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Solution Exchange is an initiative that offers development practitioners a forum to benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience. Through communities, members will have timely access to the advice shared by their peers. Every individual’s knowledge adds a new dimension and offers a fresh perspective on development challenges. So instead of reinventing the wheel, members can analyze, adapt and apply solutions that are built on the lessons learned by others.

Solution Exchange is sponsored by the United Nations. The UN works with all countries to help eradicate poverty and realize the Millennium Development Goals. An impartial actor with global reach, the UN in India sponsors Solution Exchange as an opportunity for bringing practitioners together to share knowledge and support India’s development goals.

How does Solution Exchange work?

Everyone in a Solution Exchange Community is a member of a moderated mailgroup. When you come across a challenge and would like to have ideas from your colleagues, put your query in an e-mail and your moderator will post it to the whole Community. Your colleagues in the Community will offer advice, experience, contacts or other suggestions to help you out. After about 10-15 days your moderator will post a publication (consolidated reply) or the discussion to the mailgroup including a synopsis of the responses , the original contributions, as well as additional helpful resources and links. You will have a quick, comprehensive response – a range of solutions to adapt to your local context.

In addition to the mailgroup, some advantages of membership include:

  • Generating knowledge: We sponsor group work that adds to the Community’s knowledge on topics of interest.
  • Networking: We offer workshops and other opportunities to build professional and personal relationships with peers.
  • Recognition: When you offer assistance to fellow colleagues, your contribution is acknowledged by name. Your peers gain a wider appreciation of your knowledge, advancing your professional standing in the Community.
  • National and Global reach: Many Communities of Practice link with global networks. You can join these for wider exposure and visibility, and tap them for the knowledge and experience of other countries.

All contributions, synopses and additional references will be stored in a cross-referenced repository on the Community’s website (under development).

What are the rules members must follow to participate?

Joining a community is free, voluntary and open to anyone interested in contributing advice, experience and expertise for use by others, or for adapting others’ advice, experience and expertise for their own use.

In becoming a member of this Community you are agreeing to follow these seven basic rules:

  1. Contributions from members are primarily for the purpose of sharing advice, experience and expertise relating to development challenges. The Community’s mailgroup should not be used as a discussion forum for promoting or advocating particular views, opinions or political positions. Dialogue and debate can be done more effectively through the many other community discussion forums available.
  2. Solution Exchange Communities are networks of professional peers and not of organizations. Messages posted to Solution Exchange represent the personal views of the members and not the positions of the agencies they are employed by.
  3. Contributions should be provided in a positive and constructive manner, and not as to intentionally defame or discredit the views of another individual or group.
  4. Contributions to the mailgroup become public property and are freely available for others to cite or use as they choose, although members are encouraged to acknowledge the original contributor as a courtesy. Attachments or citations offered with these contributions retain the permissions associated with the material unless they are archived in the Solution Exchange repository, where they acquire the rights associated with Solution Exchange material as indicated in the Terms and Conditions for Membership (see below.)
  5. To ensure adherence to the above rules, messages sent to this mailgroup go first to the mailgroup moderator, who is responsible for reviewing and approving messages to be posted. In carrying out these functions, the moderator reserves the right to edit and/or withhold messages that are found not to be appropriate for posting. Before a message is withheld or heavily edited, the moderator will notify and/or consult with the sender.
  6. In posting edited and unedited messages or incorporating these messages into synthesized responses, the UN accepts no responsibility for their veracity or authenticity. Members intending to use or transmit the information contained in these messages should be aware that they are relying on their own judgment.
  7. Users also agree to adhere to the legal rights associated with using these mailgroup forums and with the Solution Exchange websites 1. Legal terms and conditions governing the use of these forums, the websites and the material contained therein are spelled out in the Membership Agreement under the section on Terms and Conditions for Membership. Users are also encouraged to view the section on Privacy Policy, describing how the information that you provide to the mailgroup forums or websites are used.

What happens to my Intellectual Property Rights?

Posting ideas, examples and solutions on a space sponsored by the United Nations brings them into the public domain. In order to ensure that contributors are sufficiently recognized for their ideas and innovations, Solution Exchange has a “Creative Commons” license. Creative Commons offers a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors and artists, building upon the “all rights reserved” of traditional copyright to create a voluntary “some rights reserved” copyright. This form of licensing, used by “Open Content” advocates worldwide, allows authors and artists to determine the terms and conditions for sharing their intellectual property. For more information on the Creative Commons concept, visit their site at

The Creative Commons license for Solution Exchange is “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5”. This license lets others build upon your work, except for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. All new works based on yours will carry the same license.  This simply means that if you got an idea or material from Solution Exchange you should give the original contributor credit, and if you further develop this idea or material you should return the favor and post it on Solution Exchange as well. “Non-commercial” means that you can use the work for non-profit purposes only, unless you get permission from Solution Exchange and the original contributor.

