July 30, 2012
We have spent a good chunk of the first half of the summer traveling around to different towns (as Monica noted in her post below) posing some very pointed questions to leaders of various NGOs. Now that we’ve had time to aggregate a good amount of variety in our interviews, some overarching themes have evolved from the woodwork. The vast majority of individuals we’ve spoken with have said that the most significant benefit of a network is information sharing. They want to know about other organizations, where they’re working, and how they’re doing it. Furthermore, they want a reliable, simple, user-friendly platform where this information will be accessible.
To that end, we recently reevaluated our approach to the project for the remainder of the summer. Rather than continue spending the next few weeks gathering information from our survey, we will now turn to the planning and implementation phase of the project. In one of our meetings this week, we identified six key areas for which we want to design functioning frameworks; from there we will proceed with the planning process and establish a more tangible schedule for the network in the coming months. Our six identified areas are: 1) forum discussions, 2) a newsletter, 3) site visits, 4) workshops, 5) conferences, and 6) social events. We feel that by prioritizing these areas we will address organizations’ interest in information sharing, and will also move toward providing more substantial benefits for network participants. To address the desire for a platform for information sharing, we also plan on strengthening the NING site to facilitate informal (and private) information sharing among organizations, and hope to launch a public website for the network by the end of the summer. ~Nadine Custis