Building collaboration through shared actions: the experience of the global network for disaster reduction
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This article asks how the emergent Global Network for Disaster Reduction has built collaboration and impact. Observation of the network’s journey nuanced the researcher’s initial hypothesis in marked ways. A ‘reflective practitioner’ perspective is adopted, locating action within two relevant theoretical frameworks to aid understanding and define future progress. Development showed an early emphasis on a ‘community of practice’ model. However, this appeared ineffective in creating the intended collaboration and led to the recognition of the power of shared action. This observation is framed within the thinking of Freire (1996) on action and reflection as a means of empowerment. The political dimension of the network’s activity is recognised, and is related to Gaventa’s (1980) thinking on the creation of political space. The article attempts to show that combining cycles of action and reflection in the network’s activity (i.e. creating a practitioner focus) with a wider investigation of relevant literature and thinking can be helpful in framing understanding and determining future strategy. It concludes by suggesting that a proposed framework of ‘communities of praxis’ may have a broader application in the development of networks.