Best Practices for Site Visits and Exchanges

This analysis suggests best practice and recommended steps to maximize the impact of onsite visits. Onsite visits have the potential to be a powerful tool for knowledge sharing, capacity building, network formation, and policy promotion. Such exchanges, site visits, study tours, and exposure visits have been widely used by development organizations, NGOs, and advocacy groups.

The analysis finds that to augment their impact, it is important to include participants in the design and preparation of the onsite visit. Continued, programmatic support is preferred to short term engagement. Many organizers feel strongly that if resources for follow up activities are lacking, then an onsite visit is not recommended. Investment in preparation is extremely important, and staff working on organizing visits should be well versed in local context, technical issues, and group dynamics. Organizing logistics can be very time consuming, and adequate time for these activities should be allocated. Quality facilitation plays a critical role in ensuring the success of an event. Advance consideration of monitoring and measuring impact is important, with clear delineation of responsibility for monitoring and follow up, and reasonable expectations for local partners. Careful planning and design, as well as consideration of the recommendations and practical tips outlined in this analysis will improve the likelihood that onsite visits will achieve their intended objectives.