IRC’s roots are in knowledge management, capacity building and advocacy. Since our founding in 1968, our focus and ambition have evolved from generating knowledge and making it accessible to the sector, towards playing an active role in the facilitation of learning and systemic change in the countries where we work. One of the outcomes we aim to achieve is ‘improved capacities in the sector for continuous learning’. This is ambitious and may mean different things to different people in different contexts. Even within the organization, there are different viewpoints and emerging insights. There are a range of questions worth exploring further collaboratively, in order to share our viewpoints and practical experiences, learn and identify areas where we need to improve or gain knowledge and skills in order to achieve this outcome.
That’s why IRC dedicated its latest ‘IRCnergy week’ to ‘sector learning and adaptive capacity’. IRC has organised these dedicated learning, sharing and planning weeks. Currently, we have three such weeks a year, physically bringing together staff and associates in the Hague (we have started blogging about these weeks on various platforms using #ircnergy).Throughout this week, we discussed a range of strategic, conceptual and practical issues relating to ‘sector learning and adaptive capacity’. Key questions during the week included: What is a learning process and what do we think a ‘learning sector’ looks like? What are the experiences and lessons we can build on in facilitating better learning and adaptive management in our focus countries or internationally? What has IRC learned from our experience facilitating learning and change?
In the coming weeks I will blog about some of the take-away lessons and emerging insights from our discussions. It was useful to explore what this aim means for the way IRC works and for our strategies at international and country level. We also took a stab at assessing IRC’s internal capacity to pursue this aim. So, questions like “do we have the adequate resources, the right partnerships, and suitable communication strategies for pursuing this aim?” were touched upon and need to be followed up in the coming months. And finally, there are many practical experiences and lessons learned, as well as unanswered questions. So we will continue to share and consolidate these lessons and identify areas for further improvement and internal capacity building.