I am just back from amazing holiday in Ethiopia – a country so rightly desperate to attract more tourists and shed once and for all its image of drought & famine-ridden block of sadness. The whole of last month was therefore genuinely amazing and totally distracting for my blog routine, if I can still talk of such a thing as a routine.
Anyway after more than a month I can also reflect about the recent KM4DEV 2009 event (see the documentation of the event), which is usually one of my highlights of every year. This year didn’t fail to be, even though for a host of reasons I was not as deeply into it.
What I could observe though:
– The community is growing. despite crisis and travel budget crunch. Over 85 people made it this year and on the Ning site there are – as we speak – 746 members. And at the event easily over 70% of the participants had joined only in the last year;
– The community is also expanding down to various sub-groups. Was it really an unconscious choice for this year’s event to focus on various sub-sectors (health, agriculture, water etc.)? And what about the recent KM4D journal issue on learning in the water sector, or the current exploration of various sub-geographic groups (the Rome club, The Hague KM4DEV, Washington KM4DC, and the very recent request on the mailing list for a KM4DEV in Egypt…)?
– Finally on the side line, there is perhaps a higher turnover among core group members. Perhaps this is actually stable and I am just noticing it as more people I know are slightly stepping down and others are joining – which is a healthy sign after all;
What this says to me: the community is going through a major shift in scale, bearing implications on the identity, unconscious choice of topics and up to governance (or stewarding, or gardening). Is the group now too big to keep focusing on cross-cutting issues of knowledge sharing and learning and should it not start looking into more specific challenges in more specific (thematic and geographic) contexts?
It is difficult to tell what direction this will go but this is always an interesting and opportunistic moment for any community to reinvent itself and take advantage of its (more) critical mass. So while I will try and continue blogging (perhaps with more than one this week), I look forward to the next months and for my part I will certainly try and play a bridging role between the SAGE group and the global KM4DEV community.