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La retraite des projets FIDA en Mauritanie a pris clos le 27 March. Après 2.5 jours de débats et discussions, les participants ont proposé les recommendations suivantes:

Dans le cadre du renforcement des institutions rurales: (i) renforcer les OPP ou étoffer les UCP ; (ii) établir une situation de référence dans le domaine du renforcement des capacités ; (iii) établir un point focal membre de l’institution pour être le relais sur la formation et qui soit équipé de conséquence; (iv) apporter un aide concrète à l’institution pour la recherche de financements; (v) apporter un appui en termes de techniques de ciblage; (vi) développer le processus de délégation de la maitrise d’ouvrage en respectant la réglementation nationale et en suivant le processus.

En ce qui concerne les discussions sur comment assurer la pérennité des institutions rurales après la sortie du projet les participants recommandent de: (i) observer une meilleure représentativité au sein des institutions ; (ii) doter les institutions d’assise juridique ; (iii) appuyer les structures dans une perspective de régénération de ressources ; (iv) réaliser l'ancrage des institutions dans un environnement institutionnel existant.

Sur ce qui concerne comment partager les connaissances, les participants ont proposé de: (i) créer des cadres de concertation au sein des projets/entre les projets/au niveau national ; (ii) capitaliser les expériences ; (iii) développer et utiliser des outils de communication appropriés (6 fiches de capitalisation réalisés par un professionnel de la communication avant la fin de l’année) ; (iv) utiliser FIDAFRIQUE ; (v) organiser des visites d’échange sur les projets FIDA ; (vi) organiser des caravanes d’échange ; (vii) créer une meilleure synergie entre les projets FIDA en Mauritanie

Sur comment améliorer l’exécution des projets les participants recommandent: (i) une meilleure implication des tutelles dans l’exécution ; (ii) une evaluation rigoureuse des cadres du personnel ; (iii) que les UCP doivent être garants du ciblage ; (iv) que les UCP doivent effectuer un meilleure suivi et contrôle des OPP ; (v) d'améliorer le processus des DRF ; (vi) de préparer un manuel d’exécution défini par le FIDA avant de négocier les projets ; (vii) de s'assurer de l’opportunité et la qualité des études.

As IFAD will be undertaking full responsibility for the direct supervision of all its ongoing portfolio in Mauritania starting 1st January 2010 (currently there is only one project in Mauritania under direct supervision), the retreat of IFAD projects in Mauritania was also an occasion to bid farewell to UNOPS and thus to our friend and dear colleague Marc Empain. Marc has been supervising IFAD projects in Mauritania since 1998. His technical capacity, his field-based supervisions, his committment to IFAD's mandate in addition to his sense of humour and positive attitude have made Marc a highly appreciated member of the IFAD family in Mauritania. On the last day of the workshop colleagues prepared a surprise gift for Marc-a traditional Mauritanian outfit.
Bye bye Marc, you will be missed!

During the recent retreat between IFAD-funded projects in Mauritania, one of the main facilitation "techniques" utilized was the World Café (although, being in Mauritania, we should have named it the world thé). In order to make the meeting room more friendly, 6 tables seating 5 people were prepared. We bought some colored tissue at the market with which we made 6 tablecloths. We also bought some flowers (plastic unfortunately since fresh flowers were not easy to find) and placed these on each table. We had brought with us various posters from IFAD which helped to make the room even more colorful. Indeed, the room looked very pleasant, inviting and energizing! Discussions over the 2.5 days turned out to be intense and contributions from participants important. At the end of the second day we distributed a survey asking participants to evaluate the World Café method. Their responses can be summarized as follows: (i) original; (ii) participatory; (iii) constructive; (iv) useful; (v) pragmatic; (vi) consensual. In terms of improvements which they felt could be brought to the method, participants would have preferred not to discuss the same question after the first round of "switching tables". They also would have preferred to have more facilitation at the end of the general discussions to better bring their thoughts together into more concrete proposals. All in all participants considered the retreat a success and it is likely that it can be attributed to the highly participative nature of the world café methodology.

Joint IFAD-IFPRI programme

Posted by Roxanna Samii Friday, March 27, 2009 0 comments

In December 2008, IFAD's Executive Board approved a strategic partnership grant between IFAD and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to develop innovative policies on climate change mitigation and market access. This partnership will allow both IFAD and IFPRI to mutually benefit from each other's expertise in the fields of climate change and access to markets.

On 24-25 March IFPRI and IFAD colleagues met at IFAD headquarters to officially launch the programme. During the two day workshops we fine-tuned the workplan and budget for the first year.

As soon as the grant was approved, IFAD launched a competitive bidding process requesting IFAD country programme managers (CPMs) to submit proposals for countries that could benefit from this strategic partnership. The following four countries were selected since their project portfolio dealt either with climate change mitigation issues and/or market access issues:

  • Ghana
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Viet Nam

These countries are considered as a laboratory for replicating and upscaling innovative approaches in the above mentioned areas. The programme will also have wider regional impact through close involvement of the regional divisions in all programme activities in the areas of knowledge management and capacity building.

During the workshop participants :

  • agreed to monitor progress using agreed upon benchmarks
  • discussed the importance of communication within the two institutions and also on how to systematically share the results and impact of this strategic partnership with other stakeholders. In the coming months the two teams will jointly develop a communication plan. The team will use communication channels such as this social reporting blog, along with face-to-face meetings, dedicate websites and videos to continuously and systemtically communicate about the programme
  • planned for the national consultation in each of the above mentioned countries

You may download the background documentations and the presentations delivered during the workshop at: http://www.slideshare.net/event/ifadifpri-start-up-workshop

The retreat of IFAD projects in Mauritania continued today. Reflections focused on what innovations each of the projects had developed and how it would be best to capitalise on them. Some of the major innovations presented included the land tenure agreements in the Maghama I project, the "auxiliaires veterinaires" in the PASK project and the oasian Maroccan couples exchanges with the Mauritanian oases. Participants were amazed over how many innovations the ongoing projects had promoted and how little each project knew about one another's activities and how little in fact IFAD's work was known in Mauritania, despite the exciting work being undertaken through the projects. These discussions, facilitated through the world café technique, led to participants' brainstorming on how best to share the knowledge contained by these projects and how to capitalize on the innovations and best practices. Some of the initiatives proposed include exchanges between the IFAD mauritania projects, "caravan exchanges" between the "beneficiaries" of the different projects, developing effective and professional communication strategies, linking-up with FIDAFRIQUE and many more. All in all a very exciting day!

