IFADAfrica: we carry our stories in our head

Miriam Cherogony, the coordinator of IFADAfrica serving the IFAD-funded projects in Eastern and Southern Africa provided an overview of the regions different knowledge networks. Eastern and Southern Africa has benefited from the following thematic regional networks, communities of practice and other KM projects:
  • Marketing and value chain community of practice (SCAPEMA)
  • Agriculture and water management network (IMAWESA)
  • Managing for results and impact network (SMIP)
  • Rural finance network
  • Rural knowledge network
  • Linking local learners
  • First Mile Project

Miriam mentioned the region is now enriched by two new networks focusing on land tenure and gender mainstreaming issues.

"If there is one lesson that we learnt to date is that you cannot have networks working in a cocoon", said Cherogony. "We have to admit that we failed to connect these networks together and now with IFADAfrica we need to make all efforts to make sure that all our KM activities and thematic CoPs are linked with each other".

Miriam mentioned that Eastern and Southern Africa uses a myriad of knowledge sharing methods and tools such as face-to-face interaction (such as the annual implementation workshops) and a regional newsletter which is shared with all Eastern and Southern Africa IFAD-funded projects and programmes.

Miriam mentioned that they conducted a survey which showed a gap between availability of knowledge and generating knowledge which resonated fully with Ides' opening remarks.

Echoing Coumba's remarks, Miriam too mentioned that direct supervision and implementation support offers a golden opportunity for project staff to engage in KM-related activities and ensure that learning is embedded at programme and project level.

Through out our work, Miriam said "we've come to realize that while we are good at carrying our stories in our heads and good at recounting it verbally, we do not know how to write it in a compelling manner". She mentioned that this is a potential area the could benefit from capacity building and called on the participants to keep this in the back of their head for tomorrow's session when they will discuss the network's programme of work for this year.

Miriam mentioned that the IFADAfrica network is looking forward to learn from all other networks and more specifically from FIDAfrique network. She too talked about building a user-driven and bottom-up network. She iterated the importance of linking KM and communication activities and ensuring that knowledge captured is shared in an efficient way to avoid re-inventing the wheel.