Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Livestock Pathways: Mapping actors and knowledge sharing processes

Posted by Beatrice Ouma

The livestock pathway kicked off today with a series of mapping exercises to start exploring the landscape and the actors involved.

Some 25 participants joined in and started orienting themselves around different 'maps', looking at the different perspectives they have on livestock, the network connections present in the room, the country they are working in, and the different target audience they engage with. On this basis, 3 tables where formed with participants working respectively at the grassroots level, in projects, and in organisations. On each table, participants were asked to map out their knowledge sharing and management activities, and the key issue they are facing.

The 'project' group identified three key areas of knowledge management.
  1. Seeding ideas: As communicators, seeding ideas is a very important part of our knowledge sharing. We are offering new platforms for people to develop big ideas, achieve big dreams and goals. One of those platforms is the Shujaaz comic magazine that strives to inspire Kenyan youth by packaging agricultural information in a comical manner.
  2. Removing bottlenecks: A lot of the times information management at project level involves removing bottlenecks, getting people to see new ways of doing things. In a project, the primary target audience is our beneficiary farmers, and we are always looking for new and innovative means of exchanging information with the farmers.
  3. Sharing stories: At the project level, there are a lot of livestock stories in the field that we always want to get out. We share stories with our beneficiaries, like-minded NGOs, policy makers, donors and the general public. However, sharing stories can also present some challenges such as the one we identified as 'last mile connection': in the attempt to share information with our beneficiaries, we always go through networks and partners who might not pass the information to the beneficiary.
The group pointed out also at some challenges related to knowledge sharing. In particular, we discussed the following:
  • Organizational memory: when the people with the knowledge leave, what happens?
  • Lost in translation: Are we sharing information in the right language?
  • Short-term funds: How can we achieve so much with so little?
  • Documenting learning: How do we synthesize information for future reference?
  • Slow Policy Change? Are there ways of speeding policy change?
  • Applying appropriate technologies: Are we using a saw to cut a pizza?
The other 2 tables undertook a similar exercise. See the key points and issues they raised in the video below here:

Tomorrow the discussion will continue with the sharing experiences and the brokerage sessions, and the group will seek to find answers to the questions that emerged, as well as other effective ways to share knowledge.

Read more about the livestock pathway discussions:

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