Local Communities of Practice

Our COP4HL Knowledge Alliance works for the development of intensive learning partnerships between higher education institutes and businesses together with public authorities and other relevant players. Our common concern lies in the field of healthy ageing, and more specifically to promote healthy lifestyle from young to old. This learning partnership is realized through a specific communities of practice (COP) approach.

Through the local communities of practice, the COP4HL Knowledge Alliance engages 13 higher education institutes, 30 businesses, and 70 public authorities to develop applicable community-based interventions towards a more healthy and active lifestyle of European citizens.

In addition, over 650 students were reached in total related to the project and the different local COP. This resulted in a total reach of over 520.000 citizens, either via different media outlets (online, offline, social) or directly via personal contact (door-to-door visits, co-creation workshops).


Our COP4HL learning communities strive for learning and social innovation. They are based on the principles of local communities of practices that are considered an ideal approach to foster higher education and business alliance at eye-level and for mutual benefit.

The aim of COP4HL was both developing a specific COP approach that matches the objectives of the Knowledge Alliance, and to test and apply the approach at local levels. For it, a the Social Innovation Learning Space Yanuz has been developed.

Through Yanuz a specific community of practice definition has been developed that had its starting point from the definitions of Wenger Trayner.

Yanuz Communities of Practice describe a social learning pathway where people commit to improve a common concern around a complex social challenge.

They interact regularly to learn and to co-create innovative solutions. This is determined by an active and open learning environment that allows for a trustful, eye-level exchange and a participatory approach.

It leads to action towards social innovation that is openly shared and can be applied in practice. It is at the same time, an instrument for education to anticipate contemporary challenges and gives a structure for lifelong learning.”



Our Knowledge Alliance for Healthy Lifestyle developed six local communities of practice in five EU countries.

All local communities of practice consider the specific needs, assets, current set-up, and previous experience of the local communities. They enable to develop applicable community-based interventions towards a more healthy and active lifestyle of their citizens.

Each local community of practice exists of higher education institutes, businesses, and public partners. Through the community of practice, local cooperation and social learning processes are stimulated, with direct involvement of the community's citizens. 

Each local community of practice is supported through tailored facilitation and evaluation approaches and instruments that are synchronized through the Social Innovation Learning Space Yanuz.

Through Yanuz, the sharing of experience and knowledge is accelerated inside and between the local communities of practice, change agents are educated and accompanied by change facilitators, and applied impact measurement is facilitated.

Click to visit our local communities of practice for inspiration for your own social innovation initiative towards a more healthy society in your local community :