About the technical team

National Societies across the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement have identified Organisational Learning as a key area for opportunity and improvement. As such, the Volunteering Alliance established an Organisational Learning Technical Team as one of its top five priorities. This technical team seeks to ensure that the Movement learns from the perspectives of its volunteers. In addition to the Volunteering Alliance’s Organizational Learning Technical Team, this work is co-championed by the IFRC’s Knowledge & Learning team.

Organizational learning is defined as: the manner in which the organization creates the right conditions and provides the right content for employees and volunteers to develop individually.

Additionally, a learning organization is one that acts as an organism – sharing information, learning from each other, and adjusting systems, processes, and mindsets to help the organization to move forward.

Organisational learning is the conscious attempt and continuous process of improving actions through better knowledge and understanding, and the collective ability to adapt and respond to change.

Risks of Inaction

An initial survey of National Societies found that the RCRC system tends to focus on top down transmission of knowledge and learning. Less focus is generally given to organisational learning, cultures of learning, learning loops and peer to peer social learning.

There are risks associated with this trajectory and inaction. Overlooking lessons learned through failure and experience puts the safety of volunteers and our beneficiaries at risk. Failure to innovate puts the Movement’s relevance and reputation at risk. Prioritizing learning and development is of critical importance to volunteers. Failure to emphasize learning puts volunteer retention and engagement at risk, and diminishes our competitive advantage. Another risk is that the current gap in knowledge will remain.

Composition of Technical Team

The Organizational Learning Technical Team is comprised of representatives and experts from the following organizations:

Bessy Valle, Honduras Red Cross

Carla Orizondo, Italian Red Cross

Christoph Mueller, German Red Cross

Fernando Rivera, Mexican Red Cross

Kristin Helz, American Red Cross

Lotte Katborg Grønning, Norwegian Red Cross

Michell Interiano, Honduras Red Cross

Mohammed Dada, Ethiopian Red Cross

Rafael A. de Arrascaeta, Mexican Red Cross

Roberta Fusacchia, Italian Red Cross

Roberta Annesi, Italian Red Cross

Sydney Morton, American Red Cross

Supported by:

Fred Fulton Berrios, IFRC

Ana Rebeca Diaz, IFRC Americas

Ernest Maruga, IFRC Africa

Ronald Sutedja & Peter Ophoff, IFRC Asia Pacific

To learn more or to join the Technical Team, please contact Fernando Rivera, National Volunteer Coordinator, Mexican Red Cross at crmcoordvolnal@gmail.com

Next steps and Key Outputs

Building on the Global Review of Volunteering, the Organisational Learning Technical Team seeks to assess the current state of organizational learning through a survey administered by National Societies. The Technical Team will develop a toolkit for National Societies to use and adapt in surveying their management, branch staff and volunteers.

Technical Team experts will support in compiling data, reporting on the current state of learning across the Movement.  Steps here include:

  • Compiling and cleaning the database to ensure that the data is sound and complete.
  • Analyzing the data to create a baseline for all participants from all national organizations, , as well as baselines for organizations with enough participants.
  • Identifying the areas of strength and potential opportunities for development, from a global standpoint. This data will also identify those organizations that should be interviewed to gather best practices that can be shared more broadly.
  • Identifying any risks on a global level, as well as on a national organization level.
  • Identifying differences in sentiment between levels and/or staff or volunteers. Providing this information to national organizations can help them identify next steps for developments within the organization.

Once analysis is complete, potential outputs and next steps include:

  • Report on the greatest gaps, risks, strengths and opportunities facing the Movement around organizational learning. This information will serve as a baseline and illustrate the current state of organisational learning.
  • Identify global best practices that can be adopted and adapted across the Movement.
  • Draft IFRC policy/mandate for Organisational Learning
  • Budget and identify resources to support the Movement in improved organizational learning, based on the gaps and opportunities.
  • Develop a follow-up survey for National Societies to administer over time to track progress.