Archive for category partnership
In the last meeting on 24th April, 2012, the Board of the Dgroups Foundation elected its new Chairman.
The outgoing Chair, Caroline Figuères (IICD) has been the first ever chair of the Dgroups Foundation after this has been established in 2009. In her words, the past three years as Chair of Dgroups have been “a challenging but also rewarding experience.” Above all, according to Caroline, it has been very rewarding to see the commitment of people involved in Dgroups, in its Board as well as amongst partners and users at large. The main regret she has is that “we are not as far as we were expecting” as some of the objectives indicated in the Business Plan could not be met. However, she remains confident that the Dgroups Board and members will continue the good work that has been put in place over these past years.
[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/gZUZgva7AgI?p=1 width=”596″ height=”334″]
As new Chairman, the rest of the Board members nominated Neil Pakenham Walsh, representing INASP. Neil has been involved in international development for the past 20 years. He is the coordinator of HIFA2015 and until recently he has been working at INASP. In the video below, he reflects on the vision and mission of Dgroups.
Dgroups aims to improve communication for development (C4D) and it can do so from its unique role. Indeed, Dgroups is a unique partnership of diverse development organisations that can play a crucial role in improving connections amongst communities of practice globally.
According to Neil, fragmentation is a real threat in communication for development and Dgroups can make a difference in this area. As a new Chairman of the Board, Neil is very much looking forward to carrying up his role and working with others to improve communication for development.
[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/gZUZgva7GwI?p=1 width=”596″ height=”334″]
We would like to take this opportunity to thank once again Caroline for her guidance and contribution over the years – and to wish Neil best of luck as new Chairman of the Dgroups Board.
On April 24th, 2012 a meeting was held in The Hague to review the progress and future of Dgroups. The meeting brought together all Dgroups board members and Damir Simunic, director of WA Research, which has provided the technical platform for Dgroups for the past 2 years and has led the redesign of next Dgroups.
Participants moved from a common definition of what Dgroups is and what it stands for. As the tagline in the logo suggests, Dgroups is about development through dialogue. Our vision is a world where communication for development is accessible to all and has maximal positive impact on international development.
The main part of this face to face meeting was dedicated to explore Dgroups’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – and the actions to take forward. As some of the Board members said, the meeting was very constructive and useful.
From discussion that emerged from the SWOT analysis, it become clear that the first and most obvious strength to leverage upon is the Dgroups partnership, the group of development organisations that support this initiative. So what efforts should be taken to maximise this strength and to make sure that Dgroups partners become also active ambassadors and contribute to the further enlargement of the membership base, and therefore the financial sustainability of Dgroups itself? The ideas that were discussed included:
- Redesigning of the Dgroups home page at dgroups.org and the landing pages at individual group level;
- Publicizing the openness of existing discussion groups;
- Putting more effort in networking and communicating with existing and potential partners, in order to increase the membership base and ensure the financial sustainability of Dgroups;
- Working on Dgroups branding and effective online presence that reflects this brand;
- Making more use of the Dgroups blog to showcase how Dgroups is put at work in different contexts and for different purposes;
- Defining and communicating to Dgroups members the advantages of the cost-sharing strategy which underpins Dgroups existence.
Some of these actions are already in motion.
Weaknesses included a lack of a marketing strategy to engage new Dgroups partners, and the Board will take new measures to promote Dgroups and enlarge the partnership. Related to this is the opportunity to reach out to new partners in the South.
A threat is that current budget cuts in the development sector are forcing partners to reevaluate their budgets. But this can also be seen as a good investment by current and future Dgroups partners, as it offers a flexible tool for communication, designed particularly for low bandwidth, that can complement and in some cases replace the need for expensive, face to face meetings.
We also discussed progress on the development of the next Dgroups platform and a number of outstanding functionality issues, including the redesign of the Dgroups homepage and landing page of individual groups; the completion of the users’ interface in the different languages that Dgroups supports; the possibility for groups administrators to edit the email footer for each community; improved statistics at group level.
We shall work together with WA Research to solve these issues by the end of June 2012.
The Dgroups membership met last week in Rome during the Rome 2011 Share Fair for the 2011 Partners meeting. This was the first face to face meeting of the Dgroups partners since 2009, when we met in The Hague just after the Foundation was created and the migration of the platform to WA-Research was completed.
The meeting was well attended, with half of the Dgroups partners participating and actively engaging in the discussion on Dgroups present, its value and concrete plans for future activity and development.
In the first part of the meeting, Hapee de Groot and Rob Witte from the Dgroups Board reported on 2010 activities and finances. In the discussion that followed, Dgroups partners addressed the issue of how to enlarge the membership and market Dgroups amongst development organisations. Dgroups remains a unique initiative in development cooperation, partly because it is email based and so is suitable for those still numerous areas where Internet access is expensive and unreliable, but partly because we are independent and so not subject to the same regulations and constraints as Google and other commercial platforms based in the US. These factors, together with the current site redesign and the budget available for further technical development, will definitely help promoting Dgroups in the months to come.
