Resilient Food Systems SHARED Toolbox: A toolkit for enhancing inclusive and evidence-based policy development
14 October 2021
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.
The RFS Kenya project is combating sedimentation in the Tana River by facilitating climate-smart smallholder agriculture. During the 2021 country roundtable, Conservation Programme Manager Anthony Kariuki, and M&E Officer John Gathagu provided an update on the project’s activities, achievements, challenges and lessons learned. The presentation was followed by a facilitated Q&A session to allow country project and RFS partners a chance to exchange information and learn more about RFS activities in Kenya.
The SHARED toolkit is the result of a tailored engagement approach and training process that was carried out with the Resilient Food Systems (RFS) country projects based on the SHARED approach. To assist RFS country teams in strengthening the connection between science, policy and institutions from the national to the local level, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) partnered with the Stakeholder Approach to Risk Informed and Evidence Based Decision Making (SHARED) Decision Hub to increase the engagement of RFS country project teams with policy and institutional processes.
The process to develop the toolkit was initiated with a series of consultation interviews and was followed by a set of virtual training events customized to the priorities of the country projects. Reflections by country projects provided feedback on the training as well as insights for future engagement and inclusion of the SHARED tools, methods and approaches.
The RFS Burundi project is increasing the adoption of resilient, improved production systems for sustainable food security and nutrition through integrated landscape management and sustainable food value chains. During the 2021 country roundtable, Project Coordinator Salvator Ndabirorere provided an update on the project’s activities, achievements, challenges and lessons learned. The presentation was followed by facilitated Q&A session to allow country project and RFS partners a chance to exchange information and learn more about RFS activities in Burundi.