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Exchange Visits as a Learning and Networking Tool: Part 1. Practical Notes. Part 2. Principles and Paradigms

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Bruns, Bryan
Date: 2002
Agency: Environment and Development Affinity Group, Ford Foundation, New York, NY, USA
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/4479
Sector: Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): participatory development
capacity building
local knowledge
technology transfer
Abstract: "Exchange visits can be a useful tool, but deserve careful preparation in order to make them effective and avoid wasting the time of visitors and hosts. Part One of this paper explores practical issues in planning and conducting exchange visits, while Part Two looks at the values, principles and paradigms of peer-to-peer learning and sharing that can be enhanced through exchange visits. "The first section of Part One runs through basic questions of whether an exchange visit is the best choice, and identifying who should go where, when, and what they should do. The next section points out ways to make visits more effective through good preparation, well-planned hosting, translation, facilitation and evaluation. The following section discusses some nuts-and-bolts considerations of funding, food, using time in vehicles effectively, travel documents, accommodation and sources of further information about exchange visits. Boxes in Part 1 highlight issues of rural development tourism, pilot project mirages, diversity in learning styles, planning for results, an example of exchange visits for micro-enterprise development and a summary checklist for preparing exchange visits. "Part Two begins by discussing how exchange visits can enable peer-to-peer interaction, as one means of promoting participatory processes that empower people to improve their own lives. Visits can foster mutual learning, not only of explicit verbalized ideas, but also tacit knowledge embedded in practice. Visits can help forge and strengthen networks linking people with shared concerns and ideas. Planning for exchange visits needs to recognize limitations, constraints and the conditions needed to foster genuine exchange. Preparation for successful visits requires attention not only to practical logistics but also to the principles and paradigms underlying participatory development, in order to use exchange visits effectively as tools for learning and networking."

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