Three recent experiences in the use of KS Tools
(with inputs from Carmen Lucía Jaramillo, Bing Bayot, John Jairo Hurtado)
Here are a recent 3 applications of Knowledge Sharing tools in CIAT projects and around.
Two uses of Social Network Analysis: visualizing responsibilities, interests and partnerships. For 2 months we had the visit of Carmen Lucía Jaramillo, who came to apply her expertise in the design of the CRS- CIAT Project Borderlands’ knowledge management strategy. The Borderlands Coffee Project will be working with 1,600 smallholder farmers in the highlands of Nariño in Colombia, and 1,600 family farmers in the Amazon provinces of Orellana and Sucumbíos in Ecuador to expand coffee high-value market opportunities and reduce their vulnerability to hunger and environmental degradation. (see http://coffeelands.crs.org/projects/). Carmen Lucía used Social Network Mapping and analysis to visualize the connections of Borderlands stakeholders and implementers with the expected results of the project. Especially in complex endeavors such as this, where multiple external actors and implementing organizations work together to achieve, contribute to and also use intermediate and final products, it is of great value to have a way of visualizing and “sorting” who does what, who uses what. Carmen Lucía did two kinds of maps- one with the responsibilities of internal actors towards the achievement of outputs, another where external actors were connected to 3 possible kinds of “interests” in or “uses” of outputs they might each have. The maps were useful as a tool to analyze the challenges related to coordination, to prioritize project actions of policy advocacy and to make evident some gaps in implementation plans. In this case SNA was a valuable tool for internal project purposes.
Last week we had the pleasant surprise of winning a contest with an SNA poster: Bing Bayot, with the help of a group of us at the CPWF KM team, presented the poster at the scientific conference of the Crop Science Society of the Philippines, Inc., and won for the team the award of Best Poster in the Socio-Economics Category Award. Aside from a certificate, plaque and even $, for me the award represents also that people involved in Agricultural research and development are recognizing the value of SNA!
In this case, we are talking about the value of SNA to select partners in water for agriculture projects. CPWF used network mapping as a diagnostic tool to help identify key institutional partners. First, the partners that had worked in the basin involved, the Ganges, in its first phase, were mapped along with organizations involved in similar, relevant projects or activities in the area. A complex picture started emerging, where it was possible to see some organization’s connections, partnerships and pertinence to the program surfacing. A list of these more “centrally connected” and bridging organizations were ranked using the network analysis results and other criteria to then choose the partners who could implement the projects and work in the network better.
River of Life: still my uncontested choice for making explicit and sharing “lifetimes”
Last week John Jairo Hurtado, of DAPA Markets fame, went to the systematization of the CRS AN4 (Agriculture for Needs) project’s results related to the Comités de Investigación Agrícola Local CIALs(link in Spanish). The overarching purpose of AN4 is to contribute to improve agricultural production and income for around 16,000 central american vulnerable households. The facilitators needed a way for around 8 CIALs (groups of 2-3 people each) to remember and document the early and intermediate results and lessons learned in each CIAL, and then and share among themselves and with AN4. When John Jairo asked us to recommend a tool or method to do this, I was reticent to speak (for about 3 seconds) because I have been second-guessing myself. Am I stuck in one-method- answers-all? Sometimes we facilitators get in “ruts”, where we really like a couple dynamics or methods and have trouble thinking of anything else… but with John Jairo, I overcame quickly and just said it: “Have you considered River of Life (RoL)?” In this case, I was right with my loyalty again. RoL allows for lots of simultaneous work, plenty of spontaneity, creativity (which I find key to good spirits also) and laughs. What products, also! I have yet to see a river of Life that I find droll or lacking in at least one “innovation”. In the CIAL- AN4 workshop each group of CIAL promoters and technicians figured out their own symbols (I love doing it thus- seeing what people come up with) and told each other their histories, with troubles, lessons learned and joys included. The narration of each river of life constitutes a historical record of events and facts that took place in the context of each group, and the subsequent discussion allows for the participants themselves to find their own differences, connections, coincidences and even common working ground(s).