Concept note for piloting of Local Learning Groups (LLGs)
A collaboration between MaFI, MDF (Bagladesh) and Technoserve (I...
Effective learning between frontline field practitioners and international experts, policy-makers
and academics is urgent ...
2010-11 but this time Zunaeb will introduce some changes following the lessons from phase
one and his own experiences and ...
● LLG facilitator presents the definitive learning agenda on MaFI and promotes the
conversation (as a minimum on LinkedIn ...
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Concept Note for Local Learning Groups - Second Pilot

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This is a document that proposes a vision and strategies to do a second round of testing to find out a sustainable and efficient model to promote local-global dialogues between MaFI and LLGs all over the world.

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Concept Note for Local Learning Groups - Second Pilot

  1. 1. Concept note for piloting of Local Learning Groups (LLGs) A collaboration between MaFI, MDF (Bagladesh) and Technoserve (India) Working Draft, 9 Jul 2013 1. Background This document is the product of a phone conference between Lucho Osorio-Cortes (MaFI facilitator), Zunaed Rabbani (MDF) and Ravinder Kumar (Technoserve). The following MaFI members manifested interest in participating or tried to call in but had connectivity problems: Stuty Maskey, Phoebe Owuor, Ekanath Khatiwada, Mpulu Makayi, Christian Pennotti, Alexa Roscoe and Tom Roberts. This document is expected to become a “seed” or a starting point for other MaFI members to engage at a later stage. In 2010, MaFI tested LLGs for the first time with the collaboration of MDF and Alianza para el Aprendizaje (Alliance for Lerning) in Peru. This first test produced valuable lessons that were presented during the 2010 SEEP Conference and that will be used here to improve this second round of testing. 2. Introduction 2.1. What are LLGs? LLGs can be seen as different things: a strategy, a process, a space, etc.; but it is essentially a bridge between “Planet MaFI” (the international, global network of MaFI) and groups of people who live and work close to each other and who can meet face-to-face with relative easy and at relatively low costs. MaFI does not intend to “own” the LLGs; each LLG will have its own identity, structures, life cycle and rules, and their engagement with MaFI is voluntary but it will be committed. MaFI’s wants to establish relationships of collaboration, synergy and mutual respect with the LLGs that can become a bridge between two worlds that need each other. 2.2. Objective of this initiative (taken from MaFI’s 2013 workplan) To promote locally contextualised learning and collaboration between key development actors such as field practitioners, policy-makers and donors around issues related to facilitation of inclusive market development. 2.3. Rationale: why should we try to make the LLGs work?
  2. 2. Effective learning between frontline field practitioners and international experts, policy-makers and academics is urgent for inclusive market development facilitation -a highly dynamic field where experimentation and innovation in the field must go hand in hand with robust theories, models and analysis. Failure to promote this learning is eroding the credibility of approaches based on facilitation and systemic thinking before inclusive market development practitioners can demonstrate beyond doubt their potential for poverty reduction at scale. Effective learning, local-global dialogue and collaboration have not happened at the required speed not because of lack of interest but because it is extremely challenging to get them to happen effectively. They are hampered by dysfunctional or inexistent communication infrastructure, language barriers, geographic distance, time pressures, ill-designed organisational incentives and rules to name just a few. Virtual communications via LinkedIn, webinars and e-consultations in English are important but not enough. In-person trust-building, learning and collaboration in local languages and with a focus on the daily urgencies and challenges of the teams in the frontline of development are necessary to convert good theory and research into more-cost effective, sustainable and scalable interventions, and viceversa. 