Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC)

  • Blog post
    Participants talk at East Africa Share Fair 2014

    Image by Willow Gerber, Management Sciences for Health 2014. 

    At a recent knowledge share fair in Arusha, I was tasked with introducing participants to the idea of starting an East Africa Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (EA GHKC). The intention was to generate some enthusiasm for an affiliate group of the current Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC), which is a community of knowledge management (KM) global health professionals in the States have been benefitting from mutual collaboration for several years. People listened politely and a few nodded in agreement, but why would or should this East African audience actually be interested in a regional EA GHKC? Three reasons: context; knowledge equity; and impact.

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    This month, like many others around the globe, I’ve been watching the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. One thing that always strikes me when watching these events is the incredible journey that leads up to the athletes’ eventual goal—all the years of practice, training, and mental preparation that goes into a minute-long race or five-minute skating performance. I think those of us working in knowledge management (KM) can learn something from this. What we do behind the scenes, to prepare for our “big event” is just as important—if not more—than the actual endpoint.

    As my colleague Saori Ohkubo announced last month, the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC) has recently published the Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Knowledge Management in Global Health Programs. This guide—which is an updated version of the popular 2007 Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Health Information Products and Services—was developed as a practical tool to help global health practitioners design, implement, and measure impactful KM activities. All indicators from the previous guide were reviewed, updated, and revised for the new version. Some of the indicators remain very similar, but the new guide does contain some new indicators as well, including an entire section on measuring KM process.

    As those of us who work in the KM field can attest, the way KM activities are started (by assessing situations and planning activities), carried out (by synthesizing and sharing information), and sustained (by improving KM culture throughout organizations and structures) is crucial to their success. Measuring this process—and using such information to feed back into the organization and project—can ensure that a KM project supports stronger and more meaningful outcomes and outputs, and thus has a greater overall impact.

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    I am very excited to make the announcement of this new publication – the Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Knowledge Management in Global Health Programs. It is the successor to the former version – the Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Health Information Products and Services, published in 2007.

    There are two main reasons for my excitement. First, the Guide truly represents a collaborate effort of so many contributors from various organizations participating in the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC), a community of practice (CoP) composed of knowledge management (KM) practitioners working together to promote the effective application of KM approaches to advance global health. Second, as a frequent user, or better, a “big fan” of the former guide, I think many people working in the field of KM and global health and development will find this publication highly useful.

    The Guide attempts to demystify issues and challenges that may surface when designing KM activities and measuring specific types of KM approaches, by providing answers to common questions such as “What is knowledge?” “What is knowledge management?” “What are KM activities?” and “Why is knowledge management important in global public health?”

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    I’m pleased to announce that the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC) has published a report describing its main functions, activities, and outputs since its inception (under the name Knowledge Management Working Group) in 2010. The document, entitled Fostering Knowledge Exchange for Better Health Outcomes (PDF), provides information about the formation and history of the GHKC, the purposes of the various GHKC products, and a vision for the future. It also includes quotes from GHKC members and features two case studies of some of the group’s collaborative activities – both within the GHKC itself and with USAID.

    The GHKC report was written by Ann Buxbaum, IDEAS consultant, in collaboration with the GHKC Advisory Committee. It is available via the GHKC website.

    K4Health is the organizational chair of GHKC, a forum for professionals in global health and development to collaborate, innovate, and exchange ideas, tools, and approaches to knowledge management. GHKC has representatives from over 60 organizations in 34 countries.

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    This post by Heather Valli originally appeared on the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC) Blog. Valli candidly shares her experience using a blended learning approach for an in-house program on leadership in human resources for health. You can learn more about blended learning with the K4Health Blended Learning Guide (PDF). 

    In January, 2013, I started working with a KM expert, two instructional designers, and an extremely gifted intern to develop an in-house blended learning program (eLearning combined with other methods) for IntraHealth International staff. Named the Global Health Workforce Leaders course, the pilot program was designed to “encourage HRH pioneers and advocates for a present, ready, connected and safe health workforce.” It was a 12-week program, including the introductory week and a wrap-up week, and it launched in mid-March.

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    In this post, originally posted on the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative Blog, Luis Ortiz-Echevarria from University Research Co., LLC picks up the conversation from my recent post about making knowledge valuable and poses the question: does knowledge management for global health need a standardized framework and diagnostic tools? What do you think? Tell us in the comments.

    Last Wednesday, June 5th, I joined other members of the GHKC for a meeting at CCP focused on two objectives: 1) feeding into USAID’s CLA (Collaboration, Learning, and Adapting) online discussion, and 2) moving forward the conversations started at the GHKC KM Share Fair on ‘what’s next’ in terms of KM for global health. Please see the meeting minutes for more details on the full agenda.

    In the first Knowledge Café session I joined Ann Hendrix-Jenkins and Liz Tully for a lively discussion on how to identify and address knowledge gaps through a substantive learning agenda. We talked about previous experiences linking programmatic learning in country programs with US-based learning objectives and how to synchronize that learning process. We discussed different ‘places’ where knowledge exists within a team: the expertise we bring to a team as professionals, our professional and person growth endeavors, team learning aims, and programmatic learning. Linking these spaces together in a focused, but flexible manner, will allow for efficiencies within a learning team and organization.

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    Originally appearing on the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC) Blog, this post by Becca Simon recaps an online and in-person conversation on making knowledge valuable. 

    On June 4-5, 2013, the USAID Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning hosted a webinar and a 2-day online forum among missions and implementing partners to discuss USAID’s Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) approach to international development programming.

