Lessons learned from learning lessons

Third day of the IFAD-EUFF capitalisation workshop in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

The third day of the IFAD-EUFF capitalisation workshop is not only the final day of this workshop. It is also the end of a process that was initiated in September 2011 at the first capitalisation workshop in Bamako, Mali. The term capitalisation refers to a process to profit or benefit from a “capital” that we have, in the case of the IFAD-EUFF programme, the lessons learned and experiences of the colleagues working in the different projects. Over the last six month, the participants have worked on narrowing down a unique experience or factor in their projects that they want to share with others. Now it was time to draw the lessons learned and discuss the next steps.

Isaac Vifa, who has been working with the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme in Ghana for the last two years, took some time to tell me about his experiences:

What is capitalisation and can you briefly describe the process?

You have participated in the IFAD-EUFF programme capitalisation process. What are you central learnings of these six month?

How can capitalisation increase the impact of development programmes?

A big thanks to you, Isaac!

Other points that were raised during the feedback discussions:

  • Failures are a learning opportunity: By sharing difficulties, limitations and the way we addressed them, others can learn from the experiences and avoid having to face the same challenges.
  • Exchange matters: Sharing knowledge among different projects and between different country teams creates synergies, helps everyone to improve the work and to sustain what has been achieved.
  • An addition, not an alternative: Capitalisation products proved a valuable addition to formal reports and scientific papers.

Steps to integrate capitalisation in knowledge-management strategy:

  • Capitalisation should be included in the project design.
  • Everyone involved in the projects should receive training on knowledge sharing and capitalisation.
  • Knowledge-sharing is not only for knowledge-sharing experts, everyone can do it.