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Student (Internship) Communities of Practice


We are looking for a student from the Communications Department of Wageningen University for an internship, preferably with an ecology background.




Wetlands International is a global network organisation with currently offices in 18 countries and over 150 staff. Our mission is to sustain and restore wetlands, their resources and biodiversity. Currently, sharing of knowledge within the network is largely limited to individual projects (in which sometimes several country offices participate) and does not systematically and sufficiently happen across projects and across offices. We have therefore chosen to set up Communities of Practice (CoP) specifically to foster exchange between practitioners across the network who work on similar issues. A combination of online and real life exchange is necessary and enables linking up with external stakeholders. In 2012, Wetlands International has started two communities of practice; with about 10 active participants in each community to improve the quality of the implementation of the Strategic Intent through better use of knowledge, experiences and peoples capacities. An additional CoP is planned for a partnership programme, led by Wetlands International in the South and East Mediterranean, starting in 2013.

The objectives of the Communities of Practice are:

1 Two Communities of Practice on 1) Coastal Resilience and on 2) Water management established and operational in the global network by the end of 2012

2 sharing of knowledge, lessons, insights and connect people, esp. practitioners across the network who work on similar issues, leading to added value to our on-going work,

3 know and communicate our track record, including learning we may not be aware of and innovations we made and use that for replication of best practices and review of strategy

4 map the landscape: know what is going on in our field of interest, leading to the identification of resource development opportunities, new partnerships and strategy review

5 Prioritise strategic interventions and initiate joint activities across offices (events, advocacy, programmes)

An online space, ‘huddle’, is used to foster discussions, develop wikis, work together on and share documents and to plan and conduct online (skype) meetings. Besides the active participants, all 100 + wetlands staff have access to this space. In addition to online work, 1 live meeting is planned in the course of 2012. Since this is a new way of working for Wetlands International, an external facilitator is supporting the kick-off of the process in the initial months and will introduce working methods that stimulate learning and production of knowledge as well as support active and good quality participation of all involved.

Profile student

We are looking for a student for an internship from the Communications Dept of Wageningen University, preferably with an ecology background.

Tasks of the student

1) Document what is happening in the CoP: activities; tools and working methods used; key moments determining the (in)activeness of the CoP; lessons learned; do’s and don’ts

2) Support the facilitator of the CoPs

3) Participate in the development of products, eg developing passionate stories.

4) Evaluate the success of the newly introduced communities of Practice in the WI network. This evaluation can be undertaken while the CoP is active, and does not have to happen at the end. Focus is on:

  • Effectiveness: have the objectives been met in terms of 1) the products (to be defined by the CoP) to be delivered and 2) perception of participants in CoP 3) contribution of CoPs to knowledge mobilisation in the organisation


  • Process: what strategies, methods, tools, proved successful to maintain active engagement by participants? What should we NOT do?

  • Efficiency: the focus on online knowledge sharing is partly because of its low-cost nature. Can the CoP be considered an efficient way of learning and sharing knowledge? Phasing, rhythm of activities, including live meeting ok?

This will include recommendations for setting up future CoPs in Wetlands International and may involve a survey on cooperation in the network. Such a survey was done mid 2011 as a baseline, repeating the same survey can show whether perceptions of staff have changed regarding cooperation in the network.

5) possibly in addition:- take initiatives outside the 2 CoPs to strengthen online internal communication within Wetlands International

Time frame

From Sept 2012 – Dec 2012 and from 2013 to support the Mediterranean Programme