Capacity building is ubiquitous in social development discussions. Every development endeavor aspires to build capacity of the poor, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local governments, national ministries or other entities. What does it mean to build capacity? The answer to this question is varied and diverse. In this paper, we briefl y review the various discussions of capacity building in the development literature, and refl ect on what it means to engage in capacity building for local development.