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In 2013, the VVLead Fellowship launched its first peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange in New Delhi, India with 11 women leaders from four countries. Since that time, we have organized seven exchanges on five continents with women leaders working across sectors, issue areas and countries.

These exchanges are, in their most technical terms, “structured, non-hierarchical interactions that facilitate peer-to-peer learning” – academic sounding, but entirely practical and immediately applicable in nature. Through the VVLead Fellowship Program, a three-year initiative funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), Vital Voices has incorporated P2P exchange as a core program activity in order to foster expanded networks; enhanced knowledge; and extended avenues for collaboration.

The peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange methodology has the potential to upend traditional methods of learning, networking, leadership development and partnership building.

Through the course of the past two years, this iterative program development and implementation process, paired with a six-month research project, has strengthened our understanding with regard to the best practices and learnings surrounding P2P exchange.

We are pleased to share these findings with program designers and implementers in the nonprofit sector and beyond and hope that the practice notes, “Best Practices for Designing Learning Exchanges,” and white paper, “The Effectiveness of Peer-to-Peer Exchange as a Tool for Women’s Leadership Development,” released herein will serve to:

  • Strengthen programs;
  • Enhance the exchange experience;
  • Fill gaps in existing literature; and
  • Amplify the dialogue around this important methodology.

Finally, while the findings presented come through working exclusively with women leaders, we recognize the opportunity to transfer these practices to a broader audience and we look forward to your feedback and engagement in the important conversation regarding P2P exchange and peer learning.