2.4. We all win - potential synergies between LLS and MaFI ● Local practitioners facing problems and challenges can receive inputs from peers in other contexts, which can inspire new insights and adaptations in policy and practice ● Local lessons, insights, challenges and mistakes can inform existing theories or promote the design of new theories and generalisations ● New opportunities for regional or international collaboration, coordination or synergies can be discovered more efficiently 3. What this second pilot is about - learning from the past 3.1. Where will the pilot start? This pilot will take place in India and Bangladesh; facilitated by Zunead Rabbani from MDF and Ravinder Kumar from Technoserve with the collaboration of Lucho Osorio-Cortes, the facilitator of MaFI. It is possible that other MaFI members will decide to join the pilot as Zunaeb and Ravinder move forward. Ravinder will try to attract companies Technoserve is working with and organisations who are supporting farmers in Technoserve’s areas of influence. He considers that there are no other agencies facilitating this type of groups in the area. Zunaeb is the new facilitator of MDF will be mobilising this forum’s members to build the dialogue with MaFI. MDF was an active participant during the first phase of testing back in
  3. 3. 2010-11 but this time Zunaeb will introduce some changes following the lessons from phase one and his own experiences and intuitions. 3.2. Key principles and lessons that will shape this pilot The following are key principles and lessons that will guide this second pilot and the learning agendas of the LLGs: ● Practicality: the learning will be about concrete and present challenges that the members of the LLGs are facing in their projects. ● Time bound: the members of the LLG will decide the duration of their interactions and the dialogue with MaFI; it can be a few weeks or even months. In any case, they and MaFI members will know that it will have a conclusion and a concrete knowledge product that synthesises the key lessons, debates and new questions. ● Incentives: the LLGs will be designed and facilitated to add value to the effectiveness (job performance) and international visibility of the people who participate and contribute to the LLGs ● Commonality: The learning agenda will be structured around themes that are common to all the LLG members; it cannot be about issues that are specific to one or a few projects because that risks alienating the other members 4. The LLG-MaFI dialogue model As it was mentioned above, each LLG will have thier own ways of doing things; but the following basic, minimum template to develop the local-global dialogue will be tested: 4.1. Phase 1 - setting the scene: ● LLG determines the learning agenda ● LLG facilitator introduces the group (members, organisations, and objective) and its learning agenda to MaFI ● LLG facilitator promotes a reflection about the learning agenda itself: do MaFI members see problems in the questions, do they see gaps, can they add new questions, can they challenge the LLG? ● This phase also helps to determine the MaFI members who show interest and experience. 4.2. Phase 2 - collaboration and learning: ● LLG takes the inputs of phase 1 to the LLG to discuss and adjust the learning agenda if necessary ● LLG facilitator informs MaFI whether the learning agenda changed or not as a result of MaFI’s inputs
  4. 4. ● LLG facilitator presents the definitive learning agenda on MaFI and promotes the conversation (as a minimum on LinkedIn but phone conferences, Google Hangouts or webinars may be used) ● LLG facilitator takes the inputs from MaFI to the LLG ● LLG facilitator captures the responses from LLG and takes them to MaFI for a second and last round of discussion (more rounds may be used if needed) ● LLG takes the second round of inputs from MaFI to the LLG 4.3. Phase 3 - synthesis and knowledge production and sharing ● LLG facilitator synthesises the discussions, take-aways, insights, lessons learned and new questions for future research or LLG-MaFI dialogue. If possible, the LLG facilitator will capture information about effects of the discussions LLG-MaFI on practices and thinking. ● MaFI and the LLG collaborate to produce a co-branded synthesis document that can be disseminated worldwide (whenever English is not the main language for the LLG translations will be made if resources are available) Note: any MaFI member will be able to copy or adapt the models and lessons from these pilots; however, due to resource limitations, SEEP will only be able to support the LLGs that are facilitated by SEEP members. This support can include: ● Technical support and co-facilitation from the facilitator of MaFI ● Technical and financial support for the coordination and hosting of international webinars ● Technical support for synthesis and peer-review of discussions ● Financial support for the transcription of international phone conferences or webinars ● Technical and financial support for the lay-out, production, translation and international dissemination of co-branded knowledge products (This list will be confirmed by SEEP once this concept note has been finalised).

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