CDD in the IFAD Mauritania portfolio

Posted by Cristiana Sparacino Wednesday, March 25, 2009 1 comments

The first retreat amongst IFAD projects in Mauritania began today, 25 March, in the coastal city of Nouadhibou, 460 km north of Nouakchott. Thirty staff from the three IFAD ongoing projects, Marc Empain from UNOPS and Cristiana and Laetitia from IFAD HQ met at this retreat, and for some of the staff it was the first time meeting each other.

The 2.5 days retreat was organized with the intention of sharing knowledge amongst the three projects as well as innovations and improving project implementation. All three ongoing projects were designed along the community-driven development approach, albeit with different implementation modalities. Thus, one of the first sessions of the retreat was accorded to sharing experiences with regards to the effectiveness of the CDD approach in empowering the rural poor to overcome poverty.
The knowledge sharing methodology selected for initiating and enriching dialogue was the "world café". The debates which resulted were very rich and participants enjoyed themselves whilst learning from each other. More to come tomorrow!

Targeting in practice- Learning by doing

Posted by Annina Lubbock Monday, March 23, 2009 1 comments

On March 13, IFAD’s Technical Advisory Division organised a lunch-time seminar on “Practical experiences in targeting” delivered by Clare Bishop-Sambrook. Clare has worked as a consultant for IFAD for almost 10 years, and also for FAO, CIDA and SIDA. In recent years she has been applying IFAD’s operational framework for Targeting to different types of projects or programmes and at different phases of the project cycle. Her work has generated new learning on targeting, as well as new tools. Marian Bradley, Country Programme Manager for Malawi, and previously for Uganda and Kenya described the context in which Clare’s fieldwork was undertaken in East and Southern Africa.

Clare reminded participants up-front that targeting the poor is clearly perceived by other development actors as an IFAD trade-mark. She gave a brief overview of IFAD’s three-pronged framework for targeting:

  1. Gender-sensitive poverty and livelihood analysis.
  2. Developing the targeting strategy (using a combination of measures: geographic targeting; self-targeting through activity selection; direct targeting; capacity-building and empowerment; paying attention to procedural measures; creating and sustaining an enabling environment for targeting.
  3. Monitoring targeting performance.

During the presentation, she demonstrated the targeting tools of wealth ranking and pyramids, component analysis, a targeting strategy and a targeting matrix. She gave examples of: how IFAD was able to give a “pro-poor twist” to a large multi-donor funded irrigation project in Malawi; an actor analysis of a groundnut and Irish potato value-chains showing the different socio-economic categories involved at different nodes in the value-chain; and a similar “pyramid” applied to analysis of targeting performance in a livelihoods support project in Uganda. A targeting risk she highlighted is the tendency for women to loose out to men as value is added to their produce. She also spoke of the “household mentoring” approach used in a SIDA project in Zambia: the method increases the possibility of connecting households who might otherwise be excluded or self-exclude themselves to development opportunities.

The following are some points raised at this gathering:

  • Should we use the category “economically active poor”? Some argued that it was too broad, and that unless totally disabled all should be considered “active”; others argued that it indicates whether people can be considered as economic actors in the true sense, it reflects their degree of connectedness to markets.
  • Investing in agriculture is recognised as giving the best value for money, but not necessarily investing in the very poor. So the question is how to increase the likelihood that the very poor will benefit, whether directly (and here IFAD’s emphasis on capacity-building and empowerment are important) and indirectly, e.g through increased – and more ‘decent’- rural employment. There has to be a combination of “trickle-up”, “trickle-down” and “trickle-across”…
  • IFAD should however be careful to stay focused on its targeting mandate. IFAD’s targeting performance has been declining.
  • The targeting policy emphasises the need for ‘targeted actions’ to identify activities and services that are relevant to specific categories of people.
  • There was interest in household mentoring approach, but questions were raised as to its cost and sustainability, suggesting the need for further research. It is being piloted in a project in Uganda and possibly in Malawi.
  • The benefits of quantitative versus qualitative methods for poverty analysis were also discussed. Marian Bradley noted that for reasons of cost for project design, qualitative and participatory research is usually sufficient, which if done professionally and with proper triangulation of information generates information which is equally reliable and, in fact, often more pertinent. However, the development of the new COSOP for Uganda has been underpinned by a quantitative study of poverty in the principal agro-ecological zones in the country.

It was concluded that we need to keep sharing experience and learning about targeting. It isn’t an exact science, we have to learn by doing and keep focused on the objective, which is to benefit those who are at the bottom of the ladder. We have to be innovative in the instruments we use, and the partnerships we mobilise.

Our targeting website will soon come live where you will find case-studies, tools and guidelines. . If you have comments on this entry, experiences or lessons learned to share, please contribute to the blog!

KM self-assessment: The final act and next steps

Posted by Roxanna Samii Sunday, March 15, 2009 2 comments

On Friday 13 March, we came together at IFAD for the final KM self-assessment wrap-up session.

Mylene set the tone of the meeting by expressing appreciation for the KM self-assessment blog posts and Henning got the award as the 2009 KM practitioner convert.

If there are any KM cynics out there, you too, may win the KM practitioner convert prize. All you need to do is to commit to do at least one knowledge product and to embrace KM and knowledge sharing practices.

Later during the session, Annina was inspired by the social reporting blog and commited to contribute to the blog and report on the meeting she will be attending in Washington D.C.

I wonder if I can twist Mylene's arm and ask her to volunteer to contribute to the blog, especially since this coming week she'll be attending the Fifth World Water Forum? :)

OK - back to the Friday session.... Dan, our facilitator, split us up in 5 different groups and asked us to identify key insights and take-away messages from our respective sessions. Each group was composed of people from the different sessions. To remind us of our work, he gave us our session outputs and copies of the blog posts on KM self-assessment.

As we found our respective groups and huddled together to complete our assignment, the Vice-President reviewed the KM self-assessment framework, joined the different groups to learn more about the insights and take away messages from the various sessions.

