I serve to coordinate the Monitoring and Evaluation component of the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) and it’s my pleasure to participate on this online consultation.
Yes, a knowledge sharing platform on resilience is a brilliant idea but requires leadership. In my opinion, the IDDRSI initiative provides a common framework within which partners can work together in populating, capturing, analysing and disseminating information related to resilience. An entire pillar under the IDDRSI strategy is dedicated to knowledge management and research, which provides the framework within which an integrated knowledge sharing platform can be established and coordinated. There are already a number of on-going initiatives being implemented by the IGAD/KM team with support from partners such as USAID, UNOCHA & UNDP – and I believe we can build and strengthen on these existing initiatives rather than re-inventing the will.
I find no harm in institutions investing in new KM products/materials, and methodologies for as long as it is done within a common framework of understanding that involves a wide stakeholder consultation such as the FAO/FSN online forum.
Our experience with the IDDRSI M&E working group has been very positive particularly in relation to the establishment of a community of practice through which demand driven M&E products and services related to resilience have been developed & provided at regional and national level. The main challenge though, has been the difficulty of maintaining a sustained & consistent momentum of participation of experts - especially when it’s purely on a voluntary basis.
In regard to gender issues, I think exchange of knowledge through the platform should be guided by gender gaps identified through a gender analysis. IGAD recognizes this very important issue and has commissioned a gender analysis of the IDDRSI strategy with the objective of examining the gender inequalities in access, participation and benefits in all the IDDRSI Priority Intervention Areas (PIA) both at regional and national level; and the findings will be used to re-shape policies and strategies within the framework of the resilience initiative
Potential areas needed to increase the impact of KM initiatives include:
1- Conducting a KM audit prior to introducing new KM initiatives – this provides a situational analysis of exiting initiatives, gaps and entry points (demand driven).
2- Clearly mapping the information needs of your key partners to ensure that only relevant information is disseminated and shared
3- A clear theory of change that describes the pathways to behavioural change should be developed to facilitate tracking of impact of KM initiatives
4- Technologies developed to support knowledge management initiatives, should be designed in a simple and user-friendly manner to increase accessibility
5- KM products and materials should be communicated to target audiences in a simple and consumable format