Does sector learning lead to enhanced capacity and performance?

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Original Message

From: Ewen Le Borgne, posted on 2009/01/05

Dear all,

First of all, I wish you all a happy new year and look forward to KM4DEV discussions as stimulating as ever and to seeing some of you this year hopefully at different occasions.

But I'm here also to pick your brains on any evidence you may have of sector learning - preferably in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector but examples from other sector would be great too. We recently held a workshop on this topic of (WASH) sector learning and one of the (familiar) recommendations we made there was to collect evidence that a certain form of structured learning in the WASH sector contributes to improved delivery of sustainable services.

Now the term "sector learning" is totally arguable and may well be replaced later, but what we are thinking about here is: learning that goes beyond the framework of projects and beyond the agenda of individual sector organizations. We are thinking about long term learning initiatives, that are usually facilitated and integrated (integrating various perspectives and/or sub-sectors), that rely on a shared vision, including various stakeholders aware of their different role and knowledge. And these learning initiatives could/should comprise a double or triple loop learning cycle that leads to restructuring the sector.

Examples? Think: multi-stakeholder platforms, donor coordination platforms, annual sector reviews by all types of organisations, independent resource centre networks trying to structure learning and manage information for sector organizations etc.. These are all examples going in that direction. But you probably have practical experiences with these other examples to share...

Back to the query:

Can you bring any evidence (with links, resources etc.) that:

  • the existing experiences (positive or negative) feed back and result in better sector capacities ( improved approaches, enhanced capacities in organisations, and changed attitudes of staff)?
  • innovative and successful solutions to local problems are being brought up to scale?

This is related to the discussion we had on impact of KM initiatives but then from a sector perspective. I cannot get back to the archive of messages so can't see if anything else is relevant and worth sharing from past discussions...

So if you do have some evidence to share, it would be hugely helpful to share them on this list or directly to me (Leborgne@irc.nl) if you think it's not relevant for the whole list at large.

Any evidence, however small, would be helpful...

Contributors

All replies in full are available in the discussion page. Contributions received with thanks from:

Ewen Le Borgne
Dorine Ruter
Stacey Young
Muhammad Jahangir
Lucie Lamoureux
Sebastiao Ferreira
Ernst Bolliger
James J. Tarrant

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