The USAID-funded Knowledge-Driven Microenterprise Development (KDMD) project (May 14th, 2008 -October 30th, 2013), managed and implemented by QED, has revolutionized the way development practitioners connect with each other, significantly influencing how knowledge management is understood across USAID, as well as within the larger global development community.
KDMD was originally created as a knowledge management project under the former USAID Microenterprise Development office with the purpose of helping international development practitioners learn, coordinate, and distribute foreign assistance more effectively. The QED team began with just eight full-time staff assisting USAID in the management of seminars and creation of learning products. However, as the project gained recognition for the quality and importance of this work, 12 additional USAID buy-ins signed onto our project and our staff grew three-fold, while procuring funding of over $33.2 million over the 5-year performance period. To read more about the Impact of the Project, please visit the KDMD Final Report.
Along the way, KDMD increased its skill set to encompass innovative learning techniques such as facilitating online seminar participation, using social media to share best practices, and creating online learning communities. This “blended learning approach” to training combines in-person and online interaction to drive the highest learning impact. Blended learning approaches move beyond the traditional classroom setting to include participatory and self-paced modules, interactive and stand-alone courses, videos, webinars, and other distance learning techniques. As the field of knowledge management has evolved, the project team stayed informed of leading trends and opportunities to engage international development stakeholders in new and creative ways that foster learning and maximize the impact of development efforts.
Over the years, KDMD played a major role in promoting knowledge management and learning at USAID and in the broader international development community. Our knowledge products have attracted thousands of participants, users, and viewers. As knowledge management practitioners, the team made it a priority to continuously adapt to USAID’s needs in order to ensure better development outcomes, which was critical to the project’s success.
This project has demonstrated that “knowledge management” is a technical field unto itself. Now more than ever, programs are being designed with a KM component to maximize learning and ultimately, to achieve better development outcomes.
To read more about how KDMD incorporated Adaptive Management visit the USAID Learning Lab L2: Learning about Learning series here.