Networking for Learning: The Human Face of Knowledge Management?
We know a lot more today than we used to about what works in development. In the face of the mounting clamour for accountability and for measuring the impact of development cooperation, evidence-based planning and ‘knowledge management’ have both received more attention in recent years. But simply documenting, managing and archiving the abundance of knowledge generated by development partners and stakeholders is not enough. Nor is investing in hardware and software in a dehumanised context. Knowledge and evidence need to be contextualised, enriched, interpreted, debated and disputed – ‘set free’, if you like – in order for learning to occur among a multitude of stakeholders with divergent interests and world views. One way of doing this is by networking. This, in turn, may or may not foster complex processes of social change and development. Can we therefore say that networking is the human face of knowledge management? And that this human face is the link between static evidence and knowledge, between knowledge and collective learning, and between collective learning and social change? If so, what do we know about what works, what does not work and what could work when it comes to networking? This brief is intended to contribute to the debate on networking for learning by exploring its potentials and limitations. It draws substantially on discussions and resource materials shared through the Pelican Initiative, as well as other literature and practical examples, and seeks to identify some entry points into this field for policy-makers and development practitioners. Read Policy Management Brief 18