expressed the hope that the tool would be taken up by their municipality as a way to assess their capacity needs, even after the end of the LGCP, and suggested to organise a short course for top management in their municipality to generate their support for this idea.

5C training Ghana March 2015