Community of Practice Moderators Gather at Summit
Fifteen moderators and other MEASURE Evaluation staff members gathered for the fifth Community of Practice Moderators’ Summit during October 2013. The annual event brings together community-of-practice moderators—who support 13 diverse networks of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practitioners—to share what their communities have accomplished and learn what other communities are undertaking. These networks have a cumulative total of almost 8,000 members worldwide.
Communities of practice provide a platform for M&E professionals to share ideas, information, and resources on a variety of topics, from conducting health facility assessments to improving data use in decision making.
During the two-day event, moderators discussed their communities’ activities over the previous year and how they facilitated more peer exchange using various communication platforms.
Examples of accomplishments included how the Monitoring and Evaluation Experiences Together (MEET) community of practice transitioned from a listserv to a more interactive online forum where members could engage with each other; 300 new members joined the MEASURE Evaluation PIMA Associate Award community of practice over a seven-month period in 2013; and the Creating Enabling Environments for M&E (CEEME) community of practice established a formal registration process, growing to 200 members.
Yadira Almodóvar-Díaz moderates CEEME, which started in 2012 to provide a platform for M&E staff, agencies, and partners to share approaches, tools, and other resources on a wide range of organizational capacity building areas. CEEME also supports and facilitates its users’ teamwork and overall M&E performance.
Almodóvar-Díaz, a portfolio manager with Management Sciences for Health, said that attending the Summit was very insightful. As the moderator of a fledgling community of practice, she said she has learned how other communities evolved and are dealing with some of the challenges they face, such as how to promote and sustain membership engagement and active participation. She also said attending the in-person Summit was invaluable for building relationships with other moderators: “There is no replacement for that personal interaction and having the opportunity of meeting face-to-face to discuss important aspects of our role and responsibilities as moderators and other elements regarding the different communities of practice.”
The event also hosted guest speaker Stan Garfield, a leader in knowledge management and community development with Deloitte LLC, a financial services company, who joined the meeting via a remote connection. Roundtable discussions centered on skills building in such areas as the use of social media, webinar planning and execution, and applying a social-science approach to improve participation.
Leah Gordon and John Nicholson of MEASURE Evaluation co-facilitated the Summit, which was held October 10-11, 2013, in Chapel Hill, NC, USA, where MEASURE Evaluation is based. To help the communities of practice expand and function long term, the 2013 Summit focused on how communities can be sustained in the absence of direct support from MEASURE Evaluation, and documenting work so other communities and outside organizations can learn from the MEASURE Evaluation experience.