As part of the business meeting, Dgroups members also agreed to enlarge the Board to 6 members and confirmed the nomination of 3 new Board members . This was also the chance to thank outgoing Board members Riff Fullan (Helvetas) and Maarten Boers (who stepped down last April) for serving as Board members in the first elected Board of the Dgroups Foundation and for their great contributions.
In the second part of the meeting Dgroups members had the opportunity to meet with Damir Simunic of WA-Researchto discuss updates and plans related to the Dgroups platform. The site redesign is almost complete and some existing groups have been already migrated to the new version. There are still some bugs currently being fixed and some more groups will be migrated in the next month to further assess if the platform is robust enough to proceed with the full migration. On the basis of the feedback and information received, the Board will decide on a date when the complete migration can be started.
In the last part of the meeting, Dgroups partners looked into Dgroups futures. The session was designed to combine and adapt two facilitation methodologies – appreciative enquiry and ‘future backwards’. In two groups, participants listed Dgroups assets, then they shared and combined them. From this basis, the two groups defined a ‘nightmare’ and a ‘dream’ scenario for Dgroups 2 years from now. Finally, they described the steps that lead to each scenario and reflected on what can be done to influence the path – focusing on immediate, medium and longer term actions.
The complete report of the meeting is currently being drafted and will be circulated to members soon in the coming days.
During the 2011 Dgroups Partners meeting that took place in Rome on 27 September 2011, the partnership council nominated 3 new members to the Dgroups Partnership Board:
- Giacomo Rambaldi, from CTA
- Kristin Kolshus, from FAO
- Neil Pakenham Walsh, on behalf of INASP
As of September 2011, the Dgroups partnership welcomes the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) as new Dgroups member.
RWSN is global knowledge network for rural water supply technologies and approaches. As it reads on their website:
RWSN focuses its work in specific areas where it believes it can make a significant contribution.
RWSN’s aims to:
- Maximise impact of investment through application of cost-effective technologies
- Reduce well drilling costs through improved drilling operations
- Improve sustainability of supply chains
- Mobilise additional resources, by supporting self-supply solutions at household level water supply facilities
- Standardise handpumps with appropriate selection, procurement and simplified maintenance
- Dissemination of Knowledge – equitable sharing of lessons learned, best practices and latest development in technologies
The 2011 Dgroups partners meeting will take place in Rome on 27 September 2011 in the context of the Second Global AgriKnowledge Share Fair.
The Share Fair will be an exciting and “out-of-the-box” event, offering participants creative and innovative learning and sharing opportunities, and equipping them with tools to better influence future rural development activities. We are glad that the Dgroups partners meeting can be held during this international gathering as this will provide Dgroups members with excellent opportunities for networking and learning.
A draft agenda for the Dgroups partners meeting is available on the Dgroups wiki. The participation and active engagement of current Dgroups members – as well as potential partners and interested organisations – is key to the success of the partners meeting and the discussion on the future development of Dgroups.
Besides the partners meeting, Dgroups will also organise a technical session during Day 0 of the Share Fair on 26 September 2011, which is dedicated to collaboration technologies and knowledge sharing tools and methods. This will be a perfect occasion for Dgroups members and users to participate in a hands on, practical session on the new platform about to be released and already available in beta version at http://next.dgroups.org.
Dgroups members and users that plan to attend the training session and the 2011 Partners meeting should register using the Share Fair registration form.
More updates on the programme of the 2011 Dgroups Partners meeting will be available in the coming days and the final agenda for the meeting will be circulated by the end of August 2011.
As agreed by the Dgroups Board, the 2010 Dgroups partners meeting will be held on line in the week beginning 29 November 2010. It will consist of a series of online conversations, through emails and other e-tools, where Dgroups members will have the opportunity to discuss and interact with each other, with the Board of the Foundation and the hosting technical platform, and address issues related to the Dgroups partnership and platform.
Being this a virtual meeting, we envisage a process that run across several days, with a combination of synchronous as well as asynchronous conversations supported by different electronic tools. In particular, we envisage the following process:
- by Thursday 25th November 2010, we will be circulating and make available through the DG-Partners list the different documents that will have to be approved and discussed;
- between Friday 26th and Tuesday 30th November Dgroups member will have the opportunity to comment and discuss on the documentation circulated through an email based discussion on the DG-Partners list;
- on Monday 29th (5pm to 6pm) and Tuesday 30th November (9am to 10am) the Dgroups members will be able to preview the new Dgroups platform in 2 live sessions of one hour each with Damir Simunic of WA-Research
- on Wednesday 1st (9am to 10am) and Thursday 2nd December (5pm to 6pm) there will be 2 live sessions of one hour each where the Dgroups members will have the chance to discuss with representatives of the Dgroups Board.
We’ll be using a series of different online tools. In particular, we’ll make use of the following:
- DG-Partners dgroups for email based discussion
- Dgroupshelp wiki for sharing of the documentations and collecting relevant feedback
- Dgroups blog, to communicate and engage with a wider audience in the discussion
- AT&T connect for the live sessions both on platform and partnership – details will follow
We welcome the participation of representative of Dgroups members organisations, potential members and interested organisations and dgroups users.
Stay tuned here for further updates in the coming days!