Friendship is a foundation for knowledge sharing

Opening ceremony

Our host - Mary Nandazi, Secretary-General of AFRACA welcomed Ides de Willebois, Director of IFAD's Eastern and Southern Africa division and Bernard Masiga, Head UN agencies, External resources, Ministry of Finance, representative of Jackson Kinyanjui, Director of External Resources, Ministry of Finance.

Ides in his opening remarks reminded the audience that IFAD is putting a strong emphasis on knowledge management. He mentioned that direct supervision is a golden opportunity for IFAD to capture the learning and lessons from its funded projects and programmes. As a result, today IFAD is in a better position to use the knowledge generated to improve our collective understanding about rural poverty eradication.

He also welcomed representatives from other IFAD regional knowledge networks such as ENRAP and FIDAmerica. "Being the last kid on the block, we can learn a lot from the vast experience of other IFAD-funded regional knowledge networks, says de Willebois.

Ides called on the participants to take this opportunity to learn from and listen to the experience of all the other regional and thematic knowledge networks, as IFADAfrica will build on and complement the other Eastern and Southern Africa thematic regional knowledge networks

"In designing the IFADAfrica arm of the network, we decided that we did not want an IFAD-centric animal", explained de Willebois. "This is why we scouted and continuously scout to find institutions that are already focusing on knowledge management and other important thematic areas close to our hearts, such as agricultural productivity.

Ides mentioned the IFADAfrica will adopt a bottom-up approach, because it is the project coordinators and our colleagues in the field who have the direct experience, know what are the challenges and have to overcome these challenges. "We need to build the synergies at project, national and regional level ", said de Willebois.

Ides reminded the gathering that 5 years ago Eastern and Southern Africa conducted a survey where 90% of colleagues indicated that they needed more knowledge while only 15% were developing and sharing knowledge. "This is the gap that we need to fill and I hope that by building a functioning platform and building a people-centric network we will manage to achieve this goal and bridge this gap", concluded de Willebois.

Bernard Masiga, Head UN agencies, External resources, Ministry of Finance, the representative of Jackson Kinyanjui, Director of External Resources, Ministry of Finance welcomed the participants had said: "you share knowledge with your friends". This powerful soundbite underscores one of the fundamentals of knowledge management, that is trust and networking.

Masiga reminded the audience that IFAD has been present in Kenya for the last 30 years and as a result has collected a wealth of knowledge which helps improve efficiency leading to greater impact in our collective fight against poverty and hunger.
He shared an African saying: "knowledge is the only treasure that never runs out" and continued by saying that everyone has a right to knowledge. As we know knowledge is a global public good. As development practitioners we need to systematically capture, share and act on knowledge to generate new knowledge. This will help us in our challenging task of eradicating rural poverty.