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Membership for capacity4dev Tops 5,000

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16 August 2012

Membership for the EuropeAid’s collaboration website, has breached the 5,000-mark driven by take up in the site’s online groups.

Look at the very bottom of the homepage and you’ll see that our online community for development professionals and stakeholders has swelled to over 5,000 members, making it the second largest interactive knowledge-sharing site of the European Commission.

New members are using the site to work and share information through the site’s group facility. Today, the site has over 50 public groups and a hundred more available for EC staff or privately invited members only. So what’s going on in these online spaces?


The Public Group on Public Sector Reform and Decentralisation has 124 members and is managed by Jorge Rodriguez-Bilbao from EuropeAid unit D2, Civil Society and Local Authorities. Mr Rodriguez-Bilbao, like many group managers, has been using the group to share key documentation on decentralisation issues. But he’s also found the group to be a vital means of preparing and offering follow-up to a recent workshop at headquarters.


“I found the group to be a really useful way of bringing the workshop attendees together before they had even got on the plane to come to the event,” said Mr Rodriguez-Bilbao. “And now that the workshop is over, I am able to keep in touch with all the attendees through the group so that we can provide follow-up and continue some of the important discussions started in Brussels.”

Groups on are used for a host of reasons. Some are linked to an event, workshop or training, but many more are about bringing people together who have a vested interest in a given development topic or theme to help them build their own capacity or the capacity of others.  Some of our most successful groups directly support the day-to-day work activities of EC staff.

The Procedures Unit R3 of EuropeAid have set up a special group for EC staff scattered in delegations across the world, which they keep updated with all the latest procedures and publications. With over 600 members, group moderator Carlos Casal says that the group is a more efficient way of working.

“Before we used to send out hundreds of emails to staff sending them documentation by attachment,” said Mr Casal. “Now, using the group, we are able to post information online for staff to download and retrieve at their convenience.”


David Sanmiguel Esteban is a regular contributor to the group for FLEGT – forest law enforcement, governance and trade, which has 126 members.  “Our intention is to actively involve projects and other organizations with which we work to make a decisive tool contributing to aid coordination and effectiveness,” he said.  “It is changing the way we are working with particular groups of people – for example, communicating within private groups.  It also allows us to have more feedback from projects in the field.”

Though is a tool set up and funded by the European Commission, it is a community website and therefore it is open to any professional working in development whether they’re partner representatives, academics, from NGOs or other international organisations.

And, with a roll-out of technical improvements scheduled for the autumn, members of the Coordination Team supporting the site hopes to make a better way to share and collaborate online.

“Beyond the numbers, which are nice but which also remain modest, we are encouraged to see that the tool is bringing an impact in the more qualitative aspect of our work", said Paul Riembault, who coaches the Coordination Team.  “We can see a phenomenon of ‘setting trends by example’; for instance, in early 2012, a testimony of an EU delegation was released concerning the use of Political Economy Analysis. In the following weeks, several delegations requested support to conduct such an analysis for themselves, which will without doubt raise their understanding of the local realities.”

Launched in 2009, has grown to become a premier go-to site for development workers looking for information on capacity development issues or looking to build their own capacity and that of others through sharing and exchanging ideas and information through the internet.

This collaborative piece was drafted with input from Jorge Rodriguez Bilbao, Carlos Casal and David Sanmiguel Esteban with support from the Coordination Team.


DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interests of knowledge sharing and capacity development and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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