Yolando welcomed all the participants to an entertaining yet very relevant discussion with four great women to discuss various experiences on knowledge sharing capacity building processes that were initiated by ENRAP (Knowledge Networking for Rural Development in Asia Pacific) and are now being mainstreamed by IFAD Asia Division.
Shalini Kala of ENRAP was the first person on the show. She shared how experiential knowledge was something that people have learnt to value in their daily work. While there are challenges of project staff having time, motivation and mechanisms for knowledge sharing, the benefits in more effective performance has led to change in perceptions. The ENRAP programme has supported this effort in building Knowledge sharing skills amongst IFAD project and country staff. Knowledge sharing is a component of Knowledge management and the more effectively people share knowledge, the more effective knowledge management can become. IFAD projects generate a lot of knowledge but often lack the capacity to share it with their target audience. In order to ensure that knowledge is shared, people have to have the capacity to analyse relevant knowledge that can be useful, this requires research and analysis. One such effort has been training on systematization. This technique is useful for participatory analysis of the outcomes of project interventions with rural communities. The next step has been capacity building for documentation of knowledge through both visual and written means. In this writing skills training and writeshops has been a methodology used by several projects and institutions. These tools and methods were geared to allow people the choice of using a variety of techniques for sharing knowledge.
We learnt from Lucie that she has been building knowledge sharing skills for the IFAD group for some time, after ENRAP hired Lucie and Allison, with four training workshops on various KS tools and techniques, including using this platform-the social reporting blog! However, she also pointed out that many of the methods can be used for working with communities, such as the world café techniques and chat shows. These are interesting ways of sharing the same knowledge, while engaging the audience. We also learnt that Lucie is part of a community called KM4Dev which is a 1200 member strong network of KM professionals and those interested in KM who support each other through the network. While methods such as world café can be used with sharing knowledge on relevant issues amongst rural communities that IFAD works with, electronic tools can increase the spread of this locally generated knowledge. Lucie gave some examples and contrasts on doing chat show versus presentations, she briefly related methods such as peer-assist which is useful when some-one has a challenge and would like ideas and solutions from her peer group. All this effort has translated into a Knowledge Sharing Curriculum which was developed based on the training with the ENRAP knowledge facilitators group. This is a guide which explains the Knowledge sharing methods and tools in a step-by-step manner with facilitator notes. This is also available as a wiki at: http://enrapkscurriculum.pbworks.com/w/page/9412486/FrontPage
The guide has been "tested" for real life application and refined based on the feedback from the India Country programme . Ankita Handoo, the KM specialist from the India country team and Pawan Kumar from ULIPH project trained the India focal points. She shared how after her initial training on the tools she had to introduce this to her project colleagues, she began with one method for their portfolio reviews as there were initial reservations but peer-assist was a popular tool. Eventually project directors and other colleagues were convinced of how improved knowledge sharing influences better project performance.
Chase Palmeri was the last guest on the show and she narrated the journey of Knowledge sharing capacity building within IFAD and what can be expected in the future. She focused on how the external review process at IFAD led to the need for a knowledge management strategy and how the IFAD Asia Division has been supporting Loan projects through ENRAP and as this closes, through the new grant implemented by FAO on Knowledge Sharing Skills (KSS) capacity building which builds on what has been initiated through ENRAP to cover writing skills training, systematization, and knowledge sharing methods and tools.
After the initial interviews, Yolando invited many questions from the audience and also received queries through video and SMS! Participants were very keen to share their experiences as well as understand how KM can be tailored to different clientele (a specific concern of Atsuko Toda, IFAD Country Program Manager)
Some of the key pieces of advice from the guests were:
1. Linking Knowledge Management to Monitoring and Evaluation so that the knowledge being generated helps in tracking progress but is also "trackable".
2. For specific activities one can look at the purpose of the activity and then decide the method to use. For example, video can capture stories, while systematization is a tool for in-depth analysis.
3. To allocate budgets for Knowledge sharing activities in projects those are now being designed.
Various members of the audience shared their involvement in Knowledge sharing activities. Pankaj Gupta, Independent Film Maker and Consultant shared on how Video documentation training has helped project staff capture field experiences . In addition how Systematization as a participatory research method to assess project interventions has generated credible and qualitative information for projects in India and China. The Mongolia country programme shared how they have used knowledge sharing tools within their communication strategy and how that has helped to upscale lessons learnt through their project. Anura Herath shared a story on how knowledge sharing influenced policy change. This story will be shared shortly as a video interview on the blog soon. So watch this space!