Knowledge Management (KM) and International Development:

KM Champions in Africa Workshop

WHEN: May 29-31, 2002

WHERE: Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique


Predictability is a diminishing commodity in today's world. Organisations today are increasingly challenged by both the pace and discontinuity of external change; change that often forces them to rapidly re-orient themselves. In the world of international development, these changes are occurring in a variety of spheres from the political to the commercial to the environmental and from local to global in scale. Worse still, this is occurring in the context of a shrinking resource base for development assistance.

Knowledge Management (KM) refers to a body of practices that have emerged from the corporate world to assist organisations in coping with the pace of change. KM is based on a recognition that what makes organisations unique, what allows them to add value, is the combined knowledge and expertise of the people that make up the organisation. This recognition has lead to the development of tools and methods to help to mobilize organisational knowledge rapidly and effectively.

African institutions, from small NGOs to UN bodies, are similarly being pushed to demonstrate their capacity to adapt and to leverage their knowledge and expertise to address new challenges. Many African organisations have begun to examine the potential of application of KM practices to the way they work.

Recognizing the potential of KM to assist development organisations, Bellanet and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane are organising a Knowledge Management Workshop aimed at bringing together change agents from African development organisations largely in Eastern and Southern Africa to share their experiences with Knowledge Management and to examine best practices in the field and their potential application to development organisations and practice. The workshop will allow KM practitioners who may feel isolated in their individual organisations to be reinforced by their peers in similar situations across the continent.

A hoped for outcome of the workshop will be the development of a community of African KM change agents working in development. The role of this community would be to provide an environment in which people engaged in organisational change and knowledge management in African institutions and networks can share experience and give mutual support on an ongoing basis.


50-60 participants are expected largely from Eastern and Southern Africa, representing a cross section of organisations interested in these issues, including network members, regional and international experts, and funding organizations. In particular we are looking for people involved in knowledge management, organisational change, community building, or process reform. We are for people who are change agents from the following types of organisations:

  • Community-based organizations (CBOs)

  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

  • Government

  • Research institutes

  • Private sector

  • Bilateral and multilateral agencies


  • Increased understanding of Knowledge Management / Sharing as an essential component of international development, and of general KM internal and external strategies

  • Increased and sustained exchange of ideas on these issues

  • New strategies and frameworks for improved effectiveness of individual institutions and networks

  • Community of Practice for KM champions / practitioners in Africa


To date, Bellanet has co-organized - in conjunction with organisations such as CIDA, DFID, GTZ, IDRC, IFAD, SDC, and the World Bank - three international workshops on Knowledge Management. The first two which were held in 2000 focused on KM and its application to bilateral and multilateral agencies. These workshops explored KM as a mechanism for organisational change in development assistance agencies. One of the outputs of these workshops was a realisation that the best aspects of KM may have implications for development practice in general.

It is with that in mind that Bellanet, in collaboration with many of the above donors, organised a third workshop, held in Chennai, India at the MS. Swaminathan Research Foundation in September of 2001. The aim of this workshop was to explore the commonalities between KM and best practices in grass-roots networking. This workshop was the first in a series of workshops relating KM to development practice. The Maputo workshop will be the second in this series.

The Maputo Workshop is the first of a series of African-focused workshops on KM and development. Other planned African workshops including NGO Capacity Building & KM, KM & Government, KM & Sector Wide Approaches.

Last updated by kmfordev admin Jun 1, 2009.

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