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Meeting up with Caritas Europe

During our May five day Knowledge Management (KM) programme in Brussels, we were happy to meet up again with Miriam Pikaar of Caritas Europa. We held our meeting outdoors in the creative courtyard environment of our hosts, MSF Belgium.  Backing out from a buzzing café area and well-designed training centre, the space allowed us to use more experimental exercises with our KM course participants. And it gave us chance to meet Miriam in a conducive environment to agree next steps for our support in the KM developments which Caritas Europa have been positively advancing. 

The KM intention of Caritas in Europe is to create, share, use, structure and manage its knowledge and information in view of achieving organisational objectives. Caritas Europa is active in the fields of advocacy, humanitarian aid and institutional development. And recognizes the need for mutual learning and innovation in all they do. To this end, IMA has contracted with them twice, first in Prague and then in Brussels to explore KM concepts and develop KM practice. Our latest workshop in February focused on enhancing knowledge sharing across and between international Action Groups and particularly building existing Communities of Practice. 

We look forward to support more, potentially in Vienna in September, working with Caritas Europa on their expressed aim to learn and exchange knowledge, experience and expertise to be more effective and sustainable.

  1. Breaking the silos - knowing what colleagues and their action groups are doing:

In general: it is important for the CE Secretariat staff to have a better understanding of what colleagues are “doing”, and how the activities of the CE Action groups (AGs) contributes to the CE Secretariat work – in view of achieving the objectives of the CE Strategic Framework (SF).  Given the structure, and despite good intentions, there is still a silos issue. In view of the Consultative Forum – which is essentially a place for knowledge sharing and a great knowledge management (KM) opportunity - the CE Secretariat staff has to know, internally, what all the AGs are actually doing. This will help foreseeing what the synergies can be and what themes to pick for the AGs to discuss together in cross AG settings.

  1. Understanding some of the KM basics, but NOTABLY:  what communities of practice are and how they work

Without the CE Secretariat realising it, the CE AGs are actually communities of practice. It is important that those staff in charge of AGs understand what a community of practice is and how AGs can be made to function as such. The CF would be a great opportunity to kick this way of working off, in at least in 1 or 2 AGs. However, that requires that we here in the Secretariat first of all understand what that means / how that would work

The workshop design and the methodologies of the activities will bring out the information staff members need to know about each other’s work and the work of each other’s AGs. They will understand what communities of practice are and how we can support our AGs to function as such.

  • WHO: Caritas Europe
  • WHERE: Brussels, Belgium
  • WHEN: May 2019

Tags: Caritas , Ruth Jolly, Silvia Capezzuoli, Knowledge Management and Sharing


"I keep six honest serving-men
 (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When 
 And How and Where and Who."

-Rudyard Kipling