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FAO & Dgroups

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Presentation by Kristin Kolshus and Julien Custot (FAO) at the Dgroups Peer Exchange - 16 April 2013

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FAO & Dgroups

  1. 1. Kristin Kolshus and Julien Custot16 April 2013Dgroups at FAO
  2. 2. • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN• Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAOs efforts- to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives• FAOs mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improveagricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populationsand contribute to the growth of the world economy• Knowledge networks and communities support thismandate. Dgroups fills a need in supporting our technicalworkFAO and Dgroups
  3. 3. • Over 9,700 Dgroups members (up from 5,700 oneyear ago)• Increasing interest in Dgroups• Used with internal and external audiences• Open, closed and invisible groups• Some with regional subgroups• Used for: technical discussions, knowledge networks,workshop preparations and follow-up, steering groups,online consultations, closed discussions and much more.Dgroups at FAO
  4. 4. • Potential new groups: Asked to fill in Network Design AidChecklist• Many tools and options for networks/communities: Dgroupscan be right answer but not always: discussion needed.• We work with groups to suggest structure and how to bestfacilitate the network/community intervention.• Do not underestimate time/resources needed. Focus oninteraction and facilitation, not technology.Contacts: dgroups@fao.org and knowledge-sharing@fao.orgMaking Dgroups Useful: TheProcess
  5. 5. A network associated with the“Food for the Cities” multi-disciplinary initiativeOutcome of the “Food, Agricultureand Cities” workshop (September2009):The participants “decided to put in place anemail discussion list to foster furthercollaborative work” (page 16)Starting food-for-cities@dgroups.org
  6. 6. To bring together people working on differentaspects of urbanization challenges for food andnutrition security, agriculture and management ofnatural resourcesParticipants from the public sector (national andlocal governments, municipalities, and internationalorganizations), private sector, academics, NGOsand civil societyChallenging to have interventions from the private sectorThe main objective(s)
  7. 7. Active cooptation of membersSending an invitation is often not efficientMost often:Informal discussion (meetings, mails …)Adding the name on the listInforming the people, and mentioning they canunsubscribe anytimeToo bad we cannot easily monitor the people whohave left the listGetting new members:By invitation or addition?
  8. 8. The goal to develop a "globalnetwork”List building on existingnetworksFrom 100 people in 2009 to1900 members today:all domains/positions in thesocietyLost track of the geographicalrepartition - participants do notindicate their country of origin680 unlocatedGlobal network … but fromwhere?
  9. 9. Dgroups is a simple tool:email received in the inbox(no password)A neutral platform: really« not evil »!Improved interface foradministrator (but users donot see the back office)However a bit slowsometimes: can be annoyingand makes discussionsdifficultA mailing list at the age of thesocial media!1, 2… to 10 messages a day
  10. 10. Some messages sent from time to time on generalmattersBack office work, especially for proposing people tocontributeEncourage short messages (1/2 page max, one ideas)with specific added valueChallenges of bringing information visible as manypeople dont think / dont want / are afraid of makinginformation publicInformal « core group » of people (within andoutside FAO)Facilitating the discussion
  11. 11. Knowledge platform to provide common ground on“food systems approaches”"food-for-cities" doesnt replace but tries to connectother networks/initiativesIncluding the FCIT-list within FAO (about 200 members HQs +decentralized offices)The network belong to the ones who participateSome « spies »?« Open knowledge » platform
  12. 12. « Food-for-Cities@dgroups.org » is used as just adiscussion listMost of the time, no summary of the discussion (human resourcesissue) – No use of the « archives »Dgroups doesn’t allow a tight connection with collaborative tools(information technology issue)Some members are asking for an evolution (Yammer, Facebook…)Maybe too bad, but it also gives more freedom ofdiscussion? A mix between formal and informalA discussion list. Justdiscussing then?
  13. 13. One list fits all? No…but…To moderate or not to moderate? That’s the questionFacilitating and managing the flow of information?Full time job or just a new way of working? (Discussion liston top of usual business or a main communication channel)Language(s)Issues to consider
  14. 14. An effective global networkInformation sharing about:MeetingsPreparation of visits, reportage…Connection with other lists: e.g. FSN Forum discussionsNot so much for projects: funding related issues« Food, agriculture and cities » discussion paperDeveloping a « local food system approach »AchievementsIdea of making a study to understand the dynamics of the list…
  15. 15. The « food-for-cities@dgroups.org » list hasbecome a communityHow will FAO address the urbanization challengeswithin the new strategic framework of FAO?How will this community be considered?From a list to a community
  16. 16. 9 months to…Get the list really activeGet someone to post an email on the listHave a full discussion on a new topicA Dgroup is a long-term investment!Building trust …9 months
  17. 17. Should we go more collaborative?Benefits and challenges to increasedcollaborationTHANK YOU!A question?
  18. 18. Kristin KolshusJulien Custot and Makiko Taguchi16 April 2013Dgroups at FAO

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