Thursday, January 22, 2009

Session Report: Leveraging Geographically Distributed Expertise through KS

Session on Leveraging Geographically Distributed Expertise through KS, 22 January, 2009, 10.45 to noon at Gabon Room.

Comments by Cristina Sette

The session was presented by German Escobar (IFAD - RIMISP), Tawfiq El-Zabri (IFAD - IDRC), Chase Palmeri (IFAD) and Huyen Tran (FAO).

German presented a network in Latin America which is currently in its 4th phase. The network involves the public and private sector, promotes learning and innovation, search results for problems and policy application, and value information. There is a part-time coordinator and am assistant involved in coordinating the network. The activities related to knowledge sharing and knowledge management happening at this project are the following:
  • KM analysis at National level
  • Bulletin (‘hosted’ independent from IFAD website)
  • Electronic conferences (designed with farmers and developing programs, 1-3 years)
  • Website library
  • Communication Tools (evaluate each method/tools every 3 years; qualitative indicators).
  • Field work to capture information
  • Training facilitators

Chase presented the activities she is involved in Asia and the Pacific. The KS activities going on depend highly on connectivity and the commonalities between the several projects and are as following:
  • Website
  • Email
  • Disseminate Info
  • Face to Face
  • Open to all members to participate
She mentioned the language constraints and the need to improve the network.

Huyen presented the global forum on food security which was created in October 2007. The forum is open to any user and has daily facilitated discussions (with invited subject matter specialists). It serves as a repository of information and also a way of involve people.
Some of the constraints are as following:
  • connectivity
  • involve more people (including FAO staff)
  • improve the visibility of the forum
Asked about the quality control of the information posted, the group mentioned that the moderator of the forum does the quality control, who also summarizes the discussion and translates into Spanish and French. Two full time staff are involved in moderating the forum. Recent evaluation showed that the forum is considered very useful

Tawfig presented the network called Karianet and his experience on building a regional network. The motivation of people to participate in the network are related to learning and improving performance.The way the network works focus on processes, practionaires, documenting knowledge and working with pilot projects. The lessons:
  • sustainability of the network:ownership, interest, symbolic membership fees, validate, involve private sector and rural communities.
  • in 2004 a needs assessment was carried(ownership) together with activities on capacity building targetting project managers to help them reflect. The process was supported by a knowledge facilitator and activities were carried out face to face to build trust and confidence. Participants learned about their own projects, beginning a change in culture.
  • The network concentrates on themes (e.g. M&E)
  • Documents (Reports)- K products
  • Demand driven
  • Sustainability after end project:
  • Topic relevant (views on it, stakeholders, share experiences)
  • Thematic and Regional Network

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