– This publication is the first of several Norec will publish as a center of competence for exchange cooperation, says Helge Espe, Senior Adviser and head of analysis and evaluation at Norec.
The report “What do we know about exchange for development? Learning, Institutional Knowledge & Exchanges” is written by Dr. Cliff Allum on behalf of Norec. Allum has analysed all evaluations, surveys and reports produced by FK Norway since 2002.
– There are many components that needs to be in place to succeed with an exchange as a method for learning and development. The findings in this report constitutes the foundation for something we will continue to work with as a competence center, says Director General of Norec, Jan Olav Baarøy.
Director General Jan Olav Baarøy, Programme Director Marit Bakken and Senior Adviser Helge Espe in Norec. To the right you see the frontpage of the report that launches the 7th of February
The overall picture
FK Norway have gathered extensive knowledge through research, evaluations and reports the past 17 years. This is however the first report that gathers this vast information in one study, and investigates how the organisastions can learn from the exchanges. One of the main priorities of FK Norway has been to continuously absorb this information, and adapt the lessons in the Norec model.
At times a substantial part of FK Norway’s focus has been on what can be perceived as tensions; if the focus should be on the single participant or the organisations in the North or in the South. Overall, the report highlights that Norec’s model is best understood if one views the whole system as one; from the participant, partners, the collaboration and the society they’re a part of.
In short, the partner organizations that are sucsessful in enabling learning through exchange have several common features:
- They collaborate well during the exchange
- The organization's leaders share a similar set of values and have ownership of the project.
- They recruit participants with the knowledge and skills required to solve the tasks at hand.
- They have routines that safeguards a well executed exchange.
FOUR MAIN FEATURES
At last, there are four main findings in regard to partners.
The partners in South-South exchanges report the highest level of institutional learning. They also have the advantage of a more balanced power dynamic, similar values, as well as a shared focus on networks within and between the organisations.
Norwegian partners have not quite grasped the learning potential in an exchange. The degree of output can mainly be tied to how well the participants is received and integrated; not only in the workplace, but in the overall community of its host partner.
The partners that continuously improve and adapt how they recruit participants report the highest level of learning.
Organisations with internally recruited participants learn the most after the exchange. An important factor is to ensure that the employee continues working in its organisation upon return.