Update on the Writeshop in Viet Nam

Today is the last day of the writeshop for Knowledge Management Officers (KMOs) working in the IFAD-supported projects in Viet Nam. A lot has been achieved. The participants are just finalizing their case studies and success stories. The facilitators are guiding them. Everybody is concentrating and trying to do their best. So when they go back to their provinces, they can share their work with other project staff and their articles can soon be published.

What we have done since the last post…

During the ‘Reader-centred writing’ session, the participants learned how to write in Plain English and ‘Plain Vietnamese’. They now know how to present information clearly and concisely to get a message across to their readers. The participants were divided into two groups – English and Vietnamese speaking to ensure that the facilitators follow and guide each participant during practical sessions.

The session on editing was interesting. By reading some articles from projects written in Vietnamese, the participants realized that they cannot understand them. Imagine us in IFAD reading the English translation! We are now discussing whether the KMOs, that are present at this writeshop, can edit articles in Vietnamese or the Country Office in Hanoi will have to recruit a Vietnamese editor before they get translated to English. So when we receive articles in Rome for processing – whether to include them in newsletters, publications or as basis for our IFAD success stories – they are clearly written and require minimal clarifications from their authors.

Processing data from project reports to produce a success story

One of the needs of project staff assessed prior to this writeshop was to learn how to process data from project reports for case studies and success stories. Often, when they are asked to write an article, they read progress reports which are full of numbers with little qualitative analysis. During the writeshop, the trainers gave the participants a progress report of the Programme for Improving Market Participation of the Poor in Tra Vinh Province.

The participants had to read the report and choose an angle for their article. Once they finished reading and chose the angle, the trainers held a ‘press conference’. They asked three project staff from Tra Vinh province to help the participants clarify the data which was not clear. After the conference, the participants had sufficient information to analyse the data and complete their articles with the guidance of the trainers.

The reason why we had the ‘press conference’ was that just by looking at the report data, a detailed analysis which was needed to complete the articles would not have been possible. Therefore, face-to-face question and answer session with concerned project staff was necessary. As a result, the participants were able to analyse and present complicated data so that the final outcome (article) was not full of numbers but also qualitative analysis. There was a general agreement that progress reports should improve to provide a basis for writing success stories for KMOs, since it might not always be possible to have a ‘press conference’.

The Viet Nam Country Team is planning to organize more writeshops in the future including more staff from the projects. We believe that building the capacity of project staff in different areas, including communication and knowledge management, can really make a difference to the country programme.


atsuko said…
Dear KMOs and Martina

I really appreciate the training that was done and also the commmitment from all the KMOs. I heard from the staff that you were working till quite late every day and all were very excited with the new findings. I look forward to seeing the results.

Thank you again,
Chase Palmeri said…
This blog shows well how the Write-shops being implemented to support knowledege management at the project level is evolving and improving as PI implements them. The fact that the training included writing in Vietnamese, the language used by local project staff, is an important step towards improving knowledge sharing at the field level. The idea of a using a document that was produced by a project for normal business processes to extract and share knowledge with a wider group of readers is also an excellent one. And, the "press conference" approach wherein the authors of articles fielded questions about was their pieces also strikes me as a very good way for people to understand whether their "knowledge product" has in fact suceeded in getting the message across. I think that these are all good practices that others should consider adopting in the future when undertaking similar training exercises. Thanks for telling us about your approaches, by learning from your experiences we can replicate them in future!
Dilip Bayas said…
Dear KMOs and Martina,

This is an important writeshop for all projects across World. I look forward to receive the report copy. It will help us to learn new things.