Glossary Term

Capacity sharing

The use of the term “capacity” varies, and different actors within the humanitarian sector use the term in different ways. Capacity sharing and related terms such as “capacity exchange,” capacity strengthening,” “capacity building,” and “capacity development” may be used interchangeably. Whatever term is used to describe the activity, it is essential that it promotes locally-led humanitarian action. A “capacity sharing” approach does the following:

  • challenges ways of working that are based on the assumption that local capacities are lacking or need to be built up
  • puts the diverse strengths and knowledge of local actors and people affected at the center
  • acknowledges any power imbalance between international, national, and local actors and works to shift power to local
  • actors and communities, reflecting the principles of respect, mutual learning, and equitable partnerships.

Achieving these things requires first defining how capacity is understood in a context, and the actions taken to address gaps must be a collective process led by local actors and the people affected.

Adapted from: