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Disability inclusion : translating policy into practice in humanitarian action

March 2014

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This report “documents positive practices and ongoing challenges to promote disability inclusion across UNHCR’s and its partners’ work in multiple countries and multiple displacement contexts. The report provides lessons and recommendations for other organizations and the wider humanitarian community on engaging persons with disabilities at all levels of humanitarian work. It draws on consultations with over 700 displaced persons, including persons with disabilities, their families, and humanitarian staff, in eight countries”

Note: This report is also offered in plain text format

The barefoot guide 2 : learning practices in organisations and social change

May 2011

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“The Barefoot Guide 2 is a practical resource for leaders, facilitators and practitioners involved in social change who want to improve and enrich their learning processes. This book is the joint effort of a group of development practitioners from across the globe. They have created something that will help them and others to start, and continue, the journey towards learning and social change. The writers are all passionate about learning and have brought their different experience and expertise to the book. It includes topics as diverse as community mobilising and development, adult learning, funding, evaluation, facilitation, and creative writing”

Capacity is development : stories of institutions

January 2010

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This report presents a series of narratives aims to capture the national and local institutional transformations, led and driven by the institutions themselves, that UNDP has supported over the years at the country level. These stories have been collated and synthesised by the UNDP Capacity Development Group, drawing on data and narratives provided mainly by UNDP Country Offices in each region. Each narrative clearly outlines the situation, response and results

Series 1

Monitoring and evaluating capacity building : is it really that difficult?

SMITH, Rachel
January 2010

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This paper is based on a literature review and interviews with a range of capacity building providers based in the North and South examining both theory and current practice of capacity development, and discusses some of the key barriers to progress. “Primarily concerned with capacity building within civil society organisations (CSOs), although many of the lessons apply equally to organisations in the commercial or state sectors... it begins by looking at some key concepts in both capacity building and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It examines different ways of thinking about M&E, and describes a variety of different tools and approaches used to plan, monitor and evaluate capacity building work. It goes on to discuss M&E in relation to donors and provides an outline of current practice, based on the interviews. Finally, it highlights key areas for further discussion, and presents some conclusions based on the research”

Praxis Paper No. 23

The barefoot guide to working with organisations and social change

et al
July 2009

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This is a practical, do-it-yourself guide for leaders and facilitators wanting to help organisations to function and to develop in more healthy, human and effective ways as they strive to make their contributions to a more humane society... The guide, with its supporting website, includes tried and tested concepts, approaches, stories and activities. Its purpose is to help stimulate and enrich the practice of anyone supporting organisations and social movements in their challenges of working, learning, growing and changing to meet the needs of our complex world. Although it is aimed at leaders and facilitators of civil society organisations, we hope it will be useful to anyone interested in fostering healthy human organisation in any sphere of life. This resource has a supporting website where additional resources are available

World Bank group supported transformational leadership program in Madagascar : final evaluation

January 2008

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This report presents an evaluation of the Transformational Leadership Programme (TLP) in Madagascar.  The TLP is one of the Bank’s most longstanding leadership development programmes, and one that has been accompanied by an evaluative process. This report presents the findings to allow for simultaneous learning about both the programme and the difficulties of evaluation of this type of evolving programme

Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities : its implementation and relevance for the World Bank

GUERNSEY, Katherine
NINIO, Alberto
June 2007

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This paper is a World Bank organisational learning tool designed to provide a review and commentary on the relevance of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The purpose is to assist World Bank staff with supporting implementation activities. The articles that make up this document aim to operationalize World Bank protocols, legal obligations and benchmark specific principles. This practical resource would be useful for those working in the field of disability and development, in particular those working towards legislative reform

We're too much in 'to do' mode: action research into supporting international NGOs to learn

Smit, Maaike
February 2007

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This paper has been produced by INTRAC (International Training and Research Centre) and PSO (an association of 45 development NGOs in the Netherlands). Using the experience of NGOs in the Netherlands, it is designed to support International NGOs in the process of organisational learning. The key focus is on 'self knowledge' - analysing how your organisation can reflect on its learning processes and capacities. The paper provides a practical exploration of how researchers and participants from organisations can use action research to evaluate organisational learning with a view to improving practice. This paper would be highly relevant for managers, consultants, researchers and other professionals involved with organisational learning within NGOs

Investigating the mystery of capacity building : learning from the Praxis programme

WRIGELY, Rebecca

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This paper investigates the issue of capacity building, drawing on the experiences shared by capacity building practitioners through the INTRAC Praxis Programme over the past four years. “This DGIS-supported programme encouraged capacity building practitioners to reflect on, learn from and disseminate their experiences in the field, in attempt to discover what works and what does not in building capacity. Written by practitioners from diverse contexts on a wide variety of themes…this paper syntheses the learning -  that “to build capacity effectively, stakeholders need to articulate more clearly and negotiate a shared understanding of capacity building. This understanding should be rooted in the specific context and culture in which it takes place. We have to mitigate the inherent obstacles to capacity building in the aid system as far as possible. We also need to appreciate the degree of difficulty entailed in building capacity”


Praxis Paper series No. 18

Knowledge management and organisational learning development : KM4Dev workshop background paper

PETTIT, Jethro
SCHAGEN, Boudy van

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This paper presents an overview of the theory and practice of knowledge management and organisational learning and their application to development. It suggests that a new generation of ideas on this theme is emerging, where values are made explicit and reflected upon, and learning processes are 'more client oriented, demand led, and requiring concerted effort to engagement on level platforms. In addition it implies mutual engagement in a systemic whole, reaching beyond organisational boundaries'

Building effective States : forging engaged societies

September 2005

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"This report of the Task Force on Capacity Development in Africa analyzes four decades of capacity development experience in Africa and offers key messages for African countries and their international partners that should underpin a renewed effort to develop, use, and retain capacity for development in Sub Saharan Africa. It also presents specific recommendations of how the World Bank, as a leading development agency in the region, should step up its analytical, financial, and operational contribution to capacity development as part of a coordinated international effort under the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. This paper contains the following chapters: why capacity development - and why now; governance matters for sustained capacity development; the new paradigm for capacity development; from shared vision to implementation platform - renewing the compact; and updating the World Bank's approach to capacity development in Africa - business unusual. The paper includes five annexes that cover the consultations, the literature review, and the country and portfolio evidence collected by the Task Force. It also includes a note on the World Bank Institute's capacity development activities in Africa"

Report number 37709

Implementing knowledge strategies : lessons from international development agencies

April 2005

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This study synthesises existing research on knowledge and learning in the development sector, and draws out eight key questions for examining related strategies and systems in development agencies. Together, these questions make up a comprehensive Knowledge Strategies Framework, which brings together four 'dimensions': organisational knowledge, organisational links, organisational contexts, and external factors. The study then presents the analysis of data collected on current knowledge and learning practices in 13 selected case study organisations. It finds that organisational learning is most effective where it is defined and understood, and where it is linked to ongoing processes. It sets out questions and considerations for further investigation

Organisational learning in NGOs : creating the motive, means and opportunity

March 2005

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This paper explores the importance of organisational learning in NGOs drawing on examples gathered from interviews mainly with Northern NGO staff and from an extensive review of the literature. It examines NGOs' need to provide the motive, means and opportunity for organisational learning, introduces practical examples of how pioneering NGOs are doing this and suggests ways to combine these elements in planned and emergent organisational strategies for learning. The paper concludes that, although much has been written on the conceptual frameworks for organisational learning and knowledge management, learning and knowledge management are understood differently across cultures and contexts and that most current models are based on a Western understanding, presenting concerns about how to translate these theories into practice. There is therefore a need to engage with capacity building practitioners to explore innovative approaches which are relevant, appropriate and accessible across a wide range of cultures and contexts


Praxis Paper No. 3

Rising to the challenges : assessing the impacts of organisational capacity building

WRIGLEY, Rebecca
February 2005

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This paper “offers a brief overview of current thinking and practice in relation to the impact assessment of organisational capacity building interventions. The paper highlights some of the conceptual, methodological and practical challenges (issues of clarity, power and culture, among others) and then goes on to provide an overview of some of the practical approaches that have been adopted by NGOs and CSOs to overcome these challenges.   A ‘thought piece’ designed to engage practitioners (particularly those from developing and transitional countries) in a fruitful debate, it identifies the key challenges towards which INTRAC could most usefully focus its future efforts. These include the need to improve understanding of the particular characteristics of the impact assessment of organisational capacity building and to generate and document innovative, adaptable and accessible approaches. A final challenge is to consider how to raise the profile of impact assessment for organisational capacity building practitioners, so that it is viewed as a vital tool to assist organisational learning, rather than a time-consuming and costly burden”

Praxis Paper n°2

A tool for sharing internal best practices

D'ADAMO, Margaret
KOLS, Adrienne

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This publication is aimed at organisations willing to develop and implement effective mechanisms for strengthening organisational learning and sharing good practices internally. Includes a step-by-step process to help identify success stories, validate and document best practices, develop a strategic plan and adapt and apply best practices. It also presents three case studies of organisations that have attempted to share best practices, highlighting lessons learnt, problems encountered, and achievements. Includes a list of useful resources

Knowledge sharing toolkit : an evolving collection of practical knowledge sharing techniques

FAUL, Mark
December 2004

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This draft toolkit includes descriptions of four knowledge sharing techniques, and may soon expand to include more. The techniques described are after action reviews, retrospects, peer assists, and online communities. A brief section is devoted to each, including a short description of the technique, the benefits, a step-by-step guide to applying it, tips and cautions, a brief example, and some further resources

Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in development and humanitarian programmes

July 2004

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This book deals with the need to adapt mainstream development and humanitarian work to address the problem of HIV and AIDS. It explains the concept of 'mainstreaming' HIV/AIDS in simple language, with practical guidelines for applying the approach in a wide range of sectors. The author's previous book, 'AIDS on the Agenda: Adapting Development and Humanitarian Programmes to Meet the Challenge of HIV/AIDS', made the case for mainstreaming, using both theoretical discussion and experiences from the field. She has now adapted that work to produce this shorter and simpler book, to make the idea and practice of mainstreaming more accessible to those who actually do development and humanitarian work, as well as those who manage and fund it

Knowledge management and organisational learning : an international development perspective. An annotated bibliography

August 2003

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This annotated bibliography aims to review the current literature on knowledge management (KM) and organisational learning, particularly in relation to the international development field. It maps out the rationale and objectives of KM and learning in order to identify gaps and emerging themes of special interest to development actors and agencies. The specific characteristics and challenges of different types of organisations in the development field are reviewed in this paper. Most of the literature focuses on the knowledge needs of Northern and international NGOs, and some of the central authors in this field are highlighted. Some work also exists on KM and learning in relation to bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, and the World Bank as 'Knowledge Bank' has placed a new focus on knowledge issues. However, there is still a lack of literature on the knowledge needs and specific challenges of Southern institutions. A few of the studies that have been carried out are included in this bibliography, and the introduction draws out some of the issues they raise. Even less systematic work has been carried out on the specialised niche of research institutes and think-tanks within international development. A few gaps in the literature are identified: the first issue is whether KM and learning can increase the responsiveness of development institutions to the situation of the poor; the second is whether KM and learning can increase development organisations' impact on policy; the third question raised is whether KM and learning can improve the translation of development policy into practice; and the final question concerns Southern engagement in international development debates and decision-making processes



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