Many thanks to FAO and Dominique for this timely discussion as Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (TU/DRLA) is currently hosting two learning forums in New Orleans for our academic partners in Africa as part of our USAID supported “Resilient Africa Network (RAN)” and our UNICEF supported “Resilient Malian Child.” Over the past two weeks, our partners from Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Mali, etc., have been able to share and discuss their qualitative and quantitative data addressing a range of challenges from climate variability, conflict, drought, flood, food insecurity, child well-being, etc. We’ve also been able to have a dialogue on what has worked . . . and what has not worked. These exchanges have resulted in the exploration of resilience dimensions, pathways, and interventions, across 10 countries and cross-cutting issues.
A critical discussion that is currently taking place is not only WHAT are the most salient findings emerging from the data to strengthen resilience, but WHO (in addition to the local innovation teams supported by the RAN) will take up these findings to strengthen programs and policies, and HOW can these university partners effectively disseminate their findings. Therefore, we clearly see a need for a knowledge sharing/management platform (question 1). With regard to question 2, I fully agree that the platform should be more than an information aggregate platform and should be an avenue for discussion and debate around what is useful and relevant . . . and what is not. Therefore, the platform should have a mechanism whereby those who share their methods, data, and analysis can interact with consumers of that knowledge in a side forum that promotes respectful exchanges that can result in constructive feedback to strengthen future efforts to design, collect, implement, and evaluate resilience building activities.