What does integration of Knowledge Management and Learning (KM&L) in projects really mean?

With support from IFADAfrica and PICO Team, Uganda has had an opportunity to hold an in-country knowledge management and learning workshop. The three day workshop (3 – 5 February 2014) is going on right now in the beautiful and serene town of Jinja, right at the source of the River Nile in Eastern Uganda. The workshop aims at further enhancing the integration of knowledge management and learning in projects for improved performance and greater impact.
As a country programme, we have been sharing on methodologies of reaching the IFAD global target of bringing 80 million people out of poverty. Line Kaspersen, our M&E focal person has done a back-of-the envelope estimation of 500,400 people taken out of poverty in Uganda from 2010-2013 – which means we still have two years to go to contribute to the target, and to support poor households in Uganda. We have also started implementing our new Results-based COSOP . At the moment, together with the project management units, we are working towards how each can concretely contribute to this figure.
The big question is ‘How does Knowledge Management and Learning help us in achieving our overall portfolio and project goals and objectives?’ In the context of Uganda, how then does IFAD contribute to the attainment of the goals and objectives of the National Development Plan?
So far, there is something really interesting going on at project level. Each project is sharing and showing awareness of what needs to be done to improve and contribute towards bringing a number of people out of poverty.
What has emerged so far from the discussions is that knowledge management and learning is mostly (but not only) about;
  • Being results-oriented
  • Learning and adapting to achieve impact; with an interest in learning
  • Everyone should have an interest in learning, but more important is having an idea of what we would like to learn
  • Willingness to change, do things differently, be creative, innovative, and willingness to experiment
  • Continuous reflection on whether we are on track in achieving our targets, and
  • Ensuring that we work well in teams.
It is also important to have continuous dialogue and negotiations both informally and formally, at personal and team level. We ought to be proactive in sharing relevant information, and know why we use certain KM&L tools.
Project staff discussing which tools they use, which ones work,
which ones don't, and why?
We are now working on both KM&L process and impact indicators to show that we are actually implementing and integrating knowledge management and learning in our work. So, we are working on a ‘looking forward task’ - what we want to be reporting on by 2016.
We shall share other highlights from the KM&L workshop in Jinja, and especially, the plans.