The past year was busy as the Foundation and partners continued operating in mostly virtual modes where effective online interactions were a priority. Below we provide a flavour of the collaborations we worked on; we also worked behind the scenes to strengthen the Foundation’s operations – check out the ABCD of Dgroups that introduces what we do.

The highlights for the year are really the exciting events we ran; the productive online dialogues we supported; the ‘stories’ we captured; the interesting people we have interacted with and learned from.

We put more effort into documenting better what we do – so go ahead and read a summary of our 2021 activities below here. Or if you want to see all individual posts, head over to the archive page for last year.

Adding Value Online

Our first event took place in January 2021 with the Dgroups Partners Dialogue on Adding Value Online. This event built on the various dialogues and interactions we had in 2020 that resulted in this brief with lessons for more effective online collaboration, dialogue and interaction, focusing on what works in international development.

During the event, we heard from 4 Dgroups Partners how communities of practice and online collaboration provide value for their organization or initiative and their members:

  • Rocio Sanz from the KM4Dev community provided a brief history and background of KM4Dev. She then talked about the KM4Dev monthly Knowledge Cafés and how they have been instrumental in growing and strengthening the community.
  • Jana Dietershagen took us on a quick journey through the Pacific, talking about a four-year project on promoting nutritious food systems in the Pacific islands. A significant part of the project was to create a multi-stakeholder community and platform and to facilitate online and offline discussions and that would provide networking opportunities and strengthen the trust among the participants.
  • Tarini Ross presented how Charter4Change (C4C) has been using email based discussion groups to facilitate and enable its work and the collaboration amongst its members.
  • Ilaria Urbani shared how IFAD has been setting up and supporting online communities and networks to develop, capture, curate and share knowledge, especially by building on the collective knowledge of members.

In the second part of the event, we had the pleasure to hear from Ewen LeBorgne, who presented how Liberating Structures (LS) can be used to unleash participation and collaboration in online meetings and events. He also described what advantages Liberating Structures bring to our practice, regardless of the type of meeting and events.

Improving capacities of groups, communities, and networks

In the spring and summer of 2021, we facilitated three learning sessions to improve online collaboration capacities of groups, communities and networks. Two short briefings were held for IFAD and KM4Dev group members and one for dgroups.io group moderators and administrators. 

More capacity briefing and training sessions will be organized in 2022. If you are interested in planning a session with us, or want to know more about how the Dgroups Foundation can support the design, set up and run effective online groups, communities, dialogues or events, please get in touch with us!

‘Community connector ‘ – a public directory of online groups and communities

In October 2021, we launched the first version of the ‘community connector‘ – a public, searchable database and directory of online groups and communities in the development and humanitarian sector working towards shared sustainable development goals. Have a look at the initial set of online groups and communities in the Community connector.

We would like to keep improving and expanding the connector, and see how we can further develop it so that it’s more than a directory. If you’re interested in working together to continue developing the community connector, use this form to suggest other communities that we should add. Or reach out to us to discuss how we could improve and expand on the existing functionality.

In October 2021, we convened an online partnership dialogue to look back and forward, exploring how online collaboration in the development sector might evolve and actions we can take to prepare for the changes.

  • In the opening chat show moderated by Peter Ballantyne, we heard how Louise Clarke, Steve Agbenyo, Ivan Kulis, and Nawsheen Hosenally got started with online collaboration. Together we reflected on the changes, challenges, and successes we have experienced – where were we, where are we now, what are our predictions for the future.
  • Next, in a conversation with Nancy White, we looked to the future and discussed the notion of critical uncertainties – and how to navigate them for better collaboration and more effective international development.
  • During the closing fishbowl moderated by Saskia Harmsen, Giacomo Rambaldi, Hannah Kabelka, Neil Pakenham-Walsh, and Tarini Ross reflected on the meeting, the issues that emerged, and the main takeaways.

Shaping digital agricultural capacities – a D4Ag online dialogue

Close to the end of the year, we partnered with the Digital Agri Hub to support and facilitate an online dialogue on shaping digital agricultural capacities. This dialogue aimed to identify capacity gaps, opportunities, priority needs and best-bet learning solutions for people and organizations working with digital agriculture.  The dialogue was organised with a mix of ‘live’ online events (a kickoff and closing webinar) and a facilitated and moderated email-based discussion. Overall, between the webinars and the e-discussion, the dialogue involved 194 unique participants from 58 different countries and territories. Talk to us to explore how we can support your online dialogue or event.

Looking forward

We are keen to continue and expand the work we do – by bringing on board new projects, working with new partners, and new associates. Some activities are already well underway. 

Are you interested in what the Dgroups Foundation could do for you? Would you like to learn more about the projects we are involved in, and the type of support we provide? Do you see potential to partner and collaborate together? Do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to working with you in 2022!

Join us online: on the web; on Twitter; on LinkedIn; on YouTube; in one of our communities.