Understanding and supporting networks: learning from theory and practice
Ben Ramalingam - ODI
Enrique Mendizabal - ODI
Simon Hearn - ODI
NGOs join them, researchers collaborate across them, civil society rallies around them, policy-makers are influenced by them and donors are funding them. Networks are a day-to-day reality and an important mode of working for almost all of in the aid sector. They are increasingly being used as a vehicle for delivering different kinds of development interventions, from policy influencing and knowledge generation to changing practices on the ground. But how often do we pause and reflect on what it means to engage in a network or think about how networks work – and how they could work better?
This webinar will present two papers by the Overseas Development Institute that challenge the current ubiquity of networks and offer ideas and reflections for those facilitating networks. Ben Ramalingam will present his paper: Mind the Network Gaps, in which he reviews the aid network literature and identfies theoretical lenses which could help advance thinking and practice.
Enrique Mendizabal and Simon Hearn will discuss a revised version of the Network Functions Approach and how it can be used to establish a clear mandate for a network; and hence avoid situations where networks are established without consideration of the costs involved.
Following the two presentations we will hear comments and discussion from two experts in the field; Rick Davies, an evaluation consultant and moderator of the mande.co.uk website, and Nancy White, a expert on communities of practice and online facilitation and author of the book: ‘Digital Habitats’.