New Features on capacity4dev.eu
Today, most donors recognise that knowledge is a key element of capacity development. The European Commission, DG EuropeAid launched capacity4dev.eu in 2009 to facilitate knowledge sharing. New features of the platform were released in March 2012 to further broaden its usability and scope.
Capacity4dev is European Commission DG EuropeAid’s platform to harness and consolidate knowledge generated by the organisation and its partners, to help improve the quality of development cooperation.
“EuropeAid’s strategy on Capacity4dev mentions that ‘Knowledge and information could contribute to our development objectives and benefit our partner countries as much as our money does today’,” says Christoforos Korakas project manager of capacity4dev.eu at EuropeAid’s unit on Quality of Delivery Systems.
“In our highly de-concentrated environment, thematic expertise is distributed in EU Delegations, thematic units and geographical units,” adds Paul Riembault, Head of section for Capacity Development. “And we should bear in mind that this thematic expertise further relies on a network of other partners. Capacity4dev helps to build bridges in that environment.”
So what's new? How can the new features help us?
The new version of Capacity4dev released on 7 March 2012 provides the following new features:
This is a "Questions and Answers" tool that will help to shape networks of thematic specialists through gathering questions and sharing important lessons learned. The tool has two aspects:
- Specialists who wish to participate in such a network need to update their profile to indicate their field(s) of expertise. Please do this today: go to ‘Profile’, and simply click on the ‘Your Profile’ link at the top of the page above your name and edit the ‘Expertise’ entry.
- Users who wish to use the tool can click on the Peer Support entry on the top menu and post a question. When posting a question, you can tag it against one or more Topics and Regions or Countries, and add supporting documents if necessary. The question will then not only be displayed in the relevant topic and geographic pages, but it will also be sent by email to members of the platform who have declared having expertise on the topic concerned.
The additional geographic dimension to Capacity4dev aims to facilitate the collaboration between geographical and thematic specialists and networks. It allows the possibility to tag and sort content according to its geographic relevance. You will find an entry on the top menu for the 'Regions and Countries’ pages which provide an overview of the content tagged as relevant to each region. Geo tagging applies to magazine articles, groups, people, vacancies and peer support.
Again, to benefit from this new feature, Capacity4dev users are encouraged to update their profile with their geographical interests, and group owners should update their group profile to reflect possible geographic dimension.
Online surveys can be used to quickly set up consultations to collect opinions and data on the issues you are working on. This tool offers a user-friendly alternative to sending word or excel questionnaires by email to Delegations or partners, and having to cope with numerous email replies and data consolidation work. Surveys are addressed to group members and are to be implemented within existing groups, but if you need to be more specific you can set-up an ad-hoc group and invite members.
This tool enables online Chat sessions (e-meetings) among selected members of a group, and will help reduce email exchanges when discussing a specific issue, while also preserving the content of discussions in a shared space. A meeting can start right away or be scheduled for a specific date. Invited members are notified by email, with the documents to be discussed attached. Once the e-meeting is finished it will be archived and a summary is generated detailing the meeting; who participated, when it was held, the documents attached and the full verbatim of the discussion.
You can now be notified of new activity on a specific magazine article, peer support query, vacancy etc, just by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button on that page. The way users can manage their notifications subscriptions has also been improved.
A new search engine allows for filtering mechanisms on search results as well as full text indexing of most of the documents uploaded on the platform.
The EuropeAid Capacity4dev Team encourages you to start using the new features today! We are interested to hear how they work for you and welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions, and are available to answer your questions.
This collaborative piece was drafted with input from Audrey Gueudet, Christophe Korakas and Paul Riembault with support from the capacity4dev.eu Coordination Team.