Open discussion forum for sanitation grantees of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Phase 2 approved)
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TOPIC: Open discussion forum for sanitation grantees of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Phase 2 approved)

Results from small survey amongst sanitation grantees about using discussion forum 31 Mar 2014 20:05 #8045

  • muench
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[This is the start of Page 2 of the discussion. You can access the other pages with the blue square buttons at the bottom of this page.]

We recently carried out a small survey amongst the sanitation grantees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to find out how they rate using the SuSanA discussion forum to disseminate and discuss their research results.
With this post I want to share the findings from this little survey (it contained 10 questions, was sent to 135 grantees, 61 of whom responded - response rate of 45%).

Overall results of the survey, interpretations and way forward: (see attached report for more details):
  • The interest in the Discussion Forum can be summarized as filling two vital functions: participation using a networking tool to keep in touch with others and a content-driven or knowledge management tool (in conjunction with the SuSanA library).
  • The relevance and importance of the Discussion Forum in the work of the grantees comes out clearly.
  • The relevance of the webinars to the grantees is also obvious, with many stating that they have participated in or viewed them or would like to participate in future webinars.
  • The survey revealed relatively good participation and interest. The survey shows clearly that SEI has accomplished the phase one very well and met all the project objectives.
  • Hurdles for engagement of some grantees with the SuSanA Discussion Forum were found to be lack of time, unwillingness to use “social media” (such as an open discussion forum), preference for traditional ways of disseminating research results (e.g. by publishing peer-reviewed journal papers) and uncertainty on behalf of some grantees regarding who is going to be addressed in the Forum.
  • Regarding the need for site improvements, these varied from no need at all, to navigation and more tailor-made e-mail digests.
  • Improvements in navigation have been requested by some people; therefore this could be something to work on in Phase 2. People did not specify what they meant though, so we will have to delve into detailed discussions with the grantees to understand what they find difficult about the Forum (it could be the case that those who use the Forum only rarely find it difficult to navigate around. But once one uses it more regularly one gets used to it and finds it easy).
  • It would be useful to segment the users into categories. For example, practitioners like to maintain social contact while some researchers are more interested in disseminating their results. There are also lots of new students and other people entering this field due to the BMGF funding options and publicity. They all have different information and knowledge needs, and certain trade-offs will be required (more detail / less detail; more frequently / less frequently, etc.). Once user groups and their needs are better understood, the next task is investigating how to satisfy the different categories within a single site without losing the effect of catalyzing exchange and mutual learning in between those distinct user groups.

One example result for Question 7: "What do you like about the SuSanA Discussion Forum? Check all that apply":

-------
Relevance of content to my work 65% 36
Variety of content, i.e. wide range of topics 51% 28
It helps me to be in contact with others (researchers, practitioners) who have the same focus and interest. 47% 26
The friendly and supportive atmosphere 45% 25
Richness of content i.e. detailed information 38% 21
High quality of posts, discussions are well deliberated and balanced 20% 11
Easy to navigate 20% 11
Easy to collaborate 20% 11
I get high quality feedback, comments and answers from others 15% 8
None of the above (I don't like the SuSanA Discussion Forum at all) 11% 6
---------


Maybe some of you find the survey results interesting. For us at the SEI team who have the task to help/encourage grantees with using the forum, the results were very interesting - and generally very positive.

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. Personally, I quite enjoy running surveys for the feedback that they provide and I also enjoy taking part in them. I could envision a larger survey amongst all SuSanA members one of these days to get feedback on certain aspects of the discussion forum so that it can be improved further.
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Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects?search=SEI)
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

Frankfurt, Germany
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter: @EvMuench, website: www.ostella.de
Last Edit: 14 Jul 2014 12:25 by muench.

Co-funding approved for SuSanA Discussion Forum 14 Jul 2014 12:17 #9342

  • muench
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I have good news for the SuSanA Discussion Forum today: You might have already seen it on the Sanitation Updates blog and e-mail alert: our application to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for follow-up funding for our grant that brings sanitation grantees to the SuSanA discussion forum has been approved! I am personally very happy about this, because I will now continue to be part of the SEI team to deliver this project, like I have been since the end of 2012. The other team members for this Phase 2 are Arno Rosemarin (he is the project leader) and his colleague Kim Andersson.

