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Communities of practice to strengthen our ties

Working together to innovate solutions!

By: Amadou Harouna Mahamadou, Project Manager Linking and Learning Facilitation, Accountability Lab Niger

2020 was off to a good start in Voice Niger! This is because 2019 was a year full of learning and sharing lessons through activities like the fail fair, friend-raising, regional meetings among others. From this, the Linking and Learn facilitator for Niger and Mali, Accountability Lab (ALAB) organized a workshop to create Communities of Practice in January 2020

This is how it happened

First, they met…

The participants got to know each other better in a creative exercise. It wasn’t the classic ‘Hello my name is XYZ‘ but instead something else! Each participant had to pick a word out of a ballot box. Then, they had to find their “buddy” to talk to, so that they would be able to present their buddies’ organization and the work that they do. For example, the bee found the honey. After a few minutes of discussion, the bee could easily explain what the honey does within the Voice project. This little game is called Salt and Pepper. It allowed the participants to appreciate the work done by other organizations even those outside Voice that were also present.

Secondly, they got to know each other and got to know their environment. Everything clicked…

The participants formed groups of 5 to 6 people. In the groups, everyone first identified challenges in their organization’s in general, and then in the Voice project. The group chose the 3 most relevant or recurrent challenges for feedback in plenary. In the end, a dozen challenges had been identified during group work. They were presented in the room and each participant voted for the 4 challenges from which they would like to see Communities of Practice created.

The voting resulted in the selection of 4 challenges and the creation of 4 Communities of Practice (CoPs) which are:

  • CoP I: Visibility, documentation and capitalization of organizations’ actions;
  • CoP II: The schooling of children with disabilities, with a special focus on children with intellectual disabilities;
  • CoP III: Public and political participation of young people and women;
  • CoP IV: The defence of human rights and the fight against all forms of discrimination.

Last but not least, they decided to build something together!

The participants – Voice partners and others – then chose the CoP they wanted to join. This was according to their areas of expertise, the theme addressed in their Voice project, their professional or personal interest, and simply, their passion. The communities of practice thus formed chose their moderators and created their online working groups. According to a plan and a frequency of work decided by the group, members would work on the identified themes and have 2 months to develop a document that provides solutions to the defined problems. At the end of this very enriching day, the next meeting was set for the end of April 2020 in order to present the research work.

If the world health situation allows it, we can count on this workshop to present the work that will teach us more about such important topics for projects and for the world of sustainable development.


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