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Based upon ‘Critical review of the capacity building literature and discourse’. The research summarised here addresses the ambiguities and discrepancies of the capacity building dialect within the aid and development industry. Three interrelated themes are found to permeate the capacity building literature, despite diverse ideological persuasions. The appropriation of these themes within the capacity building discourse is subject to critical analysis. A meta-theoretical analysis questions the ability of functionalist constructs of capacity building to reduce poverty or achieve sustainable development. From a community development perspective, equitable social transformation will occur only when the focus of `development’ involves strengthening the capacities of all people, communities, and nations to create a just and equitable world.

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