Solidarites International
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How to document Best practices in humanitarian crisis?
I am working in Protection program of Solidarites International for Rohyinga influx in Teknaf, Cox'sbazar Bangladesh. In program operation and capacity building aspect, I want to document some best practices. If you have any idea and template or process, please help in this regard.

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Bari Rabin | Dexis Consulting Group
Apr 13, 2018

Dear Mohammed,

Thank you for your question and kudos on your initiative. Documenting best practices--and sharing them—is key to building capacity in an organization.   

To plan your approach, start by thinking about:

1. Who can benefit from this knowledge? For which areas, teams or specific roles within your organization would this knowledge be valuable? Are there other organizations you’d like to reach as well? Make note of your target audiences.

2. What would your target audiences want to know? Reflect on the types of questions your target audiences would want to ask about the subject. They most likely want to know the “how”—the process for developing or carried out as task—over the “what”. This is referred to as tacit knowledge. Also, consider what level of understanding of the topic each target audience has. Based on the types of questions and level of technical understanding, formulate a list of questions to guide any preliminary desk research you do or what you ask those colleagues who have the experience.    

3. How will you surface this knowledge?  You may find some documentation of your colleagues’ experience and lessons in existing reports. You'll still probably want to speak to staff. If any of the work is recent enough, consider facilitating an After-Action Review with the team or even an individual (click here for guidance). Another option is to simply interview those with the experience you’d like to capture. 

4. In which formats would your target audiences most likely access the knowledge?

There are many choices for sharing the experience and emerging practices you capture and you can choose more than one, based on the characteristics of your target audiences. Some points to consider are:

  • Do your target audiences have access to the Internet and do they use it for learning? This will determine whether you need to share your knowledge products in print or in person, or if you can share them through a web site, collaboration space or a shared drive.
  • Do staff prefer brevity—such as with a brief or list of top tips—or might they want a more detailed report?  For guidance on how to surface lessons learned from a team or organization, see the “Lessons Learnt” chapter in the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s Knowledge Management Toolkit.
  • Especially given the technical area of your work, you might consider the impact of stories. You can share stories through a series of captioned photos, by producing a case example, by weaving in the story as part of a blog, or by interviewing and recording those involved, whether in person or via video conference, and sharing the video or audio clip online or through email. Check out this Learning Lab blog on digital storytelling or see the “Storytelling” chapter in the Knowledge Management Toolkit.
  • Does the subject matter lend itself to actionable knowledge products, such as a checklist or template?
  • Would your colleagues prefer interaction and live discussion? If so, plan a panel discussion or an informal staff Question and Answer session.

We hope that these steps and resources are helpful to you. Do write back to tell us about your experience and to share what you’ve learned!  

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