The different groups had this to say:

  • we've made significant progress
  • we have no right to exist without knowledge management
  • the level of KM maturity varies across the house
  • capturing and reapplying knowledge is the most crucial and important dimension of KM and one that needs more attention and focus
  • there are many opportunities in current business processes - such as supervision and implementation support, RIDE, portfolio review, RIMS - to capture and reapply knowledge
  • we need to focus on systematically capturing knowledge and converting information to knowledge and learning and put in place an "accountability for learning" mechanism
  • to become a learning organization, KM needs to be mainstreamed in all business processes and practiced systematically
  • we need to go beyond the current silos
After sharing our respective insights and take-away messages, Dan gave us a blue and a yellow post-it and asked us to:
  • choose one of the 8 dimensions which we wanted to improve
  • use the blue post-it and write ONE individual action that we could commit to do which would allow us to move from our current level to our desired level
  • use the yellow post-it and write ONE division/departmental action that would allow us to move from the current level to the desired one
We diligently examined all the dimensions and confidently wrote both our personal and division/departmental commitments on the post-its and proceeded with putting them next to the dimension and the level we aspired to achieve in the next 9 months.

Surprise, surprise, the majority deemed "capturing and reapplying knowledge" as a priority area - with 13 commitments at departmental/divisional level and 11 individual commitments.

Other priority areas were:
  • Leadership and support: 5 department/divisional and 2 individual commitments
  • Building a learning organization: 5 departmental/divisional and 4 individual commitments
  • Networking and communities: 2 departmental/divisional and 5 individual commitments
  • Implementing efficiencies: 2 department/divisional and 6 individual commitments
  • Measuring value: 1 department/divisional and 1 individual commitment
  • Innovation: 1 department/divisional
For capturing and reapplying knowledge:
  • FM commited to implement "deliver as one" project
  • PN commited to operationalize KM and define who has to deliver what KM products
  • PN commited to use RIMS data to systematically ensure good quality of data leads to better projects and to produce 2 concept notes for knowledge products
  • PN commited to produce information sheets on innovative projects
  • PD front office commited to strengthen the KM component of result-based COSOPs
  • PD front office committed to distil knowledge from supervision reports and organize learning and sharing events to disseminate knowledge and lessons learnt across divisions and departments
  • PF commited to implement the regional knowledge network in Eastern and Southern Africa
  • PT commited to make sure the division knows more and to put in place a process to provide knowledge both internally and externally
  • EO commited to capture experience from projects and systemtically use it in policy papers and a basis for developing new policies
  • EC commited to widely disseminate and make IFAD's knowledge and lessons accessible
  • ES commited to making processes, procedures and methodolgies better known to the house
On an individual basis:
  • Roxy commited to raise awarness about storytelling as a knowledge sharing method to catpure project impact and to use storytelling to capture project impact for at least 2 projects
  • Roxy commited to "enroll" at least 10 more blog authors - She managed to draft Annina! 9 more to go!
  • Annina commited to use the blog to record her impressions and ideas
  • Chitra commited to analyze and share quality assurance (QA) information
  • Tom commited to systematically capture knowledge and lessons on institutions and to disseminate these on the Rural Poverty Portal
  • Mylene commited to produce innovation infosheets
  • Nadim commited to help the team to implement the RIMS analysis and write two concept notes for knowledge products
  • Henning commited to produce one knowledge product per year
  • Deidre commited to identify areas of overlap and enhance communication between divisions/departments
  • Antonella commited to capture the learning from the indigenous projects, link and feed the learning into IFAD's mainstream projects/programmes
  • David commited to integrate the corporate databases, the documents repository and the content management system to allow seamless knowledge capturing and dissemination
Lucia's wonderful drawing summarizes eloquently the various action points. What is left to do is to roll-up our sleeves and get going.

In closing the session, the Vice-President mentioned that we have finally managed to demystify knowledge management. He iteriated that while we have come a long way, we still have some work to do and to succeed we need to ensure that KM is part of our daily life, therefore, it needs to be mainstreamed in all business processes. The VP reassured the gathering that he will continue to be the KM champion. He urged everyone to work together to make sure that IFAD becomes a knowledge-based organization by generating, using and sharing not only its own knowledge but also to use knowledge generated by others to create new knowledge. The VP thanked everyone for their commitment and enthusiasm and closed the session by saying: "we are building something together and we are going to get there together".

We finished off the session by conducting an after action review (AAR). We learnt that:
  • KM is not a fancy thing to do, we can all do it
  • KM self-assessment is leading us somewhere
  • KM is about networking (YES - this is the CONNECTING dimension of KM)
  • Departments and divisions are at different levels
  • Good facilitations makes a world of difference
  • Sessions conducted outside of IFAD are more open and the energy level is definitely highter and better
  • Henning's cigars come in different flavours
What went well:
  • Peer-to-peer learning
  • Coming together of colleagues from different departments and divisions
  • Mixing and redoing things
  • Prioritization
  • Setting concrete timeframes
What would we do differently:
  • Come up with more concrete next steps
  • More focus on deadlines
  • While we recognized that innovation and knowledge management are closely linked and complement each other we did not explicitly discuss how to integrate the innovation and knowledge management strategies.
On a final note we agreed that KM as an enabler for all business processes needs to be embedded in the CMRs and in the performance evaluation system. And your social reporter would like to close this "reportage" with a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery which I think summarizes eloquently the spirit of the KM self-assessment sessions and the willingness of all colleagues to push forward the KM agenda: "As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it".

So let's all work together to mainstream KM, convert the KM cynics to KM practitioners and make IFAD both a learning and knowledge-based organization.

Thank you for taking part and for those who have been following the sessions through the blog, thanks for doing so. Please share your thoughts, ideas and insights.

Goodbye and good night! A la prochaine!

KM self-assessment: The overall process

Posted by Roxanna Samii Thursday, March 12, 2009 1 comments

In December 2008, the Vice-President and our KM champion, asked the KM core team to assess the progress made to date on the implementation of the KM strategy. In January, during the Knowledge Share Fair, the core team was lucky enough to meet Geoff Parcell and got introduced to the KM self-assessment tool.

