Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 3 @ KM4Dev.. Peer Assist on "Setting up and maintaining Communities of Practice"

During one of the Open Spaces, I helped Natalie by facilitating a Peer Assist.

Natalie summarised the issue as follows:
Multi-organizational Communities of Practice recently launched in Ethiopia and Malawi. Their focus/practice is on integrated programming HIV/AIDs and Food and Nutrition Security - sharing and documenting best practices that will contribute to improved programming, and advocacy/policy change issues. COPs have met 2 times and are looking for guidance on how best to conduct the COP, how they should operate, what it should look/feel like, understanding the value. So question is, how to best assist and encourage the COPs. They meet once per month, face to face and every quarter have a 2 day workshop around specific themes.

We started off by first understanding the situation she is currently facing a little better. There were some excellent ideas and points raised which could be applicable to others who are currently thinking of setting up or are having concerns of maintaining a CoP. The four main points that came up within this group as the core drivers were:

* Content/relevance to work or interest: The content of discussion within the CoPs should be closely related to work and interest of its participants.
* Facilitation: The need for continuous facilitation was one of the key success factors for ensuring participation and sustainability of CoPs.
* Key stakeholder involvement: In more than one cases, it was said that it is important to have the key players also involved in the CoPs to increase its credibility.

Full notes are available from the KM4Dev Wiki.

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