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Context and Challenge
The KM4Dev communityhas been running successfully for almost 5 years, and has a number of useful resources, including a lively discussion forum, document archives and a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) system.It is increasingly apparent that there is much of value in the forum debates, which could be systematically reviewed and used to create a one-stop shop showcasing the network’s “best available wisdom”. However at present the lack of resources (time, funding) has meant that the FAQ, despite useful early work, remains a “bolted-on” extra within the website, while useful evidence of knowledge and learning activities from the forum exchanges potentially falls through the cracks for all but the most diligent of users.
Because of the potentially central role that FAQs play for KM4Dev members, there is value in treating this project as an action research initiative, facilitating lessons learned on ongoing community practices and activities. In particular, in taking a community-driven perspective on FAQ building and maintenance, this project hopes to attempt questions such as: how does a FAQ best represent the knowledge of the community? What centralized work is needed? How can the community own and maintain it? What is unique about a community owned FAQ (as opposed to a hierarchical, centralized one)? What can we learn from each other through this process and then apply in our own organizations and work?
Our vision is that the FAQ should become an integral and regularly updated aspect of the network’s shared knowledge. This small-scale project will work to review historical forum debates and contributions from the last four-plus years, and synthesise this information into richer knowledge to inform practitioners, project staff, researchers and policy makers of the value of the KM4Dev approach.
The FAQ Working Group
KM4Dev is supported by 16 core members who act as an advisory group. A sub-group of four of these members will be playing a more active role in the FAQ renewal project and will constitute the FAQ team. They are:
- Urs Karl Egger, Skat Foundation (Switzerland)
- Lucie Lamoureux, Bellanet (Belgium)
- Ben Ramalingam, ODI (UK)
- Nancy White, Full Circle Associates (USA)
The team are in the process of writing up the first draft of FAQs, and are now identifying the most relevant FAQ topics for the community, in consultation with the broader KM4Dev community. The team will also engage the KM4Dev community to share responsibility in maintaining the FAQ and find means to develop their sense of ownership in the project.
The Bigger Picture
The FAQ renewal project represents an important opportunity for the global KM4Dev community. As well as the direct practical benefits already outlined, the FAQ project is the first step in a strategic process which make the KM4Dev community knowledge base more easily accessible, concise and relevant. Moreover, the FAQ project will be a pilot to learn, in a systematic fashion, how a distributed community of practice can create added value for its members, and how to build shared ownership of specific elements of an inter-organisational knowledge base.