KM self-assessment tool
The KM self-assessment tool provides a framework to engage in a dialogue and assess the level of KM maturity of the organization. It is a strategic planning and benchmarking tool which helps to identify strengths and weaknesses. As a framework it creates a common language for sharing and helps organization to identify and define (a) practices (b) trends and (c) outliers. The ultimate goal is to define organizational KM maturity and KM aspirations.

As a self-assessment tool, it creates the commitment to learn. Since it is both an individual and team exercise, it allows both for personal reflection and at the same time it puts people in touch with people, and connects those who know with those who want to learn thus fostering learning and sharing which inevitably leads to people having an "aha" moment.

The process
We opted for doing the self assessment for the following 8 competencies:

  • Taking a strategic approach
  • Leadership and support
  • Building a learning organization
  • Networking and communities
  • Measuring the value
  • Capturing and reapplying knowledge
  • Innovation
  • Implementing efficiencies in our work practices

We adapted the descriptions in the various levels so that they resonated with our reality and context. The core team debated whether we should facilitate the assessment sessions ourselves or whether it was better to have an outside facilitator. We opted for the latter, because we thought having a neutral person would enrich the conversation.

To get a good feel of where we are, we invited three different groups of colleagues - from different walks of life - to take part in the KM self-assessment. We started with the KM CoP, followed by a session with our country programme managers, technical advisers, policy analysts and finance colleagues. And the last group was a group of managers.

All groups went through the same set of exercises. That is they all:

  • individually assessed the KM maturity level and substantiated their assessment by facts
  • shared their individual assessment in teams and came up with an overall rating for the various levels. When there were huge discrepancies these were recorded
  • discussed the challenges and opportunities for taking forward the KM agenda
  • agreed on which KM competencies to improve in the next 12 months

The outcome and some observations
There was an overall consensus that we are moving from reaction to action and that on average for most of the competencies we were at level 3 , with a couple still at level two. However, the most interesting thing that emerged was the disparity between the various divisions. In some divisions the KM agenda seems to have leapfrogged, while in others, KM is still an abstract and vague concept.

What was fascinating was to listen to the conversation between the outliers and see how those who were "ahead" reached out to those who were lagging behind trying to lift their morale and to help them. The challenge now is to make this happen also in our day-to-day work.

The self-assessment provided great insight on parts of the house that need to be mentored and coached. It also highlighted the value of talking with each other and engaging in a conversation. There were many "aha" moments were colleagues realized - just by talking with each other - that either they were doing much better than they thought or they learnt new things about their colleagues activities which they did not know about.

We also observed constructive peer pressure and heard some great soundbites, such as:

  • "We need to raise the level of leadership and support to to bring a change and improvement in the other levels"
  • "The day that directors celebrate each other's achievements and are proud of each other's successes, that is when we can say we've mainstreamed KM and have become a learning organization".
  • One of the most rewarding moments was to hear a formerly KM-cynic colleague saying: "last year I decided that I would do at least on knowledge product per year. I am now trying to find the time to do KM. It is fun, it is relevant and I am spearheading others to learn".
  • There was also an interesting debate about "delivering the pipeline" vs "doing KM". The majority of the group deemed these two as part and parcel of the same thing and argued that there is absolutely no tension between these two things as delivering the pipeline means doing effective KM.
  • "if KM is not our business then we're out of business".

What came out loud and clear from these sessions was the role and attitude of leaders, managers, directors and foot soldiers. There was a passionate call to adopt an appreciative attitude towards challenges and leaders/managers were asked to proactively remove barriers rather than imposing and creating obstacles.

What we observed was that leaders are the ones who set the pace and are the role models. We noticed that if the manager encourages knowledge sharing, creates the conducive environment and her/himself proactively engages in knowledge sharing, inevitably his/her staff will follow suit!

So the collective wisdom was that leaders and managers should stride to remove barriers and obstacles adopt a positive attitude towards knowledge sharing, thus helping their staff to become more responsible for their personal actions and as a result take it upon themselves to not only consistently share knowledge but to make KM a way of life! Basically we should be aspiring to convert more KM cynics to KM practitioners.

Another revealing moment was when I wrote that a division would act as a role model for a certain knowledge capturing activity and the manager of that division said: "Oh, no Roxy, please delete that". This was also very telling, and reinforced the fact that there is perhaps a fear of showing off or setting standards for others which may cause resentment. The manager's reaction resonated fully with Tuesday morning's great sound-bite: "The day that directors celebrate each other's achievements and are proud of each other's successes, that is when we can say we've mainstreamed KM and have become a learning organization".

The challenge is to change our mindsets and our behaviours so that we feel safe to share both our successes and our challenges and indeed celebrate each other's achievements. And we should commit to do so.

I believe that yesterday morning's statements eloquently summarize our current KM maturity:

  • "IFAD has made important strides and taken concrete actions, but progress is not systematic across the house and a crucial challenge is measuring and delivering value"
  • "KM is valued in IFAD, but improvements are needed in the application, in sharing knowledge consistently and in supporting staff"
  • "IFAD as a KM organization is like an adolescent: knows what to do, has an idea on how to do it, but unless pushed or reminded still not mature enough to act independently and fully"
  • "There is a sense of movement. Knowledge sharing is happening but not systematically. There are still silos and lip service. There is lack of individual responsibility and space to do KM across the house"

We now need a good injection of positive attitude and positive vibes to get ourselves to the next level of maturity. There is a desire to get to the next level, there is also commitment - albeit perhaps not across the board. We need to bring on board those who feel are lagging behind. We need to strike the right balance between efficiency gains and not stifling innovation. We need to change the mindsets of people and make them realize that individual and/or team achievements can only strengthen the organization. We need more KM champions and more KM converts.

And we have a great opportunity to do so considering that as of 1 April 2009, our KM champion will be taking office as IFAD's President.

Stay tuned... More to come tomorrow when we have our wrap-up session with the Vice-President and President-elect.

KM self-assessment- session with managers

Posted by Roxanna Samii Wednesday, March 11, 2009 0 comments

This morning we continued the KM self-assessment journey with a group of managers.

Dan, our facilitator, kicked off the day by saying that KM self-assessment shared Yoga's principles of "awareness, acceptance and transformation". Yoga and KM self-assessment share another dimension and that is attitude. And both require a "Yes we can" attitude. This means that leaders, manager, foot soldiers and the doers need to proactively and constructively remove all barriers to allow knowledge to flow.

Some managers indicated that there is tension between delivering the pipeline and engaging in knowledge sharing/management activities, while others mentioned that "if KM is not our business then we're out of business". They were reminded that as mentioned yesterday by the CPM, technical advisers and policy analysts yesterday, delivering the pipeline and KM are part and parcel of the same thing!

The managers agreed that we need to :

  • improve the way we work and share with other departments and divisions
  • turn data to learning and knowledge
  • educate colleagues to mainstream KM in their day-to-day work
  • find the right balance between striding for efficiency gains without jeopardizing learning and innovation process
  • systematically capture and document learning emerging from our projects and programmes and to reapply these

The managers while recognizing that knowledge sharing events have increased exponentially over the last 12 months, reflected that these are not regularly attended by country programme managers. They attributed the lack of participation to the fact that the events are not necessarily designed for CPMs. Interestingly enough, yesterday none of the CPMs made this observation. So, where does this leave us? The learning events are not attended by CPMs because they are not tailored for their needs, or is it because that CPMs have other priorities or both? And why is that some CPMs attend these events, while others do not? Hopefully on Friday we can talk about these and other challenges.

This group agreed to focus on improving:

  • networking and communities from level 3 to 4
  • measuring the value from level 2 to 3
  • capturing and reapplying knowledge from level 3 to 4
  • innovation from level 2 to 3

They also had the following to say:

  • "IFAD has made important strides and taken concrete actions, but progress is not systematic across the house and a crucial challenge is measuring and delivering value"
  • "KM is valued in IFAD, but improvements are needed in the application, in sharing knowledge consistently and in supporting staff"
  • "IFAD as a KM organization is like an adolescent: knows what to do, has an idea on how to do it, but unless pushed or reminded still not mature enough to act independently and fully"
  • "There is a sense of movement. Knowledge sharing is happening but not systematically. There are still silos and lip service. There is lack of individual responsibility and space to do KM across the house"

My take away message from this morning was that the leader (in this case the manager and/or director) is the one who sets the pace and acts as role model. If the manager encourages knowledge sharing, creates the conducive environment and her/himself proactively engages in knowledge sharing, inevitably his/her staff will follow suit! Leaders and managers should stride to remove barriers and obstacles adopt a positive attitude towards knowledge sharing. This will help their staff to become more responsible for their personal actions and as a result take it upon themselves to not only consistently share knowledge but to make KM a way of life!

On Friday the three groups will share their recommendations and action plans with the Vice-President, President-elect and KM champion. So make sure you tune-in to find out the outcome of Friday meeting.

Now, it is quite late and I need to get some sleep. I know there are many people out there who are interested in the process we went through to do the assessment. Promise tomorrow I'll post something outlining the process and some highlights of these three sessions. Till then, goodbye and good night.

We continued the KM self-assessment in the afternoon with 15 other colleagues from different walks of life. This session had participants from the progamme management department (operations), technical advisory division, policy division, finance and language services. It was interesting to observe the differences between the various divisions and to see how in some divisions KM is still abstract concept.

This group assessed that we've come along way with the evidence being the fact that today we can actually talk about some achievements.

They also agreed that while in some parts of the house we are adding value by capturing, distilling and disseminating our knowledge, this is far from being systematic. There was a crie de coeur that we need to get much better in systematically capturing and disseminating our own knowledge while at the same time we need to be humble enough to recognize that we do not necessarily have all the knowledge that we need, thus we need to strengthen and/or forge new partnership with those who know more than us. These strategic partnerships can help us learn.

Both the morning and the afternoon groups talked about the challenge of converting information to knowledge and converting knowledge to learning. Both groups also talked about lack of time to think, capture knowledge, read, be creative and learn!

One of the most rewarding moments was to hear a formerly KM-cynic colleague saying: "last year I decided that I would do at least on knowledge product per year. I am now trying to find the time to do KM. It is fun, it is relevant and I am spearheading others to learn".

When I heard this colleague utter these words, I thought to myself... YES WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY, but I also came to realize that we still have a long way to go.... But now our social capital, or rather our KM capital is growing exponentially... So hopefully sooner than later we will have many more KM practitioners and KM converts.

Another interesting point was a passionate conversation about the need of demand-driven knowledge products and ability to "sell and market" our knowledge products. This conversation made the gathering recognize that KM is an investment and they realized that our clients would not accept more of the same, thus the conclusion that we had no choice but to systematically capture knowledge to generate new knowledge. At the same time the afternoon session recognized that perhaps they are not calling on the services and expertise of certain parts of the house to help tease out and distil the knowledge.

There was also an interesting debate about "delivering the pipeline" vs "doing KM". The majority of the group deemed these two as part and parcel of the same thing and argued that there is absolutely no tension between these two things as delivering the pipeline means doing effective KM.

There was consensus that we need to identify departmental and divisional needs, set priorities and allocate resources both in terms of time and money, and FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS. Everyone recognized that capturing knowledge is part of project implementation and some even talked about the using techniques such as storytelling to capture knowledge.

Both groups saw the fact that the President-elect is the KM champion as an opportunity to take forward the KM agenda.

The afternoon session agreed to focus on improving:
- strategic approach from level 2/3 to 4
- building a learning organization from level 2 to 4
- measuring the value from level 2 to 3
- capturing and reapplying knowledge from 2 to 4

The commonality between the two groups were in the area of measuring the value and improving how we capture and reapply our knowledge. Now, let's see what tomorrow's group - the managers - have to say.

Till then, goodbye and good night.

We are conducting a KM self-assessment using Geoff Parcell's self-assessment tool. This morning we had 11 people, mostly members of the KM CoP and some other colleagues. We had a great discussion and surprise surprise there was pretty much a consensus on where we are and where we want to go.

One of the greatest soundbites was: "The day that directors celebrate each other's achievements and are proud of each other's successes, that is when we can say we've mainstreamed KM and have become a learning organizaiton".

Another good soundbite was "We need to raise the level of leadership and support" to bring a change and improvement in the other levels.

We also agreed that leadership and support is the link in the chain that will drive all the others.

