Knowledge Management Officers in Viet Nam learn to communicate more effectively through newsletters, publications and websites

Ten Knowledge Management Officers (KMO) from the IFAD-supported projects in Viet Nam came from their provinces to Hanoi to improve their communication skills. They are here to learn how to share the knowledge from projects more effectively. They will apply their new skills immediately during this event through writing case studies and success stories about their projects.

This is the fourth writeshop of this kind in Asia. To date, writeshops took place in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. The objectives of the writeshop in Viet Nam are to:
  • improve the communication skills of KMOs so that they are able to produce materials, such as case studies and success stories, with confidence and better quality than in the past
  • teach the KMOs to analyse quantitative data that they often receive from their M&E officers and that they are supposed to interpret
  • produce communication materials that will be published through newsletters, publications and websites; and some training materials that they will use for training their project staff in the field
  • develop a network of KMOs that communicate regularly among themselves, with projects and the local media

The Writeshop has just started. It is really hot here. All fans are in full speed and doors are open. We just had a coffee break to re-charge our energy levels and now back to work. Everybody is engaging and contributing. The language, which is usually an obstacle in Viet Nam, is not an issue here. Four translators are present, in addition to two local English-speaking facilitators that are training in Vietnamese. People are listening and contributing.

The translators play an important role in IFAD-supported projects in Viet Nam. They accompany project staff in workshops and meetings with international audience and translate all communication materials. In Viet Nam, articles for newsletters or any other communication is firstly written in Vietnamese and then translated in English. The trainers will therefore teach the participants the principles of ‘Plain Vietnamese’. There will be a special session on editing in English for translators. So everybody should benefit from this event!

This morning, the participants discussed the main obstacles in knowledge-sharing between projects and IFAD headquarters:

  • Lack of confidence in writing reports, case studies and success stories. KMOs are aware that reports should have more quality rather than quantity. They (as well as project staff) need training to improve their writing.
  • There is a problem of analysing data which means they often write articles full of numbers but without proper analytical interpretation.
  • The flow of information from the projects to IFAD HQ is not clear.
  • The roles of project KMOs should be better defined. Their terms of reference should be standardized.
  • The Viet Nam Country Office plays an important role in collecting and processing information from the projects. But there are often other priorities so the processing of information is delayed.

So how can we build a bridge between these issues and desired outcomes? These outcomes are obviously better quality and more interesting reports and stories coming from the field. This event is the first step to fill this gap in Viet Nam. There is more to come!