Experience Capitalization workshop - Courtesy of official CTA website
CAIRO – 6 February 2018: The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) is currently conducting its second workshop for its “Capitalisation of Experiences for Greater Impact in Rural Development” project between February 5 and 9.
The three-year knowledge sharing and management initiative is led by the CTA in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and financial support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Like last year, the initiative is running its workshop in Dakar in the presence of the same participants. Building on the findings of the previous workshop, this meeting will focus on the steps taken since the previous workshop and the steps needed to share experiences and lessons learnt from participants’ projects. The workshop will then include a round of online contact and support between project staff and participants, a new feature added to the workshop.
This workshop is expected to focus on effective business development and financial services, resource allocation and availability, client-market link, sustainability of enterprise development and gender issues around enterprise development. These issues seem to be all aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Launched in April 2016, the initiative is currently being implemented in different parts of the world with the aim of improving and scaling up developmental interventions through ensuring a sound mechanism for continuous learning. The initiative works to improve the analysis, sharing of information, documentation and adoption of new initiatives and projects, as well as adaptation to new circumstances and situations in the field of agriculture.
As Krishan Bheenick, CTA Senior Programme Coordinator Knowledge Management, put it, “We [CTA] are interested in working with those who, as part of their rural development efforts, are interested in showing what they have done and achieved and serve as examples to others. Here, our objective is to get institutions in the region to institutionalise Experience Capitalization.”
As a continent full of potential, Africa is set out to benefit significantly from this initiative. Most of Africa has very fertile land that would benefit greatly from the sharing of expertise, especially in light of the fact that recent research has shown that although many projects have increased knowledge in specific areas and many areas continue to develop their ideas and experiences, this knowledge is rarely written down or published, meaning that it remains unknown to the rest of Africa. This is where the experience capitalization initiative comes in. It has the ability to increase information potential through acting as a joint platform for the sharing of experiences.
The project does not only provide practical action, they also work with participants to identify specific innovations and practices that have been in use and to analyze where else they would work. This comes at an optimal time for Africa, as the continent has recently seen a surge of the number of people seeking higher education abroad to return to their countries and develop it, as well as the rest of Africa.
Another great benefit for African nations from this initiative is its capacity for matchmaking. Through its online presence and ensuring that it has regular workshops, the initiative is able to connect participants in different countries or in different regions within one country. This has, as research has shown, enabled more to be done in Africa and has also strengthened the capacity of participants. Through connecting participants, the initiative has ensured that participants will remain in contact between sessions, meaning they will continue to share their experiences all-year-round.
As we have seen time and time again all over the world, experience capitalization, coupled with the chance to bounce ideas off of someone with different experiences in the same field, can lead to an improvement of existing practices and the adoption of new and more promising practices or initiatives. This is particularly the case for this initiative as it discusses with participants and institutions how to best implement the practices that have worked in other places.
By focusing on the story behind the numbers, which complements quantitative research with qualitative research, making it easier for people to implement programs, the project provides many ‘success stories’ that are both inspirational and practical, enabling African societies to develop faster. Furthermore, by focusing on awareness raising and institutionalization of policies, the experience capitalization initiative is well-positioned to positively affect sustainable and long-term development of rural areas in Africa.