This unit is about the documentation process when it comes to the media it shows that information can be stored effectively and for a long time.


Documentation of Best Practices and Cases



  • To understand the what documentation is
  • To appreciate the importance of documentation
  • To improve upon participants? documentation skills
  • To appreciate the process of documentation

What is Documentation

A process of collecting Information, data, views, knowledge for future use.

Better understood in the context of an organisation in need of collecting and sharing about its activities/projects

  • Collection
  • Storage
  • Sharing

The process of providing evidence

How do we document

  • Writing (printed documents
  • Photos (CDs, DVDs, online, albums, printouts
  • Video (tapes, DVDs, online, memory cards, etc
  • Audio (tapes, DVDs, online, memory cards, etc
  • Future reference and sharing key


Why do we Document?

To Provide evidence and example: one of the significant barriers to knowledge sharing and reapplication of experience is the limited culture of information and knowledge documentation and sharing.

Although relevant knowledge may exist in people’s minds, it cannot always be tapped or may exist in formats that hamper people?s ability to know it or find it.

Sharing: Best practices can be picked on by the media, the leading channels of news and information delivery.

Why document?

—Share best Practices: Making knowledge of such actions widely available may prevent the repetition of mistakes and loss of valuable time. Thus, the main rationale for documenting and sharing “Best Practices” is to enable persons and organizations working in the health sector to avoid “re-inventing the wheel”; to “learn in order to improve performance” and; to “avoid the mistakes of others”.

Documenting and sharing “Best Practices” affords one the opportunity to acquire knowledge about lessons learned and to continue learning about how to improve and adapt strategies and activities through feedback, reflection and analysis in order to implement larger-scale, sustained, and more effective interventions.

A commitment to using a “Best Practice” is a commitment to using the body of knowledge and technology at one’s disposal to ensure success..

So, what is a best Practice? 

—A “Best Practice” is commonly defined as “a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven reliably to lead to a desired result.2The term is used frequently in areas such as health, government administration, the education system, project management, and others.

—A “Best Practice” could be related to the implementation of a programme, a project, a policy, a legislation, a strategy, an activity, a manual, etc.

—What makes a best practice

—Standard way of Doing things:  best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. In addition, a “best” practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered.

Best practice is considered by some as a business buzzword, used to describe the process of developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple organizations can use.

Identifying and documenting best practices

Identifying “Best Practices” involves judgment. Such judgments require prior analysis using the following set of criteria:

  • —effectiveness,
  • —efficiency,
  • —relevance,
  • —ethical soundness,
  • —sustainability,
  • —possibility of duplication,
  • —partnership,
  • —community involvement,
  • —Political commitment.

—Effectiveness: This is a fundamental criterion implicit in the definition. The practice must work and achieve results that are measurable.

—Efficiency: The proposed practice must produce results with a reasonable level of resources and time.

—Relevance: The proposed practice must address the priority concerns in the sector…shelter and housing

—Ethical soundness: The practice must respect the current rules of ethics for dealing with human populations.

—Sustainability: The proposed practice must be implementable over a long period of time without any massive injection of additional resources.

—Possibility of The proposed practice, as carried out, must be replicable

—duplication: elsewhere in the Region.

—Involvement of partnerships: The proposed practice must involve satisfactory         collaboration between several stakeholders.

—Community The proposed practice must involve participation of the affected

—involvement: communities.

—Political commitment The proposed practice must have support from the relevant national or local authorities.

What to remember:

—By definition, a “Best Practices” should meet at least the “effectiveness”, “efficiency” and “relevance” criteria in addition to one or more of the other criteria.

—A “Best Practice” needs not meet all the above criteria. This is because a “Best Practice” can be anything that works to produce results without using inordinate resources, in full or in part, and that can be useful in providing lessons learned.

How to Present a Documentation

To ensure readability and a clear presentation of what makes a practice innovative, interesting, informative and, indeed, a “Best Practice”, the following format should be used:

—(a) Title of the “Best Practice”

—This should be concise and reflect the practice being documented.

—(b) Introduction

—This should provide the context and justification for the practice and address the following issues:

—- what is the problem being addressed?

—- which population is being affected?

—- how is the problem impacting on the population?

—- what were the objectives being achieved?

(c) Implementation of the Practice

—- what are the main activities carried out?

—- when and where were the activities carried out?

—- who were the key implementers and collaborators?

—- what were the resource implications?

(d) Results of the Practice – Outputs and Outcomes

—- what were the concrete results achieved in terms of outputs and outcomes?

—- was an assessment of the practice carried out? If yes, what were the results?

(e) Lessons Learnt

—- what worked really well – what facilitated this?

—- what did not work – why did it not work?

(f) Conclusion

—- how have the results benefited the population?

—- why may that intervention be considered a “Best Practice”?

—- recommendations for those intending to adopt the documented “Best Practice”

—or how it can help people working on the same issue(s).

—(g) Further Reading

—- provide a list of references (not more than six) that give additional information on the “Best Practice” for those who may be interested in how the results have benefited the population.

—Sharing Best Practices

—Disseminating and sharing best practices

  • —organisation policy of information sharing processes
  • —website publishing
  • —in newsletters
  • —press relases to media
  • —In meetings and workshops/conferences
  • —CD roms//DVDs
  • —leaflets/brochures
  • —Advertisements/supplements
  • —Articles in the media or
  • —radio/tvprogrammes o documentaries
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