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Community Contribution

Turning a Gathering Into a Party: The DME for Peace Community-Building Conundrum


In 2015, staff from the Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation for Peacebuilding (DME for Peace) global community of practice recognized a need to better understand the target audience. To continue growing in useful and sustainable ways, we needed to learn more about our audience members’ contexts, attitudes toward our topics, and expectations for community, resources, and services. We undertook an expansive review of our audience, content, and engagement and used our findings to realign our approach to content creation and management. This review was so effective that we have transformed it into a continuous learning process focused on evidence-based decision making.

CLA Approach

  • Decision-Making: In the spring of 2016, we began an evidence-based content and activity management restructuring activity. The aim is to manage and inspire our community in a way that facilitates active engagement with DME for Peace resources and activities.
  • M&E for Learning: Our evidence-based decision-making process relies on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. These data are complemented by information gleaned from quarterly calls with all organizational partners to understand their interests and perceptions.
  • Adaptive Management: Through this data collection and analysis, we are shifting from a rigid structure to a more fluid mechanism that allows us to respond to the needs of our community and monitor developments in the field to maintain our widespread relevance.

Lessons Learned

  • Increasing active outreach and engagement is crucial. Through testing and experimenting, we gathered evidence on what the users of our community respond to and learned how essential messaging is to inspire active engagement.


  • We shifted our focus from the facilitation of discussion forums to interactive events, such as webinars and engagement on wider social media channels, and placed a greater emphasis on improving user experience on the website.

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