Discussion Report 28 Sophie Treinen - Mainstreaming good practices from bottom up and vice versa in large organizations

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Open Space Discussion on Mainstreaming good practices from bottom up and vice versa in large organizations


  • Sophie Treinen - sophie.treinen[AT]fao.org


  • Sybil Chidiac, CARE USA
  • Kumkum Kashiparekh, CARE USA
  • Barbara Collins, ILO

Key Discussion Points

We exchanged on how in large organisations good practices are mainstreaming. Examples from CARE, ILO and FAO were the key references.


FAO Knowledge Forum and Best Practices website FAO developed in 2005 a website on knowledge forum - http://www.fao.org/corp/knowledgeforum/en/ - and part of it there is a website on Best Practices http://www.fao.org/bestpractices/index_en.htm?lang=en . The discussion enabled to understand the different mechanisms each organization has put in place to mainstream good practices.


For ILO, a good practice is an action that makes it a success i.e. what produced a desired result. E.g.: How to involve women at local level. It is not a project. Among the tools that contribute to good practices there are manuals. For CARE a good practice is either an innovation or something used in a creative way.


  • Replicability
  • Scalability
  • Sustainability (practice that can continue without resources or assistance) - effectiveneess - efficiency
  • Programme quality
  • Demonstrating the impact

Metadata in template of good practices

  • Title
  • Context - e.g.: This works better with boys than girls
  • Region
  • Author
  • Year
  • Description of the good practice
  • Contact
  • URL

FAO uses AgMes for publication metadata and AGROVOC as thesaurus for taxonomy. See also the Agricultural Information Management Standards website: http://www.fao.org/aims Mechanisms In CARE, good practices are documented either by the KM unit or a consultant. These documented good practices are used for advocacy (e.g. to change a policy - laws) formalized in a publication of 6 to 40 pages, translated into French and Portuguese and disseminated in country offices via email, website or disperse conversation.

The Disperse Conversations are virtual discussions lead by COP on themes. A country office having developed a good practice can lead the discussion on the specific theme. These discussion take place more or less every three months, last for two weeks, are immediately translated in English, French and Portuguese. Participants are informed 2 to 3 weeks in advance. The discussion is not limited to CARE staff but can be extended to partners working on the same theme. These discussions have been very productive.

In summary, the process in stages and in a circle: 1. capture 2. document 3. translate 4. share 5. apply 6. practice


  • Involve practitioners.
  • People don't know the value of their knowledge. Therefore it is also important to have participants feeling valued for their contributions.

Good practices products

  • Guidelines
  • Standards


  • Certificate of appreciation explaining the contribution fro sharing and learning of the participant. This certificate is sent to the director who distribute the certificate during a staff meeting
  • Invitation of certified participants in Programme meeting in HQ or in the region
  • KM is part of the Performance Management Objectives
  • HR should include this criterion of participation in KM in the performance evaluation


ILO started working on KM six years ago. See www.ilo.org/integration. ILO has collected good practices through a contest on Success stories for their Knowledge Fair. See http://www.ilo.org/public/english/knowledgefair/index.htm

The success stores were translated in several languages on a one page. As the Knowledge Fair took place during their conference, delegates could come and pick up the success stories on their country. The fair lasted 10 days during which were published three newspapers. Banners used during this fair have been used for other occasion. The cost of the event amounted USD40,000.