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Connecting for Social Change: An exploratory study of virtual Communities of Practice for the advancement of Menstrual Health
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), School of Arts and Communication (K3).
2021 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Development actors are increasingly following managerial paradigms, in attempts to improve upward accountability to funders as well as create better social value for the communities they serve. Doing so requires an understanding of the levers and mechanisms that enable positive social change. In this context, the knowledge that is created during the pursuit of development goals is seen as a valuable resource, as actors come together to share best practices and lessons learned thus building upon a common knowledge base. Learning and networking is viewed as a promising source for positive social change. This research looks at the development of a Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP) for the advancement of menstrual health. Ideally, belonging to a community of practice provides practitioners with the resources needed to better carry out their work. Madami is a social innovation agency, providing consulting services in the field of menstrual health. The Menstrual Health Hub – a product of Madami - is soon to be re-launched as a virtual learning and networking platform, an online space for actors1 working for the achievement of menstrual health. This research draws from the literature on communities of practice (CoP) to examine the Menstrual Health Hub as an evolving VCoP. It outlines a CoP’s structural elements – the domain, the community and the practice – as well as the different stages of a CoP lifecycle. For primary research, a mixed methods approach was taken, using participant observation, interviews and informal conversations as well as a quantitative analysis of the Hub’s current members. This was supplemented by secondary research including surveys and reports. Findings show that this particular community is predominantly made up of small non-profits and social enterprises clustered mainly in North America, East Africa and Southern Asia. A commonly stated challenge of current members is a general lack of funds. In response, the organization aims to play an active role in brokering financial relationships between funders/investors and those seeking funding. Through the Hub, Madami aims to professionalize the menstrual health space, by providing the community to with access to the resources and social capital needed to better carry out their work. However, it is currently too early to define the impact and the actual benefit that the MH Hub will have for its members remains to be measured post-launch.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021. , p. 56
Keywords [en]
Virtual Communities of Practice, Menstrual Health
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-43423OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-43423DiVA, id: diva2:1566125
External cooperation
The Menstrual Health Hub/ Madami
Educational program
KS K3 Communication for development
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2021-06-30 Created: 2021-06-14 Last updated: 2021-06-30Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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