Rural livelihoods in the context of COVID-19: impact and intervention needed for resilience
22 September 2020
Knowledge & Learning is a cross-cutting theme incorporated into the design and implementation of each country project and is a key function of the Regional Hub. Activities that support Knowledge & Learning, or Knowledge Management, work to capture, analyse, and disseminate the cumulative knowledge and experience of each RFS project and programme as a whole.
When implementing large-scale development projects and programmes in the agriculture, natural resources, and environment sectors, Knowledge Management is often “treated as an afterthought”, according to the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel. The cumulative experience of a programme or organisation is an under-utilised resource that, if used correctly, could improve project impact, sustainability of project outcomes, and long-term capacity development.
Knowledge Management systems exist within resilience building projects and programmes, but often fail to be effectively embedded into project design and implementation. This shortcoming is both a product of and results in a lack of resources or expertise dedicated to Knowledge & Learning. Because Knowledge Management is not adequately formalised or incentivised, projects fail to capture and apply knowledge of what works and what doesn’t within adaptive management processes and within broader policy and decision-making processes.
Well designed and executed Knowledge Management systems that allow for frequent exchange of knowledge, documented learning and project adaptation can lead to transformational change. Ongoing Knowledge Management activities support RFS teams in translating evidence and project experience in to accessible products and tools that can feed into project design and implementation processes as well as decision-making and policymaking processes at the local-, national-, and continental-level. Making sure key stakeholders have the right information at the right time can improve the quality of decision-making and build efficiency both within and between projects.
By building Knowledge & Learning activities into each of the RFS country projects, RFS is contributing to growing Communities of Practice that operate within agriculture, natural resource management, and food security domains. Each of the RFS country projects operate within unique contexts, yet they all face common challenges. Communities of Practice capitalise on that commonality, connecting practitioners and stakeholders across countries and regions for peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, support, and collaboration.
Knowledge & Learning activities take place both within country projects and across the RFS programme as a whole. Within the programme, the Regional Hub is responsible for identifying, capturing, and disseminating knowledge for use and for learning for the country projects and external audiences. Through our Implementing Agencies, RFS offers an array of tools, methods and knowledge exchange approaches to connect country projects with each other and with the Regional Hub for support on implementation, filling information gaps and scaling-up learning. The Regional Hub develops knowledge products and tailors knowledge platforms, such as the Science-Policy Interface and the Resilience Atlas, to disseminate knowledge and key information and evidence to country projects in support of improved decision-making and project implementation.
The Regional Hub also organises South-South learning exchanges, annual workshops and webinars and cultivates relationships between country project for learning and collaboration. In May 2019, the RFS Uganda project team travelled to Kenya to see first-hand the technologies and approaches the RFS Kenya project is implementing to improve smallholder access to water and restore degraded riverbanks in the Upper Tana catchment. In March 2029, RFS project teams visited project sites in the Northern Ghana to learn how local farmers and communities are benefiting from Payment for Ecosystem Services, women’s empowerment and gender mainstreaming, Village Savings and Loans, and community engagement activities.
Explore the RFS Country Projects to see more examples of how RFS countries are implementing Knowledge & Learning activities.
Stories from the Field
Explore our stories from the field to learn more about how RFS country project teams are implementing activities related to the programmatic theme of Knowledge & Learning.
We have a growing library of reports, briefs, case studies, media, tools and guidelines. Explore all resources related to Knowledge & Learning to get greater insight into our programme activities.
In the November 2020 issue of our newsletter, read about the contributions of FAO and IFAD to the African Union’s virtual conference on rural livelihoods in the context of COVID-19. Learn about how an exchange visit to Ghana inspired the RFS Nigeria team to roll out new composting approach at home. Read how gender teams are developing gender action plans and organising community conversation meetings in Ethiopia and how community members are playing an active role in land rehabilitation in Burundi.
The Sahel is experiencing structural transformations in rural areas with major repercussions on production systems, family economies and the living conditions and security of rural populations. Pastoral populations are particularly exposed to these transformative drivers; however, the lack of relevant information on pastoral youth, the conditions for their empowerment and the current conditions for pastoral family economies too often leaves room for overly generic discourse on the climatic determinants of crises.
This is why the FAO initiated an exploratory study conducted in 2018 and 2019 among young pastoralists in cities in Burkina Faso and Chad. This summary report presents and analyses the networks and migratory trajectories of young people of pastoral origin to cities in Burkina Faso and Chad and their institutional context in each country.
In the October 2020 issue of our newsletter, we share a recording of Lord Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister of State for Pacific and Environment, highlight the Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund as a best practice example of ecosystem-based adaptation during this year’s World Water Week. We provide an overview of how country projects are integrating Outcome Mapping within project-level monitoring and evaluation to catalyse behaviour change.
The issue also features and update from the RFS Nigeria and Tanzania projects. Read how RFS is empowering women in Nigeria through beekeeping and how IFAD’s Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) is being used in Tanzania to provide a clearer understanding of rural poverty.
The Knowledge Centre is a central platform for sharing resources and information generated by the 12 Resilient Food Systems country projects and Regional Hub.
Within the Knowledge Centre, you can find helpful resources, tools, case studies, and news stories related to the different countries and themes of the Resilient Food Systems programme.