The Asian Development Bank has recently released “Guidelines for Knowledge Partnerships”, a report prepared by Heather Creech of IISD and myself. This is a major step forward in our thinking on how to set up and manage partnerships that are primarily for the purposes of the generation and exchange of knowledge. We built the guidelines around the OECD DAC criteria for evaluation (Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact and Sustainability), together with identifying building blocks and success factors.
We hope those of you currently working with partners, or building more formal networks and consortia of organizations will find these guidelines helpful.
You can download the guidelines on IISD’s website http://www.iisd.org/networks/manage/default.asp or from ADB: http://adb.org/documents/guidelines/knowledge-partnerships/default.asp
Dining for Women in Rossland Visual Brainstorm by Michelle Laurie
This post is to share two great things:
1. Dining for Women is a group that originated in the US to support and empower women in developing countries. Instead of going out for dinner to a restaurant, women get together for a potluck and donate the money they would have spent otherwise to a common charity. Chapters have popped up across the US and one night of small dinner potlucks in many locations can raise over $20,000.00/month. Groups are researched by the organization and a different cause is supported each month. The organizers also provide background material to the local chapters, including a short video and country facts to help provide context for the dinner discussion. Dining for Women speaks to me for many reasons. Here are a few things it illustrates:
- The power of the collective.
- Every person can contribute.
- Scaling up can have real impact and is worth the effort.
- Great ideas are easy to spread.
- Planning support (through materials, discussion ideas) is helpful to stimulate meaningful conversations.
2. Visual Thinking and Visual Recording. I have been engaging in graphic facilitation slowly over the past few years however after hosting a 2 day workshop on the topic with Nancy White as the facilitator, I am keen to really practice and use visual methods in my work. Nancy’s advice during the workshop was to take visual notes during regular meetings, look for icons and when given the opportunity simply get up and try. I had hoped at the Dining for Women gathering in Rossland, we could use a blank wall to help people share their thoughts. Given the busy evening with many activities taking place, the wall was still blank when everyone left. Days later I decided to record my impression of Dining for Women in Rossland. The visual is above and this is what I was hoping to express:
- Four themes of Dining for Women that took place during the past year.
- Rossland is the first Canadian chapter of Dining for Women.
- Dining for Women is rooted in supporting the Millennium Development Goals.
- Reasons why women in Rossland are excited about participating.
- Some of the topics and themes we discuss at our potluck dinners.
Hosting meaningful conversations supported by meaningful visuals is something I am striving for in my work. For now, I will keep practicing at the wall and in my notebook and the next Dining for Women is at the end of the month…
Last night I had the honour to listen to David Suzuki, one of Canada’s national heros, in Castlegar, B.C., Canada as part of the Mir Center for Peace Lecture Series. He is an inspiring and passionate speaker on the environment. It is clear why we have all been glued to his TV shows, such as CBC’s The Nature of Things, since the 1970’s. Dr. Suzuki reflected on being an elder (i.e. 74 yrs old), and that the questions haven’t changed much over the years. These questions include: Who are we? How did we get here? and What’s it all about?
The lecture summarized some key points on the need to recognize the basics of life, biodiversity and role of the human brain in getting us to where we are today. He wholeheartedly emphasized the need to put the eco (house) back into economics and start valuing the very elements in this world we need to survive. He challenged us to see the world as it really is, to slow down, and reimagine the future.
While I respect this man and all he has done to communicate environmental issues to the public, I found his talk lacking on some key points, namely that of equity. Firstly, the lecture focused on the footprint that 6.8 billion people have on the world. This aggregate number misses the point that most of the population is living in poverty and that the impact is our responsibility as North American/Western consumers. Secondly, he spoke of the need to limit growth. Again, there are many countries in this world that need growth while others need to question their growth, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The rights of less developed countries to develop should be recognized. Thirdly, Dr. Suzuki challenged us to see the world as it really is, i.e. a tree can be lumber or a tree can be the lungs of the earth. He was referring to the latter. My question is who decides the definition? In a globalized world, we need to respect the rights of local people and hence poor people often see resources differently than we do (i.e. that tree is shelter, energy, medicine and food). Sustainable use is a more equitable option than preservation in many cases.
Suzuki focused on his world view, a deep green view in which we are all animals. My take on the situation is slightly more pragmatic. It’s not a one-sized fits all for the planet. Biodiversity is key, including human diversity. This means there will be trade offs and everyone will have to give a little, some will need to give more and take less. We are fortunate here in Western Canada. We need to expand our world view beyond the geography in our backyard and support efforts for others in the world to gain access to their land, resources and rights to an income. Recognizing the needs of poor people and the planet will hopefully lead to a healthier planet for all. With a captive audience at the Mir Center, Suzuki missed an opportunity to provide the fuller picture of our global dilemma.