Added Value of Networking
Demonstrating the Added Value of Networking
The value of networking to rural development policy is widely acknowledged with a growing body of informed opinion agreeing on the effectiveness of rural networks at engaging stakeholders and promoting the implementation of Rural Development Programmes (RDPs).
Joint NRN Action
National Rural Network’s (NRN) have pooled their resources to develop this web-based resource illustrating the current state of knowledge regarding the added value of networking in rural development policy. The common methodology proposed by the ENRD focuses on: a) common network statistics; and b) network success stories. The purpose of this straightforward approach is to give an insight into what the NRNs are doing and how the relative success of these activities is understood by managers of Network Support Units.
The following information will be regularly updated.
In addition, the NRN self-assessment tool-kit allows NRNs to present and exchange information about the range of different approaches, techniques and practical tools used to monitor progress and assess performance of networking activities.
The common network statistics initiative
The common network statistics initiative was launched to provide insight into the quantitative outputs used and developed by NRNs. In April 2012 the first set of data was received from participating NRNs. It focuses on four of the six key elements of networking – effective stakeholder engagement through network communications, exchange of relevant experience and know-how, capacity building and training, and support for cooperation and joint actions. These quantitative results highlight the high levels of stakeholder engagement and development achieved by the NRNs.
NRN mapping report
This document reports on the second round of the NRN mapping exercise , which updated country information collected separately by EU Member State. The report explores the different types of NRN structure and seeks to identify clusters of networks based on their activities or the methodologies and tools they apply.
Working paper on NRN programmes
The purpose of the working paper developed by the European Evaluation Network (EEN) is to support the exchange of information about evaluation, to explore the challenges in evaluating networks and to highlight the approaches used. It is based on the experience of four NRNs.
This review provides a synopsis on the ‘added value’ of networking as identified by academic literature. It explores topics such as how networks and networking add value, the obstacles to developing and understanding this added value and how the benefits of networking might be more effectively measured.
Added value of networking – Experiences from the networks
To provide more in depth information on the added value of networking, NRNs have provided many examples of the work they carry out. These have been provided in the form of ‘Added Value of Networking Stories’ which are a mix of good practice examples, success stories, relevant experience and case studies.
These stories have been categorised by type and by the key networking elements they have delivered. This ensures that finding relevant stories in this growing body of information is easy.
Case study: Rural networks in the UK
The UK has developed a two-tier system for RDP networking involving four regional structures and a national umbrella network. This case study explores how they have evolved to meet the needs of their stakeholder groups in a rural context rife with competing networks and the role of the UK network as a conduit for the flow of information from the European Commission.
Case study: Bi-lateral cooperation between Hungary and Poland
Hungary and Poland have signed a joint agreement to work together to promote cooperation and disseminate best practice on a range of development themes. The nature and delivery of this bilateral networking is examined including how it has helped strengthen the existing networks and built new relationships between the two countries, encouraging the development of a similar agreement between Hungary and Slovakia.
Case study: Bottom-up networking around the Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea cluster emerged as a bottom-up process in parallel with the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). The activities of the cluster are linked to the strategy, focusing on issues identified by the networks. Eight countries participate in the cluster which focuses on sharing knowledge and experience amongst members. This study explores the processes involved and the cluster’s success factors.
Case study: Belgium-Walloon self-assessment process
The National Support Unit of the Walloon Network for Rural Development established a self-assessment process to evaluate the network and develop a three-year activity programme . This case study explores the process undertaken and the long-term impact.