The Pelican initiative

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Euforic/Concord meeting, 6 June 2007 - Presentation by Niels Keijzer, ECDPM

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The Pelican initiative

  1. 1. The Pelican Initiative www.dgroups.org/groups/pelican Euforic AGM 6 June 2007 Knowledge sharing and learning networks Niels Keijzer European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) www.ecdpm.org
  2. 2. What is the Pelican Initiative? <ul><li>2002: Joint initiative of five organisations (the ECDPM, the Exchange Programme, IDRC, UNICEF East Africa office, Bellanet): </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-Stakeholder Discussions; </li></ul><ul><li>On Evidence-based Learning; </li></ul><ul><li>And Communication for Development. </li></ul>
  3. 3. ‘ Shape’ of the Initiative: <ul><li>All of you familiar with Dgroups? </li></ul><ul><li>Email Discussion Group : One central email-address to send messages to all group members; </li></ul><ul><li>Simple website : information on members, message archive, calendar for events, and ‘library’ – all members can add these elements. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Learning for Development <ul><li>Underlying idea of ‘learning’ as the outcome of interaction between multiple stakeholders (rather than one-directional ‘knowledge diffusion’ approaches); </li></ul><ul><li>Three types of learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning for Policy Change; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning within and across organisations; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning in the setting of multi-stakeholder alliances and networks. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Different stakeholders increasingly recognise the importance of learning for development. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Who are the initiative’s members? <ul><li>Almost 350 people: </li></ul>Researchers Professional Evaluators Policy Makers Development Practitioners Communication Specialists Learning or Knowledge Management Officers ………………………..
  6. 6. Learning Approach <ul><li>Relatively structured approach: one general topic at a time, often accompanied by a brief case study; </li></ul><ul><li>Every discussion has more or less a clear start, and end; </li></ul><ul><li>The summaries of the discussions are seen as a clear and useful ‘result’ of the discussions. </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion topics change every 2 months, after the summaries are sent around; </li></ul><ul><li>Discussions accompanied by announcements of events, useful publications, and other stand-alone contributions; </li></ul><ul><li>Two publications made to share the discussions with a larger audience. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Facilitation Support <ul><li>Encouraging people to respond and share; </li></ul><ul><li>Providing technical support and ‘moderating’ the email discussions; </li></ul><ul><li>Very few targeted invitations most of the growth of the network through existing members; </li></ul><ul><li>Summarising exchanges, but – as a facilitator – also having one’s own opinions and views to share. </li></ul>
  8. 8. A few reflections <ul><li>People share, but do not always compare; </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational learning is a difficult issue to discuss in an online network: it’s more easy to discuss your ‘cuisine’ compared to discussing the conditions in your kitchen; </li></ul><ul><li>In the absence of funding, deadlines become promises; </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder-diversity and topic differentiation can demotivate learners; </li></ul>
  9. 9. A few more reflections <ul><li>Capitalising on what has been learned has a great motivating effect (knowledge production); </li></ul><ul><li>Like with workshops, much of the learning is invisible (informal networking); </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of exchange can become an obstacle, but sufficient quality is important to motivate participants; </li></ul><ul><li>Relatively low direct participation from people working in developing countries, who nonetheless find the network useful for their work. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Comparing with other groups <ul><li>Pelican is only one of the Dgroups that ECDPM works with. Others differ in: </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose (newsletter, helpdesk, peer review, …); </li></ul><ul><li>Size and diversity of the group (very large to small planning groups, more targeted audiences); </li></ul><ul><li>Culture of discussion (from spontaneous to deadline driven); </li></ul><ul><li>Confidentiality (open or closed groups); </li></ul><ul><li>Duration (long/short term); </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion : Lessons learnt from one group may not be appropriate for another. </li></ul>

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