March 13, 2014―The Learning from Megadisasters Community of Practice on the World Bank’s Collab4Dev Space now has more than 1,000 followers. We spoke to Rasha Rayes, the Community Manager, and to Federica Ranghieri, Sr. Urban Specialist working on the Learning from Megadisasters project.
Q. How did the Megadisasters Community of Practice get started? What was the rationale for it?
Federica: Learning from Megadisasters is a knowledge-sharing project that has the objective of sharing Japan’s knowledge on DRM and post-disaster reconstruction with countries vulnerable to disasters. The project has deployed some of WBI's cutting-edge technologies and tools for learning, in an integrated way. Sample deployments include the Global Development Learning Network, a web-based community of practice, and the piloting of Capacity Building programs in many countries around the world.
Q. How fast did it grow - Is 1,000 followers unusual for a CoP?
Federica: Learning from Megadisasters Community of Practice (CoP) was launched during the World Bank Annual meeting in Japan on October 14, 2012. We are growing slowly, yet steadily and were able to attract experts in the DRM field and to maintain high level of members’ involvement & participation.
Q. Who are your followers?
Federica: The CoP’s membership is open for all DRM experts and practitioners all over the world. Our members are affiliated with Government, Academia/Research Institutes, local and International NGOs, United Nations, Multinational Corporation (MNC), Foundations, and Development Agencies.
Q. Where are they located?
Rasha: As of June 2013, experts from more than 78 countries, joined the community. We are conducting a new SurveyMonkey this month, and results will be announced in April. Members are located in the following regions and countries:
North America: USA, Canada, and Mexico.
Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Korea, China , Bangladesh, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Mongolia, Thailand, and Nepal
Europe: Italy, UK, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Scotland, Netherlands, Portugal, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Moldova, Russia , Croatia, and Belgium
Central America and the Caribbean: Haiti, Costa Rica, El Salvador , Nicaragua, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Martinique, Bermuda, Belize, Nicaragua, Jamaica , and Honduras
South America: Argentina, Guyana, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia
Middle East & North Africa: Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Iran and Morocco
Australia and Oceania: Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, and Solomon Islands
Sub-Saharan Africa: Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Ethiopia, Senegal, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mali, Guinea, and Ghana
Q. What's your top question or issue for the CoP?
Rasha: How to maintain a relationship of trust, mutual respect and commitment with our members? What collaboration tools should we use to involve members and to create a “sense of place” in their minds?
We are growing slowly, yet steadily and were able to attract experts in the DRM field and to maintain high level of members’ involvement & participation.
Federica Ranghieri, Sr. Urban Specialist
A continuous improvement process is central to the Learning from Megadisasters CoP’s philosophy: Platform design, contents, and responsiveness to members’ needs are tested often, through formal assessment (using the Survey Monkey software) and through members’ interactions with the coordinators. Minor changes (not affecting the full design) are constantly made, even important changes have been done (new design of the homepage).
Q. What was the most interesting discussion in the CoP?
Rasha: In March 2013, Learning from Megadisasters Community of Practice won an award as the best “Collaboration 4 Development” (C4D) community of practice. Member engagement was identified as the leading “key to success.”
All of the discussions were very successful, and members actively participated in all of them. One point we keep in mind that our community’s activities should have enough variety that all members feel they can participate.