a global community
The fourth get-together of the group took place on 21 September at the ILRI info centre and brought together 21 participants from nine different organisations. Three new members attended this meeting.
The gathering started with an introduction of the participants and a presentation about the network including the agenda of the get-together to start with who we are and what we do.
This was a special gathering as - for two of the three sessions organised - it offered participants the choice between two different topics for discussion.
A1) Peer assist on setting up an information system on climate change adaptation
A peer assist is a structured social learning/support system where one person introduces a problem case and picks the brain of a group to find more solutions to go forward with their problem. More information about what peer assists are, how and one specific experience of virtual peer assists here. In this peer assist, Mintesnot Kasa presented his case.
The Africa Adaptation Program (AAP), UNICEF, WFP ,UNDP are working to enhance the adaptive capacity of vulnerable countries, promote early adaptation action and laying the foundations for long-term investment to increase resilience to climate change across the African continent.
One of the actions proposed (in Ethiopia to achieve this) is to establish an effective national/ sectoral knowledge management system at EPA (Environmental) protection authority which facilitate the documentation and sharing of up-to-date climate change and adaptation information and knowledge
Given that many such efforts have failed in the past: HOW CAN SUSTAINABILITY BE ENSURED AFTER THE HANDOVER OF THE SYSTEM TO EPA ?
Q: Rationale of the project –what is the need and what are you trying to answer with this system?
A: The idea is to use the KM system to capture adaptation knowledge, including indigenous knowledge, to be able to share it. This is a new way to address adaptation.
Q: Activities? 3 activities and 3 groups working on it (1 of them is the group setting up KM platform). What was the reason why the system didn’t work?
A: It was not interactive because people couldn’t comment. We included many features that enable people to comment, chat.
Q: The group collecting best practices: are there tools/methods to collect these?
A: We hired people to document knowledge by video and text etc. best practices. This continues but sustainability is the problem.
Q: Developing KM strategy – how do these 3 groups interact?
A: There are people responsible for e.g. documentation (populating the platform)…
Q: What are the beneficiaries for this platform: general public or specialised group?
A: So far we developed the strategy but only started working on who we could develop this for e.g. people interested in adaptation issues, so it’s rather general public. We understand
Q: Have you made regular assessments with the system to assess the strategy etc. and adapt it to your needs?
A: We have done assessments on the previous strategy and existing systems etc. We have made a preliminary assessment, including for the EPA platform.
Q: The audience is not identified. How are you going to identify these audiences? Organizations interested in adaptation need to be identified etc.
A: We know the stakeholders in adaptation and that will be one of our targets in the future. This is early stage development.
Q: What is planned to link this with real farmers? They’re the ones that should take these best practices and apply them?
A: One of the features in the platform is to use different languages, not only English or Amharic. Our strategy should captures local knowledge by interviewing farmers to document their practices etc.
Q: Besides documentation, what are your plans to document other research findings? E.g. one adaptation research finding exists in RiPPLE?
A: We have already made a selection of best practices. We can’t document all of it but we identified 11 sets. This is one of the concerns we have about who will keep documenting this.
Q: Type of platforms you’re using? Are you using a permanent repository.
A: We prefer Joomla, a different system to what they were using. The developers indicated this.
Q: Can you find some information which you uploaded after 3 years – is everything in one place and can be found any time?
A: I’m not sure.
Q: Who are your stakeholders?
A: EPA stakeholders – those working with them so far.
Q: The strategy: what have you done so far and what specific activities have you undertaken?
A: We’re putting things together. We’re thinking about 3 components: the platform, the communication part and the capacity building part.
Q: Does the comms part include sharing experiences on a local platform e.g. a multi-stakeholder platform?
A: We will have have one platform for national.
Mintesnot's feedback on feedback given by participants:
Thank you very much
FYI, I (Ewen) posted a blog item here about this case after originally discussing it with Mintesnot.
A2) Awareness-raising session on tools: Blogs
Tsehay Gashaw introduced this topic on the basis of a presentation.
What is blogging? People put their ideas or information on their blog, read your post, subscribe, and can exchange information.
Blogging has many advantages:
Blogs make good use of RSS feeds (a way of getting news from a website by subscribing to the the site's RSS feed, either by email or on an RSS feed reader e.g. Google Reader).
