Learn4Dev 2014 Annual Meeting

From June 16 to 18, more than 40 people from 20 donor agencies and multilateral organisations which are member of learn4dev came together in Ljubljana, Slovenia for the 11th Annual Meeting of the network organized by the Center of Excellence in Finance (CEF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).  I attended the meeting as leader of the Expert Group on Capacity Development of the network and as representative of LenCD.

LenCD has been an observer in this competence development network for the last decade and has contributed in a variety of ways to the success of Learn4Dev, most recently through the development of the web-based Learning Package and online Training Course on Capacity Development. The Expert Group on Capacity Development, including members of LenCD and Learn4Dev, also created the Joint Learning Journey (JLJ) format.

The main objective of this year’s Annual Meeting was to highlight the value of the network in the rapidly changing international environment of development cooperation and to work together on a plan of action to confront new challenges for the forthcoming years.

There was a joint understanding among the development stakeholders that organisations should be better equipped to face these challenges. To achieve this, learning and knowledge sharing must be high on the post-2015 development agenda. Participants in the meeting put a strong emphasis on the importance of reinforcing the learning culture within their organisations and on the fact that developing learning capacities should be part of a strategic decision of each organisation. Learn4dev was seen as the perfect instrument and space to contribute to this achievement.

Apart from the need to work together on the topic of organisational learning, participants also underlined the importance of sharing experiences on the use of virtual learning tools. An action plan was agreed upon to make an inventory of online learning opportunities. The appointment of learn4dev focal points in each member organisation will in turn broaden the involvement of other departments and staff members in the network.

Having only one participant present coming directly from the field, the remark was also made that there might be a bias of the network towards the needs and concerns of the people at headquarters at the cost of the staff of the members working abroad and the partners.    

Even if the topic of capacity development was not the main focus of this years’ annual meeting, participants showed a great interest in the new initiatives that were taken up by LenCD and its members. The announced of a second run of the Online Course on capacity development was warmly welcomed as well as the e-learning course material on capacity development of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Further on the capacity development front the proposal was adopted that LenCD member organisations that are also active in Learn4Dev will form the core of the network's Capacity Development Expert Group. Delegates present at the meeting were asked to promote this joint venture within their organisations.

Next year's annual meeting in June 2015 will be hosted by the European Commission and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Glasgow, Scotland.

Bart Horemans is an International Technical Expert in Capacity Development with the Belgian Development Agency in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Read more blog posts from Bart at the BTC website.