Engage with GDLN

A New Affiliation Strategy for GDLN

To support the further development of the GDLN as a high quality knowledge and learning service network, the GDLN Global Board has adopted a new network affiliation management strategy during its September 2012 meeting. This strategy will facilitate the expansion of GDLN into a more open and diverse global network for development learning. The new strategy accepts that all existing members of GDLN remain network Affiliates, while committing themselves to the membership engagement and performance management as stipulated in this strategy. While the World Bank remains an important partner of GDLN, this strategy represents an important shift towards a network and membership arrangement governed by the GDLN Global Board, with important implementation and management responsibilities for the Regional Associations.

GDLN in a Nutshell
GDLN is a partnership initiated by the World Bank, of affiliated institutions that facilitate knowledge exchange and capacity building in developing countries. Twelve years into its existence, GDLN has become a thriving network of networks with:

  • a global reach through its 120+ partners (GDLN Affiliates) in 80 countries;
  • a strong track record and brand as a channel for development learning and knowledge exchange, mainly through videoconference-based and blended learning activities;
  • a rich and diverse membership including universities, think tanks, governmental organizations, etc, with a high degree of commitment to horizontal partnerships.

GDLN is increasingly linked to the global South-South agenda and its innovative way of doing development cooperation. It creates opportunities to connect with and engage in joint development learning and knowledge exchange activities. It offers its members an attractive platform to work with like-minded development learning organizations around the world. At the regional level, the network is governed by its Regional Associations, while the GDLN Board is responsible on the global level.

Who can become a GDLN Affiliate?
GDLN is open to any institution (legal entity) that meets the following set of criteria:

  • The applicant needs to demonstrate at least one of the three GDLN core competencies :
  1. The brokering and/or provision of relevant sources of development content and expertise
  2. The design and packaging of content and expertise into effective knowledge and learning programs and activities (blended learning)
  3. The systematic delivery of those programs using a wide range of appropriate methods and technologies.
  • The applicant must show commitment to work in partnership with other GDLN Affiliates in planning and implementing activities.
  • The applicant must show evidence of having experience in the field of development learning (learning within an international development context) or commitment to invest in development learning activities.
  • The applicant must demonstrate it can bring added value to the GDLN.
  • Finally the applicant must present two references, preferably from existing GDLN Affiliates or other development organizations, supporting the above criteria.

How to become a GDLN Affiliate?
When a potential Affiliate believes it meets the above mentioned criteria, an official application can be submitted. This includes the following steps:

  1. Applicant fills in the online application form, providing information and answering questions that cover the access criteria mentioned above and submit this to the concerned Regional Association.
  2. The application will be processed by the concerned GDLN Regional Association who will review and verify the information provided by the applicant. The Regional Association may decide to request additional information if any point needs to be clarified.
  3. The concerned Regional Association will identify the core competences of the applicant and take a final decision on the application. This decision will be forwarded to the responsible regional representative of the Global Board. The Regional Association will also inform the Global Secretariat.
  4. The applicant will be invited to become a member of the concerned Regional Association. A signed agreement can be part of this obligation.
  5. Upon acceptance, an official confirmation letter will be sent to the applicant by the Regional Association, together with an official welcome letter signed by the chair of the GDLN Board. The GDLN membership will be for a 3 year period and is in principle automatically renewed.
  6. Regional Associations will report on a regular basis to the Global Board on the progress of the application process, including an overview of GDLN Affiliates who joined recently.


The information provided by the Affiliate will also be used to create the profile of the Affiliate on GDLN Global Online, the global community platform and shared with the other GDLN Affiliates.

The GDLN standards
This affiliation strategy facilitates GDLN’s commitment to continue to grow into a quality development learning network that is attractive for both clients and Affiliates. Opening up the network for new Affiliates and stimulating interactions in the network will ultimately generate more business opportunities for the Affiliates.
To reach this, all GDLN Affiliates (existing and new) commit themselves to:

  1. A minimum level of membership engagement in the network, through actively initiating and/or participating in joint GDLN activities. Also, Affiliates commit themselves to contribute to the GDLN decision making and collaborative processes and to get actively involved in the future development of the network (regional discussions, contributions on GDLN Global online, etc).
  2. To deliver various GDLN products and services in accordance with an agreed set of performance standards. This may entail feedback systems and the introduction of more formalized mechanisms to stimulate the exchange of information on the performance of Affiliates between Affiliates in a given region and eventually across regions.

The Regional Associations will be responsible for tracking both membership engagement and performance of Affiliates in their region and will summarize this in annual reports, to be submitted to the GDLN Global Board. A simple score card will be generated on an annual basis, and made available for all Affiliates, including ratings of green (3 or more GDLN activities per year), yellow (less than 3 activities per year) and red (zero activity). The Regional Associations are free to use their own tools and methods to collect the data from their Affiliates, including the Affiliate profile whenever it has been completed. The ultimate consequence for Affiliates which are underperforming and lacking willingness to improve would be a non-renewal of their membership.


Complete the GDLN Application Form