An Open Content model means that instead of profiting from the sale of your work, you profit from the fact that your name stays associated with the work. An Open Content approach is also in keeping with the spirit of Solution Exchange – by sharing rather than protecting your intellectual property, you are widening the field of professional peers who give recognition to your ideas, thereby enhancing your status and reputation.

  1. Solution Exchange regards the privacy of its visitors and its members to be of utmost importance, and this privacy statement outlines Solution Exchange’s commitment to your privacy.
  2. Your use of the Solution Exchange Website and Services is governed by the Membership Agreement and Terms and Conditions of usage. This Statement supplements the general terms and conditions of usage and is incorporated into and governed by all of the terms of the Agreement.
  3. If you are merely visiting the website and not participating as a member, then Solution Exchange will not solicit or collect any personal information or information regarding your use of the site. As a standard protocol, your IP address may be noted automatically on our registry.
  4. However, if you register with Solution Exchange as a member and participate in the Solution Exchange network, or register to receive Solution Exchange material, you will be asked for personal information, such as your name, organization, designation, address, phone number and email address. This information is essential for us to ensure that you are a bona fide user.  It will be maintained in a page on the relevant Solution Exchange website (“My Profile”), accessible using your password.
  5. To achieve our stated goal of bringing developmental practitioners together, we may create a list of members of the various Solution Exchange Communities on their publicly accessible websites. This list is intended to provide people contemplating joining a Community with sufficient information about the Community’s membership to enable them to make an informed choice.  This list will not reveal your e-mail or contact address.
  6. All your private information i.e. your information not in the public domain, will not be made available to any individual or institution.  Information available in the public domain is your name, the name of your institution, and your geographical location.  You may consciously choose to make additional information public.
  7. In the rare case of you unsubscribing from the membership of all the communities of Solution Exchange, all your private information will be permanently deleted. Only your name and your contributions (queries, responses, or documents) will not be deleted as they are already in the public domain.
  8. If you desire not to make the information specified above available either on the public website or to Community members, you can opt out by so informing the Community’s moderator.
  9. Solution Exchange will make Consolidated Replies available to non-registered users through its publicly viewable websites, including the information and documentary material provided by you which may include reports, expert recommendations and other proprietary knowledge.  The websites may also make available information you provide about events and other items of interest to the Community.  Material posted on our public websites will cite your name, organization and location, and will not include your e-mail or contact address.
  10. You have the option of not revealing your identity when sending an e-mail or other contribution to Solution Exchange.  In such cases the Community’s moderator, on your request, will post your contribution anonymously and keep the source confidential.
  11. To help us improve Solution Exchange and foster a positive user experience, we may contact you and ask your opinion on areas related to our performance.  We may document your feedback and provide it to the respective Community moderator, and use it for reporting purposes, but we will not reveal the source of this information without your permission.  We will also seek your permission to use solicited or unsolicited feedback for purposes of publicity about Solution Exchange, including quotations for brochures or leaflets.
  12. We assure you that the information provided by you shall only be used for bona fide purposes, and it shall not be commercialized or otherwise made available to any database service provider or institution.
  13. To facilitate us to constantly improve our services and understand the needs of our users and members, Solution Exchange may implement software on our websites that enables us to track information about the nature of usage, navigation through site, services availed, queries posted and discussion frequented. Additional information may also be collected through small data pieces known as Cookies, stored on Solution Exchange’s, which may also be written to your computer system.
  14. A cookie is a small piece of information stored by a website on your computer’s hard drive.  Cookies are extensively used by most websites as a convenient way to store information it knows about you.
  15. The information on the cookie will be used internally only for website traffic analysis. If the User specifically provides unique identifying information, such as name, address and other information on forms stored on this site, such information will only be used for statistical purposes and will not be published for general access. Solution Exchange can however assume no responsibility for the security of this information.
  16. In addition, Solution Exchange may also record your IP address, which is the Internet address of your computer, and information such as your browser type and operating system. This information enables us to learn about the geographical distribution of our website visitors and the technology they use to access our site. This information is never connected with the personal information you supply to us if you register on our website.
  17. In the event that Solution Exchange desires to use your information for any offline purpose, we shall seek your permission before doing so.
  18. On your part, you are required to provide accurate information about yourself and accept sole and full responsibility for this and you should not enter information on behalf of another person.