How Wide are the Ripples?

Report of the March 2010 workshop Prepared by Louise Clark, Kate Newman and Hannah Beardon

“This report presents reflections from a workshop held in London on 18th and 19th March 2010. The workshop was part of a larger process of reflection and research, supported by IKM Emergent and called ‘How Wide Are the Ripples?’. The process explored how international development NGOs use and manage the information, knowledge and perspectives generated through the participatory processes they initiate or fund. The initial research and report built on a literature review and case studies from five international NGOs (ActionAid, Concern, Healthlink, Panos and Plan), identifying challenges and opportunities to good bottom-up information and learning flows. The workshop invited participants from the original research and others working on and around these issues to reflect further on the challenges and discuss practical solutions based on their own experiences.

Participants came from a mix of large international development NGOs, smaller organisations and included independent consultants . The variety of organisations was not only evident in their size, but also in their different structures and relationships with grassroots processes and organisations, a recurring theme throughout the discussions. The expectation, and commitment from the participants, was that these discussions and experiences would feed into a guest-edited edition of the IIED journal Participatory Learning and Action (PLA), in June 2011. The workshop was therefore organised around two main goals: improving the practice of international development NGOs in relation to information generated through participatory processes, through workshop discussions and by developing a network for support and sharing ideas; and promoting further reflection and learning around specific issues, in particular through developing articles for the edition of PLA.”

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