Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Planning the Global Action Learning Initiative

This week most of my time was dedicated to the planning of the Global Action Learning Initiative (GALI) that Wageningen International has started in collaboration with the Generative Change Community (GCC). The core team of the GCC and their main funder visited us at Wageningen International and we had meetings about the main way forward for the initiative.

The idea of GALI is to support a critical mass of multi-stakeholder change processes in various fields, sectors and continents and to guide action learning around them. The purpose is to make these MSPs more effective, to strengthen the understanding (& innovation) of and capacity for MSP facilitation and to create more commitment to MSPs globally. The initiative responds to the urgent fact that many current development issues require participatory processes that bring together actors from different sectors and at different scales. These involve dialogue processes to foster trust and learning among partners, with joint analysis, decision-making and planning. The alternative to a participatory multi-stakeholder approach to development issues is an autocratic and top-down approach, an unfavourable direction.

The GALI concept and process builds on a number of events and contacts of Wageningen International and the GCC. Partners that have shown commitment or serious interest to further the initiative include UNDP, Asian Institute of Management, DGIS, SNV and ICCO.

For me the initiative is relatively new, since I only joined Wageningen International in March. It was very good to get to know the team of GCC much better and to deepen my understanding of the initiative. This work is closely linked to some of my other current activities such as my contributions to a new publication on Multi-stakeholder processes, the collection of a number of MSP examples and the capacity development on MSPs of SNV Uganda. The publication on MSPs will provide more theoretical foundations for MSPs; the collection of MSP examples may include new MSP Action learning sites and; the work with SNV Uganda already includes elements of action learning on MSPs that could grow into a solid action learning site in the future.

When working on the GALI idea together with the GCC we realised that much of the complexity of MSPs also applies to our own collaboration. We needed to build trust and understanding between Wageningen International and GCC about the concepts we pursue in GALI, the expectations, roles and responsibilities and joint planning.

It has been a very intensive three days with a steep learning curve for me. I have become close to our friends of the GCC and we all feel GALI is definitely worth putting the needed time and energy in to take the initiative to another level. We will strengthen the ties between the GALI partners to consolidate the core group of interesting organisations, pursue the funding opportunities for the initiative and begin work with the learning sites as they start to unfold.

Below are some videos that I shot about GALI, its importance, the essence of capacity development in it and what an action learning site can look at.

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