Learning initiatives are a major pillar of the learn4dev network. Each is founded when at least three members of the network propose to form a group and join efforts to work on a specific topic. While some groups might choose to focus on knowledge sharing, others work towards developing learning programmes or training materials. Besides regular exchange among members of a Learning initiative, each selects a leader to represent the Initiative and reports on its activities at learn4dev’s Annual Meeting.

Decentralisation and Local Governance

Environment and Climate Change

Fragility and Crisis Management


Knowledge Management and Sharing

Leadership and Innovation

Organisational Learning

Political Economy for Practitioners

Public Financial Management

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The Decentralisation and Local Governance (DLG) Learning Initiative is organized by the Development Partners Network on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG). There is a wide range of joint learning events and training courses (face-to-face and e-learning) dealing with DLG in order to develop capacities and share knowledge among DeLoG member organizations and the Learn4dev community. DeLoG focuses on policy coherence and aid effectiveness of development approaches and SDG implementation at the local level. Currently, 29 bi- and multilateral development partners are members of DeLoG. For more information, please visit DeLoG’s Website and (feel free to) subscribe to its newsletter.

Environment is a wide concept which touches many fields related to development; from natural resources to Green Economy, from waste management to the question of sustainable energy production and consumption. The aim of this group in the Learn4dev network is to encourage agencies to open their learning events to partner organisations, to share the learning tools developed and stimulate exchanges in our practices and reflections. The learning initiative on environment and climate change was created in 2012. The Belgium Technical Cooperation (BTC) took over the chair of the group, establishing this joint learning space in cooperation with EuropeAid, the GIZ and LuxDev.

The Fragility and Crisis Management (FCM) learning initiative was created in the eve of the annual meeting in June 2013 to further contribute to the exchanges and knowledge sharing among practitioners working in the field of development cooperation. It is led by the European Commission. The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States calls for donors to move from a shared understanding of the context to joint approaches or coordinated action. An integrated approach to address the humanitarian-development-peace nexus or, more generally, the challenges of engaging in fragile contexts can only be a collective effort and endeavour. Collaborative actions and inter-agency cooperation in fragile states, will lead to even greater and more rapid tangible impacts on the ground.

The Gender Learning Initiative started its work in February 2011. Through Gender mainstreaming you can assure that all participants – men and women – benefit equally from your courses. Therefore, you can benefit from diversity and implement Gender Mainstreaming as a tool for Effective Capacity Development. It allows for a wider range of experiences and perspectives to enrich the learning environment. If you want your workshop to be effective, gender mainstreaming is not simply an add-on, but a must! That is why the group’s long-term vision is to improve the quality of gender expertise in all member organisations through gender mainstreaming processes at management, core business and programs, and support level. The group’s work covers two main thematic areas, first, the strengthening of processes and creation of models to improve the quality of the transfer of gender expertise and the strengthening of gender equality in mainstream trainings.

Knowledge management (KM) is the way organisations create, capture, exchange, share and use knowledge to achieve their organisational objectives. The KM/KS Learning Initiative was established in 2006 to support the Learn4dev network with activities concerning knowledge management.

Our work within the Initiative stresses the process level of social innovation, regarding the processes of social interaction in achieving change equally as significant as the outcomes. There are different methodologies to take a creative and/or a dialogical, collaborative approach to shaping social innovation, also focusing on innovation capacities, new ways of thinking and creative collaboration, e.g. through prototyping. Novel ideas are generated by the beneficiaries themselves, in exchange with a diverse group of people.

Organisational learning (OL) is a term introduced in the 1970s by Chris Argyris and Donald Schön. It is the process of creating, retaining, and transferring knowledge within an organization. An organization improves over time as it gains experience. From this experience, it is able to create knowledge. This knowledge can be very broad, covering any topic that could bring an organization to the next level. It is created at four different units: individual, group, organizational, and inter-organizational. An organization learns successfully when it is able to retain this gained knowledge and transfer it to, or spread it throughout, the various divisions within an organisation.

In recent years an increasing number of organizations involved in International Development Cooperation started to apply a Political Economy (PE) perspective within their analytical and operational work. Such a PE perspective enhances the understanding of the presence/absence of development-oriented reforms in partner countries and the way development partners can most effectively facilitate the successful implementation of these reforms. The PE perspective seeks to unbundle the “political will” – or lack thereof – for reforms or change processes by looking at formal and informal institutions, incentives as well as the influence of different actors in development/change processes. It seeks to find out why things work the way they do or why not – in order to provide answers for development partners how they can support reforms more effectively.

The goal of the Public Financial Management Learning Initiative is to exchange information on current PFM learning offerings and relevant resources available among Learn4dev members. These offerings provide an overview of current thinking and practice regarding PFM and aim to enhance the capacity among donor ministries and agencies, multilateral organizations, and training or research institutions to participate effectively in development cooperation.