The way you learn is the way we do business.


 

   The way you learn is the way we do business.



United Nations – Communities of Practice



Helping Thousands of African Women
Overcome Serious Health Issues


Background

In the early 2000s, The United Nations received funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to implement programs in a way that would provide a state-of-the art mechanism to identify, capture, and share knowledge and learning to improve policy and program development and delivery. This was a new way of looking at sustaining value from contributions and of strengthening the UN’s impact across the world. To do so, the UN staff needed to be empowered to link and to learn from one another, and to break barriers, both on the international and professional level.


The UN identified quality health care as the first program to allocate resources to, as it was, and still is, a major global concern. Within global health care, one strategic program selected by the UN executive team was obstetric fistula, a severe gynecological condition that is caused by prolonged childbirth. As a result, babies most often die, and the women are permanently disabled and pushed out of society. This is prevalent in impoverished areas, mostly in Africa and Asia, and affects more than 200,000 women every year.


The Challenge

Once the program was identified, the challenge was to convince and empower community and country leaders to work together to establish medical facilities for obstetric fistula patients and create ongoing programs to address the medical condition based on known solutions.


The Solution

The UN special task force, supported by Escalys’ Tony Kuhel, gathered representatives from major African countries to create a community of practice (CoP). A CoP is a style of sharing, leveraging and producing cohesive collaborative action with diverse groups of people who share a common interest and desire for results. In this case, the African representatives were from different countries and held various position titles, and they came together because each had a vested, and in many cases, a very personal interest to reduce the number of obstetric fistula cases in their respective countries.

The CoP for obstetric fistulas traveled and collaborated throughout Africa to observe the problem first-hand. As the CoP developed a better understanding of the situation and built relationships in the countries, a process for implementing the program began to emerge and change began to take place consistent with the proven Escalys model. As a result, the CoP built medical facilities, held events, and leveraged relationships throughout participating countries to educate the community on obstetric fistulas, and promote saving lives and enhanced quality of life.


The Outcome

Since the creation of the CoP, practices have been put to work and continuously improved and shared, allowing for a self-sustaining solution to emerge. The impact of its efforts resonated through hundreds of villages throughout Africa. Tens of thousands of women received medical treatment for their condition, and in many cases, lives were saved and improved. Long-term medical facilities and village medical teams were also established, which were dedicated to treating obstetric fistulas. They also increased quality of life by linking remote locations into the global medical community provided by the UN. The program that was developed by the CoP adapted to what the communities needed at the time. As a result of Tony Kuhel’s guidance and coaching through the CoP development phase, the UN has since made CoPs a standard methodology for preserving and developing knowledge assets in many other areas of practice.

Helping Thousands of African Women
Overcome Serious Health Issues


Background

In the early 2000s, The United Nations received funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to implement programs in a way that would provide a state-of-the art mechanism to identify, capture, and share knowledge and learning to improve policy and program development and delivery. This was a new way of looking at sustaining value from contributions and of strengthening the UN’s impact across the world. To do so, the UN staff needed to be empowered to link and to learn from one another, and to break barriers, both on the international and professional level.


The UN identified quality health care as the first program to allocate resources to, as it was, and still is, a major global concern. Within global health care, one strategic program selected by the UN executive team was obstetric fistula, a severe gynecological condition that is caused by prolonged childbirth. As a result, babies most often die, and the women are permanently disabled and pushed out of society. This is prevalent in impoverished areas, mostly in Africa and Asia, and affects more than 200,000 women every year.


The Challenge

Once the program was identified, the challenge was to convince and empower community and country leaders to work together to establish medical facilities for obstetric fistula patients and create ongoing programs to address the medical condition based on known solutions.


The Solution

The UN special task force, supported by Escalys’ Tony Kuhel, gathered representatives from major African countries to create a community of practice (CoP). A CoP is a style of sharing, leveraging and producing cohesive collaborative action with diverse groups of people who share a common interest and desire for results. In this case, the African representatives were from different countries and held various position titles, and they came together because each had a vested, and in many cases, a very personal interest to reduce the number of obstetric fistula cases in their respective countries.

The CoP for obstetric fistulas traveled and collaborated throughout Africa to observe the problem first-hand. As the CoP developed a better understanding of the situation and built relationships in the countries, a process for implementing the program began to emerge and change began to take place consistent with the proven Escalys model. As a result, the CoP built medical facilities, held events, and leveraged relationships throughout participating countries to educate the community on obstetric fistulas, and promote saving lives and enhanced quality of life.


The Outcome

Since the creation of the CoP, practices have been put to work and continuously improved and shared, allowing for a self-sustaining solution to emerge. The impact of its efforts resonated through hundreds of villages throughout Africa. Tens of thousands of women received medical treatment for their condition, and in many cases, lives were saved and improved. Long-term medical facilities and village medical teams were also established, which were dedicated to treating obstetric fistulas. They also increased quality of life by linking remote locations into the global medical community provided by the UN. The program that was developed by the CoP adapted to what the communities needed at the time. As a result of Tony Kuhel’s guidance and coaching through the CoP development phase, the UN has since made CoPs a standard methodology for preserving and developing knowledge assets in many other areas of practice.