How do we know what we know? 

Written by members of GRIPP’s Knowledge Team 

As our Action Learning Set for 2024 starts up, our Knowledge Team share reflections and questions on how knowledge is generated and released within GRIPP…and why it is so important.  

Action Learning is a practical approach to understanding and improving current practices. In GRIPP, we use Action Learning as a tool to unlock (release) our knowledge.  As participants in Action Learning we come together with a shared goal of learning and exploration – we take ownership of our role in the process, committed to sharing our experiences, learning from our work, and applying newfound insights to our tasks.

If you are want to know more about Action Learning, we invite you to read a previous blog, Comrades in Adversity, which explains more about the process.

Recently, a group of GRIPP members  from RAPAR, Thrive, ATD, Poverty Truth Community met to discuss how we realise and release knowledge within ourselves, our community and our movement. The conversation revolved around the sharing of knowledge, particularly concerning our experiences of the complexities of poverty. What emerged from our discussion was a realisation:

knowledge is not one dimensional but influenced by our backgrounds, cultures, education, and personal experiences.  

Each of us brought a unique perspective to the table. Some emphasised how our individual life experiences shape our understanding, while others saw knowledge as a tool for empowerment. One member highlighted the challenges of sharing knowledge about poverty effectively.  

Among these diverse viewpoints, a central question arose:

How can we create a knowledge release set that fosters collective learning and growth, considering our differences?”

This question led us to reflect on the concept of power in relation to knowledge sharing. What does power mean to each of us? And how can we empower those living in poverty?  

Many assumptions have been made that traditional forms of learning are the means to develop an area of expertise that then lends itself to create positive change. Validating knowledge and expertise through this lens is limiting. It ignores and overlooks the untapped insight and knowledge developed through experience. Lived experience informs how problems or situations are  understood in context and make visible the invisible. It brings insight that is not immediately apparent to the outsider and brings to life the reality of a situation. Creating this space – brings to the fore this knowledge and in turn has the potential to unleash power.  

As this group of activists now forms as GRIPP’s Knowledge Release Team we prepare for our Action Learning Set sessions over the next 6 months, with our focus remaining on creating a safe and inclusive space for sharing thoughts and experiences. Together, we aim to explore the complexities of poverty, seeking pathways for meaningful change. We recognise that our journey towards understanding poverty is a collective journey—one that requires empathy, collaboration, and a commitment to making a positive difference in both us and our communities.  

Drawing a a women's head divided in two - in the middle is the earth connected to the two halves of the head. Beneath it reads "We are the solutions"
Jordan Schiffer for

We will come back with more from our journey of exploration, discovery, and transformation and we invite you to reflect on your own understanding of knowledge and power. In the autumn we will hold a conversation where you will be able to join us in dialogue to share all our learning.