The IBP Initiative has a history of facilitating learning among our member organizations. Based at the World Health Organization (WHO), we have access to clinical experts working on WHO resources and guidelines. As a network of implementing partners, we also have access to technical experts working at the country level. Fostering learning between these key stakeholders is a unique challenge, and over the years IBP has identified some key strategies to facilitate learning within our network.
1. Know your Audience
Identifying ways to communicate information between guideline developers and those implementing them is important to help facilitate learning both about guidelines and their use. We developed the IBP Webinar Series to promote this type of knowledge sharing. Featuring WHO experts, technical information is shared by those who developed it. Complementing this with field-based perspectives provides insight on how the guideline is used and the challenges they face. Providing a platform where guideline developers can listen to and learn from country experiences and where implementing organizations can publicly voice local experiences to global experts is a unique approach that IBP has found valuable to foster two-way learning and exchange.
2. Interactive over Didactic
We know what works, the challenge is implementing. Interactive strategies like knowledge cafes, quiz style formats, and site visits are effective ways to share and learn, particularly when knowledge about what works is high but knowledge about how to implement is low.
In contrast to didactic ways of sharing information like panel presentations and lectures, interactive platforms provide an opportunity to actively learn from each other as information is disseminated, including feedback about what works and what does not work.
Site visits are another approach IBP has used to foster organic learning in field based settings. At one IBP site visit in Ethiopia, a nurse was describing challenges getting men engaged in family planning and the frustration clients faced due to long wait times and queues at the clinic. A participant from Zimbabwe expressed similar concerns and shared their solution—offering women who came with their husbands a shorter, more expedited line for services. The Ethiopian nurse was thrilled to hear about similar challenges and a potential solution and the two discussed implementing such a strategy immediately. Whether one agrees with the intervention or not, the learning that was shared through the site visit would not have happened otherwise.
3. Beneficiaries at the center
Learning from the inside out is an IBP approach to promote knowledge exchange that gives the beneficiaries, whether it’s young people, community health workers, or local advocates a central voice to foster learning. In West Africa we have supported the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) to organize in-country workshops around different tools. Led by regional experts, cultural role plays and other local learning techniques are adopted ensuring that information is received and owned.
In February 2018, we hosted an IBP meeting in New Delhi and were fortunate enough to have many youth leaders and community health workers with us to share their experiences using various tools and guidelines. Participants commented that they learned more from listening to the community health worker talk about her experience counselling patients using her mobile phone app than from any of the panels or tutorials about various counselling approaches.
As we think about leveraging IBP for innovative knowledge exchange, we will continue to encourage strategies that consider the audience, stay interactive, and put the beneficiaries at the center of learning efforts.
About the authors:
Nandita Thatte, IBP Secretariat
Nandita leads the WHO/IBP Secretariat based in Geneva. Her current portfolio includes institutionalizing the role of WHO/IBP to support dissemination, implementation, and scale up of WHO guidelines and strengthening the linkages between IBP partners and WHO researchers to inform new areas for implementation research. Prior to joining WHO, Nandita was a Technical Advisor in the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at USAID where she supported programs in West Africa, Haiti and Mozambique. She has a DrPH in Prevention and Community Health from George Washington University.
Ados May, IBP Secretariat
Ados is a Senior Technical Advisor for IBP. He provides technical leadership to the IBP Secretariat and the Chair of the Consortium. Ados also engages and mobilizes consortium members on a variety of issues such as documenting effective practices in family planning, dissemination and mapping of high-impact practices (HIPs), and knowledge management. Prior to IBP, Ados was based in South Africa, as a regional advisor for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. He has over 20 years of experience in international public health program design, technical assistance, management, and capacity building.
Asa Cuzin-Kihl, IBP Secretariat
Asa is a Technical Officer from the WHO’s RHR Department, where she has worked during the past 18 years first to develop the WHO Reproductive Health Library (RHL), conducting workshops on Evidence-based Decision-Making in Reproductive, Implementing Best Practices Initiative, country capacity building activities, involved in implementation and operations research projects. She holds a postgraduate diploma in public health from the University in Geneva, Switzerland and a Diploma in Human rights.