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Seeing the World as a Network – Partners Meeting April 2013

by on April 23, 2013

As I write this week’s SWN email, I am in Washington, DC at one of our partners’ meetings. Twice a year, we get together for a face-to-face meeting to discuss how the project has been going, and what is coming in the next few months. Each of the partners is represented – usually by the team leader. On the first day, we meet with the USAID management team. They tell us about developments in USAID, like staffing changes and new policies. And we tell them about accomplishments in the project. This time we talked about the data use portfolio, PLACE studies, and the work in several countries (Bangladesh, Mali, Nepal, and Jamaica).

This time we also practiced a new way of talking about our work – at least new to us. We are aiming for brief descriptions that are free of technical jargon and that highlight why the achievement matters in the greater scheme of things. We actually did a pretty good job of it today. You will be seeing some examples in the coming months.

In the photo here, the group is taking a break between sessions. I forgot to take a photo while we were all in our seats (I was too engaged in the discussions). And this was towards the end of the day, so soon after this, everyone left and went home or to the hotel. But actually, very important conversations happen during breaks. You can barely see, for example, Bates Buckner just outside a door in back (red top, standing) talking with Krista Stewart, our AOR (Agreement Officer’s Representative).

Tomorrow, we continue the meeting with just the partner organizations. Our topics will include project close-out and associate awards. The mood of the meeting has been very up-beat – mostly because we are talking about very impressive achievements that many of you have contributed to. Tomorrow evening we all head home and back to our everyday work.

Jim

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