How will success (or progress) in capacity building be assessed?
The draft plan needs to identify benefits of capacity building, which can include improved community participation in research, the training of rural scientists, creating a training component, and reinforcing the intrinsic responsibilities of stewardship and pride of ownership with resource conservation. Perhaps the most important principle is that the communities themselves should provide advice on how best to build their capacity. This reflects the broader principle that communities should be involved in programs and projects from the beginning. These advantages should be clearly articulated in the research and restoration plan, which should also state whether money is to be specifically set aside for capacity building.
Capacity building should either be required or viewed as an important criterion for approval in all RFPs. RFPs should state prominently that proposals with capacity building components will be strongly encouraged.
There should be milestones that allow the AYK SSI to measure success in capacity building. Milestone measurements might vary with categories of RFPs approved (for example, a multiyear program vs. a single-year program)
We suggest the following specific examples of capacity building programs (tribal programs, science camps, including communities in graduate student research) that might be useful for the AYK SSI to consider and to learn from
Native American Fish and Wildlife Society
Native American Vocational Training and Educational Program
Alaska Sea-Life Center
The Kuskokwim Native Association—NOAA partnership
The NSF’s Native Education Program
The NSF’s Tribal College-University Program Initiative
The importance of capacity building in Native communities has been addressed in the research plan, but specific educational components have not. Education is arguably the most lasting component of capacity