Holding ourselves accountable to inclusion in development through a Community of Practice: one organisation’s journey towards change

  • Margo Greenwood
  • Tracy Vaughan Gough
  • Andrea Pregel
  • Kate Bennell
Keywords: Community of practice, Sightsavers, diversity, inclusion, disability


In 2015, international NGO Sightsavers created an Empowerment and Inclusion Strategy with three pathways to mainstreaming disability inclusion within portfolio and operations: implementation of human rights policies, equality of opportunities and removal of stigma and discrimination. This inspired individuals within the organisation to form a Community of Practice (CoP) to scale up efforts to achieve diversity in the workplace. This paper charts the progress of the CoP in achieving its goal thus far: to facilitate a fully inclusive organisation through a coherent approach. It describes the community’s terms of reference, practical set-up and sub-groups, benefits identified for those involved, challenges so far and a discussion of the perceived value to date. Other experiences are raised such as what it means to be a CoP in an organisation deploying a specific inclusiveness agenda for particular groups, maintaining motivation and momentum, relationship with senior management, and establishing a budget. Through sharing Sightsavers’ journey towards change, the paper also contributes to ongoing discussions of how CoP knowledge sharing leads to capacity development.