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Learning and Knowledge Exchange

Study Visits

Learning about programme experiences by seeing them up close

A study visit involves a team of participants from one country (the visiting country) travelling to another country (the host country) to observe and learn from the implementation of a programme or policy. Participants get access to knowledge and firsthand experience from the host country on how to overcome a development challenge or implement a solution. This approach is often used to support South-South knowledge exchange. It may also be used to share knowledge between project sites within a country.

For a study visit to be successful, visitors and hosts should plan it together, to agree on the objectives of the visit and to ensure a good understanding of each other’s expectations. Selection of the appropriate activities during the study visit – e.g. technical assistance or policy dialogue through interviews, workshops or site visits – will depend on the scope and type of the knowledge required by the visiting country to support the identified capacity development goal.

There are several pre-conditions or requirements which must be in place in order to
successfully apply this tool:

  • Identification of the development challenge you want to address, and the specific gaps in programme development and implementation capacity, which the study visit will help overcome.
  • Identification of potential host country (or more than one) which has achieved success in the same or similar development goals, and which may be open to a study visit.
  • Clear commitment and active leadership from the visiting country partners.
  • At least one organizer from the visiting country who can dedicate time to detailed and in-depth planning of the study visit.
  • For UNICEF-supported study visits: Support from the Country Offices in the visiting and the potential host countries.

The outcome of a successful study visit is to enable participants to adapt and apply newly acquired insights, skills and capabilities through action in their home countries. It is therefore important that the visiting participants include relevant stakeholders (who are usually technical development officials) with appropriate background knowledge in the programme or policy area which is the subject of the visit. 

Download the full module on Study Visits (PDF), including when and why to use, how to apply, tips for success, variations, and references.



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