    Graphic: CLA Pause for Reflection

    A graphic describing the pause for reflection in Collaboration, Learning and Adapting (CLA)

    Source: USAID Learning Lab

    During the webinar, Lane Pollack, Learning Advisor, USAID Uganda, discussed her approach to implementing CLA. She presented a simple graphic illustrating the CLA process and how to create pauses for learning moments. The three different looping lines represent Learning Loops, and are pauses for reflection and opportunities to make adjustments at all levels of an organization, program, and activity. Even though most programs have goals identified at the outset, valuable knowledge is created at many points in time and levels of implementation, and should be captured and used to improve impact.

    The smallest light blue line represents the activity or intervention level; the purple line represents adjustments at the project level; the big dark blue loop is at the organization or portfolio level.

    Concurrent to the forum, on June 5, the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC) held our quarterly meeting at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs in Baltimore, where we tackled some of the questions raised in the online forum.

    I took part in a small group discussion about this question: What can we do to ensure that the knowledge we generate and the learning we gain through the process of CLA is valuable both to ourselves and others?

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    Originally appearing on the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC) Blog, this post by Basil Safi describes a pilot eHealth program in Bangladesh that equips community health workers with Netbooks loaded with behavior change communication materials rigorously vetted by the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative (BKMI) and the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOFW). Basil discussed the pilot project at the Global Health Knowledge Management Share Fair last month, and it was recently highlighted on USAID's Impact Blog in a post by Monica Bautista and Peggy D'Adamo.

    A Family Planning Provider in Bangladesh

    BKMI will help providers access the latest resources to better counsel their clients on family planning (FP), maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) and nutrition. 

    © 2011 Cassandra Mickish/CCP, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Under the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project, the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiativeworks to build the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) in Bangladesh to improve knowledge management and coordinate behavior change communication (BCC) in the country.  BKMI collaborated with MOHFW to establish the gold standard of BCC for health, population and nutrition and make the best tools and resources available in an offline, digital format to health workers in the field.  BKMI is using a rigorous monitoring and evaluation plan to assess the impact of this pilot project.  

    During the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative's Knowledge Management Share Fair on April 16th in Washington, DC, I explained that as part of the initiative, 300 community-level health workers in the Sylhet and Chittagong districts will receive netbooks pre-loaded with HPN BCC eToolkits and eight eLearning courses to use when counseling clients about family planning (FP), maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) and nutrition. The digital resources will also be made available on computers in 42 health complexes, 12 clinics and two Agriculture Information Communication Centers.  By the end of the pilot, a robust evaluation will look for changes in field workers’ knowledge and BCC skills, as well as their clients’ intention to adopt healthier behaviors around FP, MNCH and nutrition.

  • Blog post
    Field Knowledge is the Best Knowledge

    At the Global Health Knowledge Management Share Fair, Stacey Young from USAID's Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning discussed the importance of local knowledge, and how the curated knowledge base needs be be accessible to practitioners in the field.

    This post originally appeared on the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative (GHKC) Blog. Basil Safi presented the Strategies Against Flu Emergence (SAFE) program at last month's Global Health Knowledge Management Share Fair, and how it's not always necessary to create a new tool to manage knowledge. Using Indonesia as an example, he illustrated how galvanizing a local team to optimize an existing tool can make life-saving knowledge accessible to those who need it most.

    Stacey Young, Senior Learning Advisor at USAID's Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning, remarked that the knowledge base needs to be more than accessible to local partners, it needs to be created at the field level. 

    Strategies Against Flu Emergence (SAFE) is a program created to support USAID/Indonesia’s Avian and Pandemic Influenza (API) Program and the Government of Indonesia’s National Strategy for Avian Influenza (AI) Control and Preparedness for Human Pandemic Influenza. In addition to a range of prevention activities at the local level, the program uses state of the art KM and social media tools to promote public-private partnerships, good poultry farming practices, improved biosecurity and hygiene behaviors at farms and markets, and improved care-seeking behavior for AI. 

    During the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative's Knowledge Management Share Fair on April 16th in Washington, DC, I discussed that a key objective of the SAFE program was to facilitate coordination among partners by sharing important health information that is targeted for program managers and other decision-makers. In order to achieve this, SAFE taps into the potential of digital technology and create an online platform as a tool to share knowledge and communicate experiences for AI and Pandemic Influenza Programs in Indonesia.  

    Avian Influenza Toolkit

    Since it launched, this collection of Avian & Pandemic Influenza resources has been one of K4Health's most popular online toolkits.

    In its process, SAFE did not wish to create a new tool, but rather to optimize the already existing online platform under the USAID-funded Knowledge for Health (K4Health) project led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs. In this endeavor, Indonesia has become a pioneer in which documents on Avian Influenza and Pandemic Influenza are carefully selected, stored, and shared among users. No less than 160 documents have populated the sites from different organizations in both Bahasa and English, and as SAFE is entering its final months, it is ensuring the continuation of the process by formally handing over the eToolkit to a KM technical advisory group made up of government and local NGO members. Representatives of these institutions will be granted special access to upload their own resources as they become available, so that the toolkit remains a living and dynamic platform through which all stakeholders can share the latest and most important information.  In February 2013, this eToolkit was the 8thmost visited toolkit within all the K4Health online toolkit resources and continues to receive a high degree of traffic each month, with the average visitor reading 3.4 resources per visit. 

  • Field Knowledge is the Best Knowledge

    At the Global Health Knowledge Management Share Fair, Stacey Young from USAID's Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning discussed the importance of local knowledge, and how the curated knowledge base needs be be accessible to practitioners in the field.