World Vision: Education & Life Skills

Crafting a Community of Practice (CoP), Seattle, USA - December 2009


World Vision: Education and Life Skills
Community of Practice (CoP)
World Vision (WV) recognizes that education is a key investment in breaking generational cycles of poverty and risk, and a fundamental contribution to children’s well-being. By focusing on what it will do and assure, WV is now prioritizing the development of functional levels of literacy, numeracy, and values-based life skills education, education in emergencies, and community-led basic education improvement planning. Basic education improvement plans, within the global framework of Education For All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals, will empower communities and other key stakeholders to plan, monitor, advocate to close systemic gaps in access, inclusion and quality – especially via literacy efforts – and focus on the most marginalized and vulnerable left-out children.

World Vision resolved to establish an Education and Life Skills technical Community of Practice (CoP), in alignment with the organization’s CoP guidelines and standards. Together with others, Richard Teare (for GULL) is an external adviser to the CoP and the intention is to use the GULL system to recognize and sustain learning outcomes for the CoP’s global community.

The Education and Life Skills CoP connects and empowers education practitioners and local partner volunteers through collaborative knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices and capacity building to improve learning outcomes for all children, especially for the most vulnerable and excluded, in World Vision’s areas of operation and beyond.

WV and external specialists from around the globe met for three days at a retreat center in Seattle, USA to craft the CoP purpose statement, guiding principles, anticipated outcomes and organizational structure.

Pictured: Group discussions on key priorities for the CoP



Guiding principles
Some of the key features of the Community of Practice (CoP)

  • Empowers local communities to actively engage in improving learning outcomes for their children.
  • Includes WV education specialists, local partner volunteers with whom they work, and external experts for areas in which WV does not plan to build up its own expertise.
  • Supports integration within and across WV ministry lines and externally with partners, in order to break down barriers and build shared expertise and body of knowledge.
  • Fosters layered participation that enables field staff to participate in a language they are comfortable in.
  • Recognizes the limitations and challenges of local staff and makes sure the CoP is beneficial for them.
  • Coordinates WV’s external relationships with the broader education community based on the pursuit of quality, inclusive education, Christian principles, evidence based good practices, and a child rights approach.
  • CoP structure is organic and based on purpose and need.

Left: Members of the CoP Business Team (left to right) – Richard Teare (GULL); Micael Olsson (WV); Peter Clark (Media specialist); Mike Trainum (Resource adaption specialist); Susan Malone (Multi-lingual education specialist); Doug Bell (Instructional design specialist).

The Business Team serves as a source for both technical leads in critical areas and competency to help inform, refine and implement. They are technical experts that advise and support the Work Team to ensure learning across the CoP and provide support and leadership to Regional and National offices. They help the community stay abreast of best field practices and developments and encourage continuous action learning.


Left: Feedback time!, Centre: Micael, Richard & Patricia, Right: (left to right) Ruthi, Ha, Rohit, Alisa, Albana discuss capacity building challenges



Anticipating outcomes
Implementing the CoP: Output planning for 2010-2012 Outcomes will include:

  1. Localization of best practice teaching, learning and resource material through the use of a resource adaptation system and local capacity building.
  2. Strengthened capacity, professionalization and accreditation of WV staff and local volunteers, including local partner life Skills tutors, learning group leaders, and education planning facilitators (these outcomes involve utilization of the GULL system).
  3. Education and Life Skills project models that capture best practices associated with key components of the education strategy are tested, refined and finalized. Models are distributed broadly in a communication format (such as video) accessible to field staff.


We did it!
Crafting the World Vision Community of Practice for Education and Life Skills

Members of the WV CoP team pictured at the end of the three day planning session on Friday 18 December, 2009, Seattle, USA


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