Capacity Building

Wherever CIET is, capacity building is part of the process. In fact, CIET does not normally agree to single surveys with little likelihood of follow-up because they do not provide either the time or the structures for local capacity building. CIET Research Fellows customarily work with a team of national, regional or local counterparts from government, local NGOs, universities or communities themselves. Survey cycles, repeated at one, two or three-year intervals allow step-by-step transfer of knowledge and skills. In every country where CIET has worked, it conducts short training seminars to share assessment and analysis skills. Hands-on training continues throughout the first cycle and those that follow. After four cycles, local counterparts should be able to carry on largely unaided. CIET remains available to respond to problems and guide interpretation of the data.

Additional means used by CIET for building institutional capacity include, where appropriate: longer training courses, production of training materials and, in some cases, the creation of national NGOs that bear the CIET name to carry out the work begun internationally. The latter measure makes skills available to governments and other development agencies at very short notice and at costs scaled to the national economy. CIET offices can be found in Botswana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa as well as in Canada, Europe and the United States.


Eight-week intensive residential courses have been given frequently since 1987 at CIET’s training centre in Mexico. Over 600 planners and researchers from 58 countries have attended the Mexico course. CIET also conducted eight-week courses in Portuguese (Mozambique or Angola) in 1991 through 1993. Shorter courses were conducted for UNICEF staff and government counterparts in Mexico in 1990, East Africa (Uganda) in 1995 and South Asia (Nepal) in 1996.

Eight-week intensive courses have also been conducted in other countries:
  • A course in Evidence-based Planning was conducted jointly with Health Canada and the University of Ottawa on the campus of the latter in June and July of 1999. The twenty-two participants were mainly Health Canada staff from the Atlantic Provinces and Ottawa involved in the LoPHID programme. 
  • In  Pakistan, an eight-week course on evidence-based planning for local governance was given at the University of Peshawar in 2005.
  • During 2007 an 8-week intensive training on AIDS prevention trials, health research and planning was given for 27 participants from government, universities and NGOs in 14 southern African countries. This course is part of CIET’s African Development of AIDS Prevention Trial (ADAPT) programme which aims to build on local health capacity to plan, conduct, analyse and use the evidence from large scale, multi-centred AIDS prevention trials in southern Africa.

National counterparts are occasionally sent to CIET’s Mexico training center to take advantage of short special courses. Thus two members of the El Puente team from Brooklyn, New York were trained there in introductory field methods in 1996 and three Pakistanis worked on Data Analysis and Geographic Information Systems in Mexico in 1999.


Although CIET has no funding of its own for interns, it does accept suitably qualified interns who bring their own funding with them or are included by the funding agency in a programme such as Health Canada’s LoPHID programme. CIET interns typically have high levels of academic qualifications and substantial work experience. Interns are recruited from a wide range of disciplines, important characteristics being an ability to work hard in a team, and a commitment to building the community voice into planning.

Internships with CIET are full-time over the course of at least a year. Under certain circumstances, a shorter period of voluntary attachment may be considered by the directors and accredited as an internship. Successful interns may be eligible for Research Asssociate or Programme Coordinator status, depending on progress made during the internship period. Because CIET functions as a fellowship of independent contractors funded on a project-specific basis, there can be no guarantee of employment when the internship terminates. The objective of CIET’s internship programme, however, is to recruit associates through the process by providing exposure to and training in the CIET methodology and philosophy.

Interns may be attached to any or several of the CIET offices worldwide, depending on availability of funds and the needs of the individual intern.