Building a Vibrant Online Community that Transcends Geographies, Distance, Cultures and Traditions and Leveraging the Expertise and Experience of Partners

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Ferreira, Frances
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Open University Malaysia (OUM)

GIRLS Inspire is a Commonwealth of Learning (COL) project designed to leverage the power of open and distance learning (ODL) to end the cycle of child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) and to address other barriers that prevent girls’ economic participation. Through the use of ODL, community organisations and institutions in Bangladesh, India, Mozambique, Pakistan and Tanzania are mobilised to provide schooling and skills training to girls and women. With funding from the governments of Canada and Australia, GIRLS Inspire aims to reach some of the world’s most vulnerable and hard-to-reach women and girls through technology-enabled learning. To convince girls, community leaders and parents that girls can access education in a safe and gender-friendly environment, institutions’ capacity to offer technology-enabled learning need to be strengthened. GIRLS Inspire committed to creating a network through an online community of practice (CoP) as one of the strategies to enhance the capacity of partner organisations. Through this CoP, conscious efforts are made to form a strong network among the partners and other development agencies for knowledge exchange and capacity building that transcends geographies. Using a case study approach, this paper will explore (1) the innovative use of technology to build a vibrant online CoP (2) the factors contributing to partner engagement on the online community and provide (3) evidence on how partner’s capacity were enhanced through the CoP on issues such as CEFM, Gender Equality; Monitoring & Evaluation; community engagement; and online strategies for awareness raising. The following data collection methods will be utilised: direct observations, participant observation, interviews and document analysis. It is envisaged that this paper will contribute to sustainable practice of capacity building, as it captures the change taking place over time and varying geographic regions which can be used to measure the progress of this project as envisaged in its theory of change. // Paper ID 361

Women and Girls,Online Communities of Practice