Managing “le savoir”

The date is set: 5 October 2009, in back to back with the annual KM4DEV event, the first cobbles on the road to a francophone community of practice on learning for development will be paved, in Brussels the modern Babel tower!

The objectives are two-fold:
– to introduce the IKM Emergent discourse in the francophone arena;
– to explore the possibilities of developing a community of practice on learning for development.

There are a few very interesting aspects around this double bill:
– a francophone community of practice could potentially emerge out of the discussion, even though the ever shardy question of funding remains unclear so far;
– it will be an excellent opportunity to explore the discourse around learning and KM among francophones and finding out how the francophone and anglophone communities could complement each other – discussing different topics in different ways – and establish bridges between them;
– the meetings will take place around the km4dev event which will likely explore the issues of learning and collaboration in various sectors (water, health, agriculture etc.) when a recent water sector learning discussion group was set up recently, including various francophones, and after a fifth World Water Forum where IRC had many contacts with particularly French water sector organisations concerned with learning and knowledge management, particularly OIEau and ONEMA.

The question for me a) what is really driving the francophone learning agenda (if there is such a thing in the first place) and b) whether francophones and anglophones can indeed have meaningful group discussions. I obviously think it’s important and necessary but our work in West Africa shows that it is a real challenge to stimulate learning and sharing across languages – perhaps for other reasons in that region though. As for the first question, it comes from a lot of doubts I have had regarding the way quite a few francophones seem to frame the concepts of learning and knowledge management. A discussion that took place in 2007 about this on the KM4DEV mailing list is briefly referred to in Julie Ferguson et. al.’s meta review and scoping study of knowledge management for development (See pp. 28 and beyond).

Multiple knowledges, multiple languages: cacophony or symphony?
Multiple knowledges, multiple languages: cacophony or symphony?

At any rate, I cannot wait to start this and hope that the results will exceed my expectations. With a Spanish-speaking community of practice in shaping in the KM4DEV community too, the ‘multiple knowledges’ that form the red thread of the IKM emergent programme are all coming to the fore: symphony or cacophony?

If you want to join the reflection about setting up a francophone community of practice or wish to join the discussions in October, simply let me know or register and leave your details on:

Published by Ewen Le Borgne

Collaboration and change process optimist motivated by ‘Fun, focus and feedback’. Nearly 20 years of experience in group facilitation and collaboration, learning and Knowledge Management, communication, innovation and change in development cooperation. Be the change you want to see, help others be their own version of the same.

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