Uniting through networks: The art of fostering ICT for development (ICT4D) networks.


  • Joitske Hulsebosch
  • Bénédicte Marcilly
  • Loeki Schaeffers


knowledge management, development, developing countries, capacity building, networking


The International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) has five years of experience building the capacity of multi-stakeholder networks in the field of ICT for Development (ICT4D) in nine countries. The networks engage in knowledge sharing, advocacy and awareness raising activities to a different extent in each country. The authors draw lessons from practice and through reflection on their experiences with the networks. Yet, despite common goals, each network is unique and therefore develops its own dynamics. In this paper, the authors aim to contribute to the practice area of capacity building for networks by sharing IICD?s approach, practical experiences and evolving insights on supporting and ?nurturing? the networks. All in all, IICD chooses to combine different roles, of independent advisor, funder and facilitator in stimulating knowledge sharing and learning, while paying due attention to cultural differences in the different local contexts. Building trust and confidence by nurturing networks and encouraging an open knowledge sharing platform is paramount to the network?s success. Listening before talking, taking the required time, asking the ?right questions? are simple but golden rules IICD tries to apply to ensure local ownership and to build on existing initiatives and experiences successfully.