The consensus was to improve:

- leadership and support from level 3 to 5
- networking and communities from level 2 to 4
- measuring value from level 2 to 3
- capturing and reapplying knowledge from level 2/3 to 4/5
- innovation from level 2 to 4
- implementing efficiencies in work practices from level 3 to 4

More on Romeo and Juliet

Posted by Allison Hewlitt 0 comments

For those who missed out at the APR but heard about the 'Romeo and Juliet' session, you can get a better session of the offerings that Romeo Grant and Juliet Loan had to give each other in this short video clip.

Country Team Meeting: Mongolia

Posted by Ariko ありこ Monday, March 9, 2009 1 comments

On going RPRP is planned to be completed before the completion date. All available funding has been budgeted to be utilised within this year. This year, project effort will focus on project completion process especially on KM and CPR. ENRAP will support KM and communication officers financially and technically through out the year.
M&E support was provided by China country team member early this year. Input focussed on logframe and completion survey. Follow up input will be provided towards latter half of the year.
Supervision mission will focus on the project completion process, including SA reconciliation, completion survey, PCR, KM process. It is planned to coincide with inter Aimag meeting. Supervision mission by cluster CPO's is being discussed, providing opportunity for cross fertilisation within country cluster.
Rural Finance Component has been most problematic component, in terms of out reach and group lending. Discussion was held with APRACA in order to receive their input to the programme. CPM will support PSU in following up with participating banks.

Newly proposed Natural Resource Management Imitative builds up on one of the activities undertaken by RPRP. RPRP will provide input and support during design. Regarding the MARPP project, RPRP will implement pilot projects in 3 aimags. It is envisaged that learning from these pilot project will also be taken into the finalisation of MARPP design.

Country Team Meeting: Maldives

Posted by Ariko ありこ 0 comments

Ongoing Post Tsunami project is establishing foundation for project implementation. IFAD CPM will closely follow the process and provide necessary support.
(1) The project is currently recruiting M&E consultant to establish M&E system. CPM will request the regional RBM officer to backstop M&E consultant from HQ. A short input from Philippines CPO will be provided in late May.
(2) The project is preparing for the first withdrawal application. CPM will liaise with the project closely and provide necessary support.
(3) MTR for the project starts from 21st March. During this MTR, re-designing of components, reallocation and cancellation of fund will be decided.

The new project FADiP is awaiting for effectiveness. Current effectiveness deadline is 15th April. If the government successful meets effectiveness conditions, start up workshop shall be conducted either in June or July. During the workshop phase, loan administration and M&E training will be conducted for both projects and government staff.

The main issue of Maldives Country Programme is severe lack of local capacity for project implementation. CPM will provide information on trainings by other IFAD country teams in the sub-region.

The link below brings you to an interview of Thomas Rath on climate change with tasty social flavor added by Mattia...


APR closing comments by Thomas Elhaut

Posted by lucielamour Friday, March 6, 2009 2 comments

The APR was brought to a close by Thomas Elhaut, who promised free massages to those who would listen to his speech :-)

Instead of summarizing the APR, Thomas highlighted what he felt were the main points of change that IFAD needs to act upon:

  • Agriculture is back on the agenda: we have to do it much better this time around in the context of a food /financial crisis and the key agricultural productivity and research
  • Direct supervision: we are aiming for improved administration and shorter turnaround. Many projects are at risk, so we need to help each other. We have to move towards implementation support - facilitation, mutual accountability and support each other's learning. We heard good ideas to improve DS, such as through peer reviews, reviewing the timing of missions and empowering missions through their composition (involvement of government,grant managers and local stakeholders)
  • Grants in country progammes: we have limited resources so let's use them strategically. They are a foundation for KM and we are underexploiting that. We need stronger linkages; loans have to be greared to grants at the project design stage...why wait for marriage? (as Tung put it ;-))
  • KM: we made big progress in demystifying KM. We now know that KM is about learning and sharing, keeping it simple and innovating, with support from others, giving a shoulder to cry on. We need to be selective in what we do around KM, be evidence-based, resist standarizing and be gender/culture sensitive. ENRAP helps with this, bringing together people face-to-face and with technology; EMachina will help us with technology in the next phase. Remember that IFAD's identity is rural poverty reduction and innovation. Cassandra and her team will share this with the rest of the world
  • Managing country programmes for results: need to have simplicity and clarity. The starting point is the log frame but we need to have clarity of objective, to decide where you want to go before you try to get there. Monitoring and evaluation is a management tool; be selective, simple and concrete, collect what you need, need what you collect. We have to mainstream further by identifiyng M & E resource people in country
  • Financial: we have improved procurement but we still have some way to go. We will organize procurement trainings, but also trainings on fraud and corruption. We plan to organize a financial event with aid agencies and finance ministries to look at trying to find funds for KM and to simplify procedures. We will have more money to address global issues next year but we know that you are already confronting them on a day-to-day basis and are finding solutions for those constraints
  • Productivity issues: we need to have more talks about it... this was the first time we sat down with John Skerritt
  • Climate change: need to desgn with more flexibility, have coping strategies, policy responses and earmark funds for women to deal with climate change
  • Sustainability: it is the other side of climate change and the food crisis, the economic and social dimension. There needs to be ownership of the identity agenda at the project design and keep it on the radar throughout
  • Private sector: it is an important player, we have to start working with them as partners. We want to bring them along at the next APR meeting so we will be doing some prep work
  • Knowledge market: it was remarkable, many thanks to all for sharing about your work
  • Blog: I want to see the results from the exercice on country team work reported on blog. What are you going to do? I would love to see 2-3 changes as consequence of this workshop. Let's keep the blog alive, as least until the next workshop

Thomas hoped that we will be inspired and committed to take on all of the above so we have a better record next year. In closing, he thanked Chase and Martina (who had already thanked everyone else), wished us good field trips and bon voyage, until next year!

VietNam country action plan

Posted by lucielamour 0 comments

General action points:
  1. IFAD - Project - Government supervision missions should ensure that terms of reference are sent well in advance;
  2. The Provincial People's Committee should be informed of the Mission and requested participation, particularly to participate in the field visits;
  3. Ministry of Planning (MPI) and Investment and MoF should participate in the missions;
  4. Provincial wrap up meetings would be help at the end of each supervision mission;
  5. One national level workshop (country programme review) bringing together the findings of the supervision missions would be sufficient in Hanoi chaired by the MPI;
  6. Follow up missions would be made based on request; and
  7. Capacity needs to be built of the project M&E teams to develop M&E systems and analysis of data.

