ComPart: Communication with and amongst Partners – Knowledge management and social media in international development cooperation

Project title:
Name of organisation: Euforic Association (European Forum for International Cooperation), assigned by ICCO Cooperation
Team leader: Peter Ballantyne
Position: Knowledge Management, International Development Cooperation and Social Media Consultant
Start date: 2008-10-01
End date: 2009-08-31

For the ComPart project I worked as a knowledge management consultant in a (virtual) team of consultants at ICCO Cooperation’s head office in Utrecht, the Netherlands.  Users were reluctant to make use of newly introduced tools. My role involved fostering a culture of learning and stimulating the use of available ICT tools by policy makers and development practitioners. In the six months after I was put on the project the use of on-line tools increased substantially. 

This ComPart project was a groundbreaking web2.0 project. Much of the input made in the project has been moved to the digital ICCO portal, developed by ICCO’s ICT department. The interactive digital library is currently still used to share publications. 

Recommendation Gerrit Visser (Information Advisor at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands): 

'Stephanie and I gave support to the implementation of the ComPart tools, a groundbreaking web 2.0 project at ICCO. Stephanie inspired me in the facilitation of hands on support to future bloggers, Pbwiki users and Delicious practitioners. I gladly recommand Stephanie for your project in development cooperation. Stephanie has a lot of experience and state of the art knowledge.
An outsider, reflects on the ComPart project on the Milestones for a New Millennium blog in 2009 : ‘Their system is impressive and should be a model for other collaborative progressive efforts on the Internet’. The interactive digital library has been moved and is no longer publicly available. We developed it and encouraged its use for sharing knowledge, research and publications. The ICCO Alliance learning blog was developed to share knowledge and for learning purposes. The information that was available on a large openly accessible platform have largely been transferred to the more recently developed ICCO portal. This includes information of the ComPart wiki’s. The image below shows a ‘mindmap’ I made of the ComPart project.' The original image is no longer hosted online. 

Mindmap of the ‘ComPart wiki garden’; a visualisation of the different wikis in the ComPart project. By Stephanie Zwier. 

The Compart methodology is described below (from ComPart flyer), 

We live in an increasingly ‘networked’ development world, where information, knowledge, and relationships are critical aspects of more effective development efforts. Our organizations are adjusting and adapting to become ‘global learning networks’; as individuals, we are asked to take on a broader range of roles and tasks become active participants in knowledge co-creation, sharing and use. 

Taking advantage of emerging opportunities in this area calls for use to develop and use a different communication ‘toolset’ in our work; we also need to change the ways we work, adopting a ‘mindset’ that favours more open learning and sharing. 

ComPart (Communication with and among Partners) is an initiative of the ICCO Alliance. By enabling more effective knowledge sharing and exchange, it aims to support ongoing strategic changes in the Alliance members – and the way in which they and their staff collaborate with a wider group of partners worldwide. It also offers a set of tools and processes that individuals and teams may use to optimize the effectiveness of their work. ComPart is based on the recognition that our collective knowledge is one of our primary assets, and that sharing and putting this asset to use is at the core of the existence of our organizations. 

ComPart activities are driven by two primary issues: 

1. How to put the accumulated knowledge of staff and partners to use. 
Too much is insufficiently documented, remains hidden, and is unable to travel where it is needed; 

2. How to grasp the opportunities offered by emerging virtual ways of working and communicating and the emergence of new, more accessible, Internet applications. We need to be much smarter and intelligent in the ways we create, share and use information and knowledge. 

The Euforic association, ceased to exist by the end of 2009. Two consultants of this association founded Euforic Services in the UK in 2009. 

The tools we were using within ComPart are among others: PBworks, Dgroups, Blogger, various Google applications, Delicious, Ning, Conduit, AT&T-connect, Flickr, Slideshare, Etherpad, etc.

During this project I actively contributed to mainstreaming gender and health issues in all programs.

An article that provides more background information on the context of the context in which this project was carried out:

Reinventing international NGOs -the case of ICCO

by Willem Elbers and Lau Schulpen 

The following book describes the Compart project (in Dutch):

'En nu online... Sociale media voor professionals, organisaties en trainers'

by Joitske Hulsebosch, Sibrenne Wagenaar


Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands / Home-Based
Value: 266 million Euros
Description of value: ICCO Alliance total budget 2008 and 2009; 132 million in 2008 and 134 million Euros in 2009
Donor: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs