Facilitating exceptional conservation results


Paquita worked with the Conservation Finance Alliance to organize the design and early population of an online “Tool Kit” for environmental funds (http://toolkit.conservationfinance.org/). She collected over 200 documents from 28 funds from around the world and organized them for web access to enhance knowledge sharing and capacity building. Paquita took full advantage of her deep knowledge of organizational capacity building, her strong contacts within the environmental fund community, and her passion for knowledge sharing across boundaries to advance this project. Most of all, she was able to engage the project’s committee, composed of four busy people from different countries, with her focused and practical way of working. We’re very happy that we selected her to this project and hope to work with her again in future projects!
Camila Monteiro, Conservation Finance Alliance Secretariat

Organizations and networks can create an environment for knowledge sharing to help participants do their work more effectively – or not.  Unfortunately, for all of us working in ecosystem conservation, as W. Edwards Deming says, “Learning is not compulsory – either is survival.”  Thus, there is a constant need to attain new knowledge that  advances practitioner's professional growth as well as our organization’s' ability to advance effective strategies for ecosystem conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Aligning Vision's approach is highly facilitative and focuses on engaging training and sharing events (see capacity building).  In addition to up-front group work, I also help  help networks and organizations:

  • Share information and knowledge through websites, publications, and on-line libraries;
  • Document and validate strategies that have measurable results and then identify best practices; and
  • Research and develop new strategies and forge innovations.

An implicit assumption in my work is that organizations and networks do best if they have well-established mechanisms for sharing information.  Knowledge sharing is a fundamental building block for enhancing network value and forging increased member confidence, trust, and dialogue. With greater shared understanding, practitioners develop an appreciation for collaborative opportunities where experimenting with strategic innovations or applying new principles can flow more readily. Aligning Visions has used surveys, interviews, formal evaluations, and facilitated meetings to identify the systems and methodologies in place to support knowledge sharing.  The link between the types of learning that your systems and organizational culture encourage, and participant's learning style preferences are also researched.  Specific areas that are addressed include:

  1. Relationship-based learning (e.g. mentors, peer networks, supervisors etc);
  2. Experience-based learning (e.g. field visits, job challenges, team assignments etc.) ;
  3. Formal learning opportunities (e.g. training, orientations, workshops, retreats, etc.); and
  4. Resource-based learning (e.g. access to memberships, publications, libraries, databases, etc.). 

Finally, Aligning Visions looks at the issue of "sharing" vs. "hoarding" knowledge.  Human Resource practices, Information Systems approaches, Network cultures, and time allocations all serve as incentives (or disincentives) for encouraging participants to share information, help others be successful, and engage peers in collaborative processes.

Paquita was asked to compile experiences and documentation from many years of history, from our own organization and others, to create a comprehensive “book” on good practices in partnership. Paquita is an absolute sleuth, she tracked down every conceivable person and resource, and then she organized a teeming mass of information into logical, manageable pieces. She has seemingly limitless energy and is an excellent project manager, driving multiple subsets of team members in a friendly but determined way that elicited the best possible responses from everyone involved. The project finished on time, and Paquita was very conscientious about cost management. I would hire Paquita again in a heartbeat.

Olivia Millard, Director of Global Partnerships, 
The Nature Conservancy

Paquita developed two manuals specifically for our organization — one on board development and one on strategic planning. These documents will be used for many years to come. Paquita also led helpful webinars to review and discuss the manuals with the board and staff of our 38 state affiliates.

Bill Bradlee, State Affiliates Coordinator, The Regeneration Project, Interfaith Power & Light

Please contact Aligning Visions about your knowledge-sharing goals:  Paquita@aligningvisions.com or 530-214-0565.

Training and facilitating exchanges among African Environmental Funds in Tanzania 2011.