You can read about Phase 1 of the grant in this thread if you scrol up to the previous posts or you can also see an overview here:
susana.org/lang-en/research/funded-by-bi...nda-gates-foundation

Reports from Phase 1 are also available here:
susana.org/lang-en/library/library?view=...p;type=2&id=2042

Information about this new Phase 2 (running from now until end of 2015) is in this information release on Sanitation Updates:

Further co-funding for the SuSanA Discussion Forum
Full article: sanitationupdates.wordpress.com/2014/07/...na-discussion-forum/

I copy here a part of it:

Phase 2 of this project is aimed at increasing the level of awareness, knowledge dissemination and sharing of research and implementation results in the areas of sanitation science and technology, urban sanitation businesses, demand creation, policy and advocacy. It will contribute to the knowledge management and dissemination that the Gates Foundation is carrying out for its innovative sanitation and hygiene projects.

The activities of the grant will support the following outputs:
  1. Make the SuSanA Discussion Forum into a highly accessible, comprehensive and authoritative workplace for the sanitation, water and hygiene community around the world.
  2. Ensure that the kernels of knowledge arising from the many innovative projects funded by the Gates Foundation’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene strategy are put into the hands of the professional community with the aim to disseminate, implement and scale up.
  3. Catalyze communication among professionals within the sanitation community in order to enhance learning and exchange of experience.


The more detailed information release by SEI is attached below.

What does this actually mean for you, as a forum user?

  • I will remain as the chief community moderator (if this title fits) for another year and a half. So expect to see more posts and "moderator's comments" as well as e-mails from me (and from Arno and Kim) in the future. I will continue to do this work in close cooperation with the SuSanA secretariat at GIZ, i.e. Trevor Surridge and his team. It is my firm belief that good moderation is key to a successful discussion forum. See also this paper on reader-focused moderation which we can get some hints from: journal.km4dev.org/index.php/km4dj/article/view/96
  • We plan to implement some of the (IT related) improvements that people suggested here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/148-yo...orum-software-issues as well as here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/148-yo...quality-of-the-forum . Any suggestions that you have for improving the forum, please continue to place them here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/148-yo...vements-of-the-forum .
  • In the near future we will run a user survey to collect hopefully lots of feedback and suggestions for improvements from a large sample of users (the survey will be sent out to all 3800 registered users).
  • We will bring to your more information - and discussions! - about the sanitation grants in the science & technology section (e.g. Reinvent the Toilet Challenge) but also from the other programmatic areas of the Gates Foundation's WSH strategy, namely urban sanitation businesses, demand creation, policy and advocacy.
  • We might change around the forum categories and icons a bit; the previously separate category for the Gates Foundation grants (forum.susana.org/forum/categories/96-inn...ience-and-technology) we might weave into the rest of the categories. This is something we still need to look into very carefully.
  • We have plans to make the forum more user friendly for beginners, e.g. by providing links to "beginner readings", putting up videos on "how to navigate and search", making the search options more visible and alike.
  • We plan to run more webinars with grantees and SuSanA members, as well as bring to you more recorded interviews at sanitation conferences or major events such as these: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0gMdVBup...-6zco4XpTjxKcsB7UDW.

Finally, as I wrote for the statement on Sanitation Updates - and I hope you have a similar sentiment:
We are proud of the fact that the work that SuSanA members and the SuSanA secretariat have collectively put into this network since 2007, and into the Discussion Forum in particular since 2011, is being recognised by an important actor, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation!

Kind regards,
Elisabeth
(and Arno Rosemarin)

P.S. You can see the grant (Phase 2) here in the Gates Foundation grants database:
www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quic...s/2014/07/OPP1111498
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Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Community manager of this forum via SEI
(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects?search=SEI)
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

Frankfurt, Germany
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter: @EvMuench, website: www.ostella.de
Last Edit: 16 Jul 2014 11:36 by muench.
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