The following specific plan was discussed and timeline agreed upon with the Project Directors:

Supervision Missions:
  • 9 March - 17 March - travel to Tuyen Quang, RIDP Supervision Mission
  • 30 March - 9 April - travel to Ha Giang, DPPR Supervision Mission
  • 12 April - 21 April - travel to Quang Binh DPPR Supervision Mission
  • 26 - 29 April - travel to Bac Kan province, Start up workshop for the 3PAD
  • 1 May - 10 May - travel to Ha Tinh IMPP Supervision Mission
  • 12 May - 22 May - travel to Tra Vinh IMPP Supervision Mission
  • 25 May - 2 June - travel to Ben Tre DBRP Supervision Mission
  • 8 June - 17 June - travel to Cao Bang DBRP Supervision Mission

  • 20 - 24 April - M&E Mission in Bac Kan province
  • September - M&E follow up mission to build the capacity of the M&E units

Knowledge Management Events:
  • Mid July - IFAD provinces Pro-Poor Commodities Trade Fair in Ha Tinh province
  • August - Country Programme Review
  • 1st day - performance evaluation from MPI
  • 2nd day - project status evaluation IFAD
  • Mid October -Field immersion (Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre)
  • 1st week of December - Knowledge Management Fair
  • 1st day - media event and knowledge sharing
  • 2nd day - Provincial People's Committee day

Video thumbnail. Click to play
The six-minute APR workshop summary video has been uploaded onto blip.tv and can be viewed/downloaded. Hope it brings you good memory of those fond moments at the workshop.

Click To Play

The IFAD Philippines CPMT looks forward to a more results-based and effective implementation of its projects in the country. There are two main focus areas of the country team’s plan for 2009:
  1. improving knowledge management; and

  2. enhancing the capacity of project management.

In knowledge management, the country team wants to adopt and/or improve appropriate processes for Creating, Capturing, Communicating and Carrying Out knowledge and best practices with the help and active participation of the members of the country programme management team and its development partners, as well as of concerned stakeholders within the country and beyond. In project management, the focus will be on building the capacity of the staff of the ongoing programmes and projects, with special emphasis on the areas of Monitoring and Evaluation, Procurement, and Financial Management. During the year the following key activities under these two headings will be carried out:

  • In the area of improving Knowledge Management: (a) establish a Knowledge Bank of Good Practices; (b) publish two IFAD-Philippines Special Newsletter Issues; (c) set-up a national website; (d) conduct the 3rd Knowledge and Learning Market; and (e) identify and train Knowledge Management champions for better knowledge sharing.

  • In the area of improving Project Management Capacity: (a) hold a focused annual country programme review with special attention on Monitoring and Evaluation, Financial Management, and Procurement; (b) facilitate loan administration and financial management training with the help of carefully selected specialists; (c) facilitate the cross visit of staff from the NMCIREMP to IFAD project(s) in the Asia and the Pacific region's portfolio; and (c) enable the staff of all projects and programmes to participate in the APMAS training, once funds under that grant are released.

The Sri Lankan Country Team Work

Posted by Anura Wednesday, March 4, 2009 0 comments

We have discussed the common work for all three projects - Tsunami project, dry zone project and the plantation project. The following are our major common events in 2009 where all the projects and some government participants will participate:

  1. M&E and RIMS training programme is planned to be held in end of March. Lando and Susan will help us as the resource persons. All three projects are very enthusiastic about the workshop, may be after the APR. This is a 2 and 1/2 day residential workshop. The objective is to prepare the M&E plan with M&E indicators and identify RIMS indicators. The individual projects will finance their cost and IFAD will fiance the resources persons cots from a SIS budget. This is a novel way of having joint funding to conduct a training workshop.
  2. FAO and the World Bank with the Dry Zone project participation is organising a workshop to bring the producers, processors and traders to initiate a value chain for the project participants. The cost of the 2-day residential workshop is funded by FAO and the WB is facilitating it. IFAD project is benefiting by getting their participants to learn about processing and value addition.
  3. The Start-up workshop for the SPEnDP is scheduled for the end of March 2009. This is again a 2-day residential workshop and the total cost will come from IFAD. Although it is late we are finally getting all partners together to have this workshop.
  4. The first stakeholder workshop will be held in April to share the COSOP formulation process with the key stakeholders. This will be a residential 2-day workshop with the participation of the IFAD and GOSL key officials including the private sector.
  5. A 2-day workshop will be held in the 1st week of June to discuss the initial steps of Knowledge management strategy for Sri Lanka. The Tsunami project National Coordinator very kindly agreed to organise the workshop which will be fully financed by either IFAD or ENRAP or both. Shalini will guide us and also Chase will give us the top level guidance. The out come expected is the ingredient to formulate the KM strategy and some concrete actions.
  6. There will be Loan Admin Training Workshop for all the three project participants. This will be a 4-day workshop fully financed by IFAD and Neomi is to be contacted as the resources person.
  7. The first Country Portfolio Review workshop will be held in September. This will be a 3-4 day workshop with full participation of all the project and project lead agencies. The Dry Zone Project Coordinator kindly agree to organise the workshop and the full cost will be born b IFAD.
  8. In addition to these common work the following implementation support and supervision Maison (ISS) are planed: (a) Light mission for PTCRrMP in March; (b) Design mission for the NADeP in May; (c) Mid-term Review Mission for DZLisPP in June; (d) Light mission for SPEnDP in July; (e) 1st ISS mission for the Grant project for Anuadhaura Rural Foundation in August; (f) Full ISS for PTCRrEMP in September; and (g) full ISS for SPEnDP in December.

