The Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice (TWP CoP) is a diverse and growing global network of practitioners and researchers in development and global affairs committed to promoting more effective development policy and practice. Bringing together individuals with extensive experience working in/with donor agencies, implementing partners, civil society organisations, and the research community, the TWP CoP first came together in Delhi in 2013.
Since then, through both its individual members and as a loose network, the TWP CoP, has been working to promote more politically aware approaches to development, encourage their adaptation, translate findings and implications emerging from political economy analysis into operationally relevant guidance, and provide evidence-based insights that can stimulate innovation, sharing and learning. Since its founding, the CoP has done this by engaging collectively with development practitioners, collating, and sharing information, providing strategic guidance and advice, developing practical tools, providing training workshops, promoting new studies/research, and perhaps most importantly creating a safe space for frank conversations and exchange of ideas, the sharing of experiences, and learning.
Through our various activities, to the TWP CoP offers:
- A safe space for members bringing donors, implementers, civil society representatives and researchers together to have challenging discussions together, on an individual basis rather than on behalf of their organisations.
- A peer challenge and reaffirmation function encouraging members to keep asking hard questions and push the boundaries of knowledge and practice.
- Increased knowledge sharing on TWP among CoP member organisations and other relevant partners.
- A curation, synthesis and sharing of knowledge function, building on ongoing work and innovation in this area and capturing and applying lessons.
- The development and dissemination of guidance and tools for thinking and working politically across development and global affairs.
- A vehicle for policy influencing and advocacy
The TWP CoP is not just a space to discuss new ideas around the theory of TWP. Its main purpose is for practitioners to share experiences regarding how ‘TWP’ or ‘adaptive management’ is being applied in practice. It is also a mechanism to share evidence about what we think may be working, as well as what may not be, how and why, and to discuss and learn from innovative approaches that are being tested on the ground. CoP members have consistently found the Community useful for socialising and embedding TWP within their own organisations and for challenging emerging practice both within their agencies as well as further afield. It has provided a space to address organisational and incentive-based challenges to integration of TWP into policy and programming, including by bringing in members from different professional areas and sectors and those designing, implementing, managing and evaluating development programmes.
Structure of the TWP CoP
The TWP CoP is open to anyone who is interested in joining, with no formal membership process. The only requirement is that members adhere to the principle that the CoP should focus on providing a platform for sharing and learning among individuals and organisations. Members are encouraged to exchange information with other community members and to take part in CoP activities. If you would like to join the Community, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Steering Committee provides guidance on the TWP CoP strategic and partnership approach. The Steering Committee consists of leading experts from the research, policy and practitioner communities with an established track record of innovation in politically informed programming, influencing policy and producing evidence. Two co-chairs, elected by the members of the Steering Committee, will lead the Steering Committee.
The TWP CoP Secretariat, hosted in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham, provides the strategic direction of the TWP CoP and takes the lead on programme management, the coordination and implementation of CoP activities, and communications.
The TWP Community of Practice also has a smaller branch based in Washington DC. The DC Working Group is an informal group of development practitioners who work to ensure that development efforts better understand and engage with the local contexts in which we operate, utilizing a thinking and working politically (TWP) approach. We are a volunteer group, consisting of individuals who work mainly, but not exclusively, in organizations that design and implement US Government funded development efforts. Our objectives are learning, coordination, and advocacy of all things TWP. The TWP COP DC Working Group organizes events and creates knowledge products on a wide variety of topics related to TWP. In the last year, events included a fireside chat with COPs from three USAID projects on operationalizing TWP as well as a discussion on integrating TWP in biodiversity projects.
If you would like to join the TWP COP DC Working Group and receive our regular newsletters, please contact us at email@example.com.