Blogs can be integrated with websites and other social media. Blogs brings traffic to your organization. You can integrate your blog(s) to your website.
Questions and answers
In the next part of the gathering, everyone came back together to share insights from the past session and to hear updates about the ICT-KM project mapping initiative.
B1) Insights from the previous session
On the peer assist:
On the blog session:
It was too short (to do some hands-on work). But the awareness-raising session covered:
B2) ICT-KM project mapping initiative
This initiative started in the second gathering and consists in mapping interesting projects (taking place in Ethiopia). In this gathering Ewen Le Borgne just introduced some basic ideas:
This project mapping has to be compelling and useful for us all so we cannot just keep a list on the Google doc, we need to analyse these projects. We think this project could actually be a great way to discuss a wide range of KM (or comms or ICT) issues and to structure various sessions during our get-togethers: We have this list of projects. It should keep on expanding (get wider) but we should also go deeper. So we propose to invite reps from the projects to briefly introduce them and highlight the main KM/ICT/Comms challenges and insights or lessons learned, so we can discuss around it. The discussion would likely bring some useful ideas for direct application in the project (a bit like a peer-assist but in a less structured manner) or general lessons that we could tease out and consolidate as short stories on a wiki, so that we progressively develop a narrative database of KM lessons and insights based on concrete and effective examples.
The participants agreed with this - with the caution that bringing people from external projects should be planned properly. In terms of developing an infographic about this, Zerihun Sewunet agreed to explore this but he could do with support from anyone else.
The third session was again a parallel session with a choice between a discussion on 'how to engage farmers' and a presentation of KM at GIZ.
C1) Focused conversation: How to engage with farmers?
Elias Damtew introduced this conversation.
How to engage farmers? How do they perceive information we share/send?
As Comms practitioners we have to change our attitude or perspective towards farmers:
Challenges & solutions:
E.g. Digital Green uses a farmer to farmer practice AND NBDC N2, innovation platform (participatory video) are a good example of communicating with farmers.
E.g. example from IPMS (Fanos):
C2) KM at... GIZ
After the presentation, Dawit attended to a questions and answers session.
Q: What is the difference between DMS and knowledge base?
A: DMS is for enterprises. Our knowledge base is for our staff only.
Q: How do you make this available? Do you use social media tools to share what you produce?
A: There is a structure e.g. GIZ-ET is responsible for every doc about Ethiopia produced in DMS etc. There is an annual assessment of KM. Our Ethiopia staff is responsible for all these docs.
Q: Do you use blogs etc.?
A: We mainly use wikis but not blogs. Social media are managed by the head office in Germany.
Q: What’s the link between all the departments? What brings people working together?
A: PR, events etc. We regularly work together. E.g. PR and us work together to develop press releases.
Q: What are the links between comms and KM?
A: Audiences are different. In KM we have specific targets.
Q: What is the main challenge and what is the main success area?
A: I’m new at GIZ. I don’t see challenges. Development aspects are working well. Knowledge transfer and capacity building works well in interventions (e.g. University capacity building programme). The main challenge is the continuation of projects e.g. projects change. If the gov’t changes its policy, we need to adapt. So to deal with this, we negotiate with the government and with third parties. We always bring third parties to discussions with the goverment e.g. EPA, SNV etc. to move forward together.
Q: How many people work on KM or related fields?
A: I’m the only one in this but we have monthly KM contact person meetings (with 20 other KM focal points from GIZ projects and departments)
Q: How did you get trained in KM?
A: I got experience in ICT dev projects.
Q: How do you use social media?
A: There are comms, PR guidelines etc. We provide info to HQ and they feed social media with it. There are political issues that we need to deal with.
Q: How do you transfer knowledge to other beneficiaries etc. Any other mechanism? Are you using other languages? Amharic Oromiffa etc.?
A: We use Tigrigna, Oromigna and Amharic. We focus on working with beneficiaries or partners. Energypedia is also available for everyone.
Reflections and closure
After the third session, participants again reflected on what they did in the previous session.
About farmers' engagement:
About the GIZ KM presentation:
Overall assessment of the gathering:
After that, we assessed the overall gathering and concluded that...
On the positive side:
On the 'need to be improved' side:
The next gathering will happen on Friday 14 December 2012 - either at the ILRI campus or at the UNECA premises. Possible topics of discussion include: