Context, international cooperation and Entabeni Consultancy (Cape Town, South Africa) are jointly conducting an action learning study in South Africa on the interrelatedness between capacity enhancement, civil society building and social mobilisation. The study is running from early 2006 to July 2008.

Seven South African non governmental organisations and a German funding agency participate in this extensive learning trajectory with the aim to distil what works and does not work in relation to capacity enhancement, civil society building and social mobilisation within a SA context.

The participating organisations are as follows: Development Action Group (Cape Town), Southern Cape Land Committee (George), groundWork (Pietermaritzburg), Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness (Pietermaritzburg), Trust for Community Outreach and Education (Cape Town), Community Based Development Programme (Johannesburg), Khanya College (Johannesburg) and the Church Development Service (EED, Bonn, Germany).

From April to September 2007, individual action learning case study (ALCS) workshops have been held with all of the participating organisations. The next step was to jointly to jointly distill the cross-cutting issues and learnings, commonalities and differences as to capacity enhancement, civil society building and social mobilisation. This was done during a second joint learning workshop on 7-9 November (Khwa’ttu Centre, South Africa). By the end of the workshop, tentative conclusions have been drawn of what works and does not work in view of the themes of the study.

In the following months, the lessons drawn will be triangulated with experiences of other organisations in South Africa by means of in-depth interviews and literature review. As a result the major output will be (1) an internal learning document to be shared with the participating organisations in April 2008; and (2) an external publication to be ready in July 2008.