Building and supporting networks is central to the advancement of democracy, expansion of human rights, and establishment of good governance. Networks offer an array of potential benefits that empower participants, from knowledge sharing to the facilitation of advocacy efforts. They can also be vital to ensuring an intervention creates sustainable results that continue beyond the life of the project.  

While their value is evident, there are many under-researched decision points that go into designing and implementing a network-based program. When is a networks-based approach most appropriate? What type of network fits the needs and goals of stakeholders? How precise should its goal be? Who should be part of it? How should it be organized?  

To help practitioners answer these questions, the Evidence and Learning Practice within the International Republican Institute (IRI) developed the Networks Field Guide (NFG). The NFG uses evidence from an ex-post evaluation series, academic research, and implementer experience to provide guidance on designing, implementing, and evaluating effective networks-based programs. The goal of the NFG is to help DRG stakeholders – including funders, implementers, and members – develop effective networks-based programming that achieves sustainable results even after the program ends. To do this, the NFG contains frameworks and guidance applicable to every phase of the program cycle. 

IRI is pleased to make the NFG publicly available to assist the future work of DRG practitioners.

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