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shotracote-mofate : an approach to sustainable capacity building

“SHOTRACOTE” and “MOFATE” (in French), are terms coined by Bob Hardy FRAIC in the late 90s to describe an approach to capacity building specifically designed for international development agencies to obtain durable and sustainable results as an outcome of their development cooperation activities.  Its stands for the 5 components of sustainable capacity building :  SHOW | TRAIN | COACH | TEST | EVALUATE  (in French MONTRER | FORMER | ASSISTER | TESTER | ÉVALUER).

When one looks at any human activity, it seems quite difficult, if not impossible, to do anything if before hand it has not been shown or explained how this activity is performed. Think of any sport, hobby or professional act : pole-vaulting, cooking or surgery for example. If one wants to learn how to perform well in one of these activities, it seems also quite difficult, if not impossible, to master them without learning the fundamentals and, subsequently, without any sort of real life experimentation while still being overseen, or “coached”, by someone mastering this activity. In the end, there must always be a sort of final test in order to check if the targeted capacities have been acquired : qualification for competition in the athlete’s case, preparing and serving a full dinner for the cook, professional exams and license to practice for the surgeon.

Although everybody would tend to agree with the above, it appears to be rarely put into full practice in the framework of development cooperation projects. Capacity building tends to remain in the first two steps of showing and training … just hoping that performance will follow. Without going through the motion of the 5 described steps, until coaching, testing and evaluating are done, it seems quite difficult to achieve any degree of reliability and sustainability in the attainment of new capacities.

It is with this in mind that the SHOTRACOTE-MOFATE Approach to sustainable capacity building was conceived by Bob Hardy FRAIC. Although the term was coined in the late 90s, the approach itself had been largely tested in the field much earlier. It has been put in practice in the framework of the following international development cooperation projects :

  • the Regional Funds for Rural Infrastructure Development, the FRAR Project, for the Ministry of Plan of the Ivory Coast in the late 70’s;
  • the CERPAD project for the planning and development of rural areas in Vietnam, for the Ministry of Construction (MOC) in the late 80’s and early 90’s;
  • the Cost-effective Health Buildings Project (CHBP) for the Ministry of Health of the Lao PDR in the late 90’s;
  • the “National Urban-Rural Basic Infrastructure Development Strategy (NURBIDS) for the Department of Urban Planning of the Ministry of Public Works of the Lao PDR in the early 2000s;
  • the joint IFAD/LuxDev project “Developing Business for the Rural Poor (DBRP)” in Cao Bang, Vietnam, in 2012.

The term “SHOTRACOTE-MOFATE” was finally extended to embrace other aspects of international development, also authored by Bob Hardy, which were compliant with the fundamentals of this approach :

  • the “SHOTRACOTE/MOFATE Methodology” for sustainable capacity building in international development programmes;
  • the “21 SHOTRACOTE/MOFATE Essential Characteristics” for the development of internationally equitable and sustainable social infrastructure programmes and projects;
  • the 7 Integrities of an Internationally Socially Responsible Architecture“.  

show, train, coach, test, evaluate

The five (5) steps of the SHOTRACOTE-MOFATE approach are hereafter briefly described :

1.   SHOW  (MONTRER) 

In this 1st step, the subject matter has been elaborated by the trainer(s) and the later shows (demonstrates) how it works to the trainees. This usually takes a short time. It has to be noted that the trainer(s) must bring something which he/she already knows and masters very well.

2.   TRAIN  (FORMER)

In this 2nd step, the trainer(s) explains in details how to do what has been shown by him in the first step (“show”), and he makes sure the trainees understand. This takes a longer time, as it is organized through formal training sessions which can be based on existing training manuals and handbooks, or some of the same prepared by the trainer(s).

3.  COACH  (ASSISTER) 

In this 3rd step, the trainer(s) coaches the trainees as they themselves do, in their actual job, what they have been shown and trained to do. This is a period of “hands-on” gaining of capacities which takes more time and is usually spread over many months.

4.  TEST  (TESTER)

In this 4th step, after a sufficiently long period of on-the-job work by the trainees under coaching by the trainer(s), the trainees are tested by outside examiners in order to check if they have gained the capacities they were supposed to acquire through the process.

5.  EVALUATE  (ÉVALUER)

In this 5th  and final step, the results of testing are evaluated to assess to which extent the targeted capacities have been acquired and applied by targeted subjects in a sustainable manner.