The China country team reviewed the achievements of last year’s action plan and acknowledged that last year plan was a bit ambitious, as result about 50% target was achieved. This was also due to the fact that the government focal agency would ultimately need to be consulted and not all actions were fully endorsed. This year’s plan was made with PMOs but also with leadership given by the government representative. The focus will be on improving knowledge management and project implementation quality:

Knowledge management

  • Strengthen knowledge collection and dissemination in project management.
  • Increase awareness of KM
  • Diversify the composition of the direct supervision mission.
  • Enhance the role of ENRAP website (system upgrading and enlarge the number of users)
  • Improve South-South cooperation in aspect of KM

Project management
  • Develop a comprehensive set of M&E operation guidelines and tools (RIMS)
  • Activities supporting project sustainability such as case study and ensuring maintenance of project investment etc.
  • Conduct joint project review (IFAD, MOF and PMO should participate)

In light of the discussions of the PI Annual Performance Review workshop, the Pakistan country team has fine tuned the country programme AWPB for the following 5 key areas:

1. Managing for results
Project level

  • All projects to focus more on RIMS, with more regular / consistent reporting on RIMS indicators
  • Project management to have contingent plan for ensuring continuity in occasions when M&E officers are transferred
  • PPAF to organise 6-monthly review meetings with POs on results of MIOP & PRISM
Country programme level
  • To strengthen capacity of country office to back up / assist projects on M&E in general and RIMS in particular

Generic recommendation: IFAD to provide projects with continuous refresh courses on RIMS

2. Knowledge management (KM)
Project level
  • Projects to host 1 KM workshop to operationalize country programme KM strategy / action plan, with support of KM facilitator
  • PPAF-managed projects to: (a) standardise MIS system / software for POs; & (b) have a greater focus on reporting good practices under PPAF-supported activities, e.g., IT-based monitoring (used by CMDO)
Country programme level
  • To develop a country programme KM strategy & action plan
  • To organize at least one KM workshop with participation of main stakeholders

3. Sustainability
Project level

  • All projects to focus more on CO sustainability
  • All projects to focus more on supporting union-level legally-registered apex bodies (for ensuring linkage with government institutions and services)
Country programme level
  • Supervision / implementation support missions to pay particular attention to sustainability
  • To update & expand the use of the “Institutional Maturity Index” (currently used by AJK CDP)
  • To explore PPAF collaboration in dealing with NADP sustainability (in addition to the planned small country grant)

4. Innovation
Project level
  • Projects to visit PPAF to explore possibility of replicating innovative practices such as IT-based monitoring
  • AJK CDP and PPAF-implemented projects to reinforce implementation of the “innovation” component under these projects

5. Loan/grant linkage
Country programme level
  • To ensure small country grants are linked with, and/or enhance, loan project(s)
  • To facilitate EAD/ENRAP cooperation in M&E capacity-building
  • To include grant projects in country portfolio review meetings

Co-financing Session:

Posted by Ayurzana Puntsagdavaa 0 comments

Recorded by Sana F. K. JATTA and Ayurzana Puntsagdavaa

The lunch session on co-financing was held on 4 March 2009 with the following purposes:

  • to reflect on experiences of project and programme managers of IFAD-assisted projects in the Asia and the Pacific region on co-financing and;
  • to extract lessons learnt to help improve partnership frameworks in the future.
There were 30 participants in the session including the project managers and country presence officers from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and VietNam. In addition, there were ten IFAD staff, plus representatives from partners such as WFP, UNDP and SEARCA.

To set the scene for discussion the following facts were shared with the participants. Out of IFAD-assisted 52 projects in 2008, 27 projects were co-financed (23 were IFAD-initiated and co-financed by others; 4 were other institution-initiated and co-financed by IFAD). IFAD's corporate target for co-financing is to achieve a ratio of 1:1, of which 30% should be IFAD co-financing other donor funded projects, leaving 70% of IFAD projects having to seek to mobilize co-financing from others.

During the animated discussion the following key points were raised by project directors / managers:
  • Co-financing promised during design sometimes did not materialize;
  • Even where co-financing promised during design did end up materializing, they sometimes were on terms and conditions different from those agreed;
  • Lack of synchronization of resources mobilized by co-financiers;
  • Complexity of resource mobilisation, especially when many co-financiers fund 1 specific activity or component;
  • Managing different co-financiers demands a lot of time from project directors / managers;
  • Donors demand co-financing sometimes for their own internal corporate requirements rather than that of borrowing governments;
  • Sometimes mobilization of Government counterpart funds pose such a hassle for project directors that they are forced to use donor’s funds, which subsequently creates accountability problems and problems with withdrawal applications; and
  • Lack of harmonization of strategic objectives and operational procedures of donors poses difficulties during implementation.

Some of the key recommendations that emerged from the discussions were the following:
  • Co-financing agreements should be completed, finalized and well documented prior to submission to the Executive Board of IFAD;
  • Programme design should build in sufficient flexibility such that lack of co-financing resources during implementation will not have a major impact on the whole project;
  • Avoid many co-financiers funding the same component where possible;
  • Different cofinanciers should be assigned different geographic area or component or activity to fund such that each could be self contained;
  • Target co-financing of different programme activities based on comparative advantages of individual co-financiers with the hope of managing or capitalizing on knowledge they have and on their corporate comfort levels;
  • Carefully selecting cofinanciers can be very useful e.g. in debt-swaps; and
  • When mobilizing co-financing ensure that co-financiers explain clearly their procedures for mobilizing their funds to ensure project managers know exactly what they have to do from the beginning of the project.

Please find the action plans of the country programmes for Cambodia and Indonesia. YQ

After discussion in small groups, participants shared their thoughts and views on what stood out most for them during the APR and what might they do differently as a result. Here are some of their responses.

What stood out for you?
  • "How the workshop proceedings were captured."
  • "Discussions on sustainability, M&E and KM which will be a highlight in our 2009 work."
  • "We have a human network"
  • "The effectiveness and facilitation of the programme"
  • "Everything was on time. The mix of modalities. No session was boring."
  • "It was really nice to have participated in this workshop and to have met the project directors... I now actually see their faces."
  • "Thomas Elhaut responded to sessions."
What might you do differently as a result?
  • "Integrate components addressing climate change challenges within our projects"
  • "Use some of the different methodologies to conduct our own meetings"
  • "Based on the discussion on direct supervision...  finally for the first time, I realised that after one year experience, our relationship with our projects has really changed... it has become more intensive in terms of partnerships and content of the discussion. It has changed dramatically for the better."
  • "Sustainability of implementing our programs."
  • "Get more in touch. I have heard about projects and activities happening in the Philippines. I take my responsibility to have more information on them."
  • "Knowledge Fair in our country."
  • "Integrate KM in country."
What stood out for you? What might you do differently?