Solution Exchange is a unique initiative hosted by the United Nations in India to provide an impartial platform for the exchange of knowledge. Launched in 2005, the Decentralization Community on Solution Exchange brings together individuals who are concerned with strengthening the institutions of local self-government – the Panchayats and Municipal Bodies – to foster effective governance.
Solution Exchange endeavors to help Community members address the day-to-day issues they face and increase the effectiveness of their individual efforts. By tapping into the collective knowledge of diverse practitioners across this field, Solution Exchange connects colleagues who share interests and who would like to learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences.
Joy Elamon, former moderator of the forum, was a member of the consultation in India and provided great insight into the success of Solutions Exchange. Joy stressed the importance of open ownership within different communities of practice, ensuring that everyone feels that the community is “mine.” To ensure a lively discussion, members of the community motivate colleagues to discuss the issues, sometimes even pushing and pulling experts to share their particular expertise on a subject.
Joy also stressed the importance of face-to-face contact in a web based community of practice. The live interaction between participants encourages more vibrant relationships than in an online community. Our own platform must keep in mind that a community of practice is a tool for all of its members – not only to solve day-to-day problems and discuss wider issues, but also to create action within the community to achieve shared objectives.
Joy’s success with the Decentralization Community gives hope to the potential realization of similar groups and networks and to a wider global community of practice as well.
For more information, visit Solution Exchange.