Supporting constructive practice change in multi-stakeholder situations

Worldwide, there is a wealth of experience in strengthening communities and creating opportunities for social learning and supporting collective action. If you have a specific problem then many of the following on-line tools and guides on the subsequent pages in this section will provide ideas to address it. However, as the participation practice page points out there is growing evidence that we need to replace recipe-based approaches – which emphasise selecting the relevant tools for the job – with an approach that emphasises participation as a process. The latter also implies the need to pay more attention to ensuring that processes are managed by those with well-developed skills in relationship-building, facilitation and conflict mangement.

To help put the use of these tools into perspective, the bigger picture page provides a context within which sustainability and other complex issues can be usefully viewed. The general guides page provides links to guides that are developed generically to address the range of social and organisational processes involved within these issues. Similarly where lessons have been developed into checklists for use use by practitioners they are included from that page. Social marketing and scenario development are each given their own page. A new page in this section now covers tools, tips and techniques for facilitators.

Other pages here highlight the lessons that have emerged from researchers and practitioners in different sectors. These include lessons from the HIV/AIDS sector, emergency and disaster management, public health, and protected natural areas. They are shown on their different pages to highlight the fact that each sector is looking at similar human dimensions practice change lessons, and that the more we can learn across sectors the better. Moreover, it is likely that building capacity in any one sector also develops capacity that will improve engagement and learning for other situations.

Planning and evaluation are given a section of their own because of their importance in supporting learning and collective action. This can be used from the index on the left, or from the planning and evaluation page.

Despite this wealth of experience expressed through these links the challenge still remains to institutionalise and scale up these successes across time and space. Efforts and thinking in this domain is covered in the social learning and research approaches sections of this site.