Operationalising bottom-up learning in international NGOs: barriers and alternatives

This article proposes Bottom-Up Learning as a normative framework for international NGOs. It explores the common but often unacknowledged disparity between organisational values and mission versus actual practice. The first section of the paper raises the question of organisational learning disorders followed by an exploration of learning organisations and bottom-up learning in particular. A section briefly summarising positive developments in the field is followed by discussions of organisational barriers and possible mitigation techniques. The paper closes with a challenge for international NGOs to take a closer look at their learning capabilities with a view to improving service to communities of need. This article is freely available as a chapter in Development Methods and Approaches: Critical Reflections