January 27, 2009

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On January 19, Ivan Kulis from ECDPM sent the following email:

"Dear Lucie, you might remember that in Portugal I anticipated that ECDPM could be interested in organising one (regional?) KM4Dev workshop. We have now internally agreed about it, and we're putting initial ideas together. I'd like to talk to you about possible collaboration on this event. Please let me know when would be good time for you to have a phone call about it."

On January 27, a cross-section of Core group members (Camilo, Denise, Josien, Lucie, Nancy, Riff and Sophie) had a Skype call with Ivan to further discuss.

About ECDPM and the context

  • In existence for 20 years, ECDPM works in ACP countries, target policy makers in Europe
  • Offices in Maastricht and Brussels
  • KM is an important issue for them, Paul Engels (ED) is a longtime KM4dev supporter
  • They have had internal problems in recent years, management issues
  • 2 years ago, with a new Team Leader came a new structure, and a KM and communication strategy
  • Started with an inwards looking approach, now looking outwards, want to be more active in terms of networking
  • Volker (Team Leader) and Paul talked with Ivan about organizing some sort of meeting (tentatively in Nov) and asked him the draft a concept note

About KM4dev

Ivan's questions to us

How do we work in terms of organizing F-2-F meetings?

  • Normally, informal rotation of community members
  • Float idea, see if there is an interest
  • Work on fundraising, organize logistics, process/content and facilitation
  • Workshop topics and approaches vary from one time to the next but each meeting is an exploration of KM4dev issues
  • For e.g. Zeist in 2007 was maybe a turning point towards experimenting with more participative methodologies for the meeting itself, much of the agenda focused on working on a project basis. The Almada event (2008) was completely done in Open Space
  • Agenda and meeting design can be flexible but always built on the workshop purpose

What is our agenda for the rest of the year?

  • South Africa event, originally meant for 2008, then April 2009, now October 2009
  • Concept: KM4dev community members interacting with local communities for sharing, increased mutual understanding
  • SA event is "doing something different" -- in location, design, intent, making it a more complex task
  • Funding and organizational pressures mean that the event is not likely to go ahead in 2009
  • In any case, there is no issue with having more than one KM4dev-related meeting per year

How much do KM4dev workshop cost?

  • Different costs, the SA event is quite expensive but other workshops have cost close to 20K euros (Zeist and Almada)

How is KM4Dev funded?

  • SDC funded Almada workshop through a grant but there is no core funding as such, volunteer core group providing decision making process

Ivan's concept so far

  • Would like to see what could be of potential interest to us and ECDPM
  • Idea: Linking KM4Dev practices for working in partnerships ("manage alliances"). Concretely: bringing together partnership people (not KM "experts") and KM4dev community for information sharing and mutual learning
  • Potentially, first a 2 day KM4dev workshop, driven by the community. Then a 3rd day, more structured, where partnership people would exchange with KM4dev people. The partnership people would have a different event, a KM tools/practices training, during the 2 previous days
  • They are planning a pilot course on capacity bldg for partnerships (with Euforic doing the training, towards second quarter), aimed at smaller NGO community near Maastricht
  • Also, Ivan is undertaking research on alliance capabilities and how NGOs manage their alliances
  • Has a certain budget, not sure of amount but certainly easy to get resources for free (e.g. venue, human resources, etc.)

Our questions to Ivan

What do you mean by KM tools and practices training"?

  • Partnership managers are often private sector people, who have had no introduction to KS tools/approaches, so the idea is to expose them

What would expect from KM4dev community?

  • Wants to bring partnership people w/ KM people for information exchange and mutual learning. Sort of looking to the community as a collective consultant.

How does this fit into your overall strategy? There is something underneath KM tools... a strategic vision/understanding of the value

(not sure if Ivan responded to this)

Any flexibility in terms of dates?

  • Thinking of November because September is a crazy month... also some colleagues are doing KM4Dev research, which will not be finished by Sept
  • October might be viable, though

What's ECDPM capacity (size-wise) for such a meeting?

  • None... would be outside Maastricht or Brussels, in a castle or similar venue. That part of cost would be covered by ECPDM

(n.b: Peter Bury also mentioned he could find an old cascina around Zola Predosa, near Bologna... Ivan said it could be possible if we had a local partner, though more complex)

Thoughts from our end

  • This is a possible invitation to dance in two ways together: one with the community being a supportive/consulting partner for ECDPM's meeting then we tag on our meeting (Nancy)
  • It would be great to collaboratively design the full set, define purpose, then bring in methods, approaches. For e.g., if we used open space for the 3rd day, a good question could be "how can we get better at defining and maintaining our partnerships"
  • The order -- it might be good the other way around (i.e. starting with the 3rd day)

Next steps

  • Core group members on the call would like to pursue the idea further with Ivan/ECDPM
  • Ivan will draft a concept note (a little iteration may be useful so Ivan is invited to contact us!), share it with the Core group
  • Dialogue is needed in the Core group while Ivan is working on the concept note
  • Ivan will share the concept note with Paul and Volker and get back to us in March (can't remember if this is what he said?)