This week I have been attending the Face-to-Face part of the Knowledge Sharing Workshop at ILRI in Addis. The F2F part builds upon a month of online discussion on KS tools and methods. Today I had the opportunity to benefit from the collective knowledge of colleagues working at various CG institutions, FAO and FARA and at the same time, learn about an extremely useful KS Method called  Peer Assist.

We started off the session by watching and getting introduced to the Peer Assist Method. As we were more than 10, we were divided into two different groups. As a Peer Assistee, the person or team facing a challenge or problem, I had the opportunity to discuss the issue of getting buy-in from the Staff members of the Rome-based agencies (Bioversity International, IFAD, FAO, WFP) to participate in the upcoming Knowledge Fair. The discussion was facilitated by Vanessa.

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During the first group discussion, I had the opportunity to detail out my issues and gather feedback from the colleagues. Once we finished the first session and moved to the second, the task of explaining the problem seemed much lighter. I detailed out the problem, refining it slightly based on the feedback I received in the first group. Vanessa then read out the points we had gathered from the first discussion. Because we already had covered some of the ideas, the participants felt that in the second round, they had the opportunity to build-on the ideas and give additional suggestions.

Here are just few of the ideas that surfaced during the two rounds of discussions we had:

  • Prepare a strong marketing strategy to raise awareness and build interest
  • Ensure that the event is perceived as a collaborative effort rather than led by just one organization
  • Show examples of cross organizational, multi-disciplinary and multi-lingual knowledge sharing
  • Involve staff from different departments from participating organizations who are currently doing activities that demonstrate knowledge sharing.

I thought the role of the facilitator was crucial in ensuring that the discussion stayed on track and that important points were well captured.

More information on the Peer Assist Method is available from the KS Toolkit Wiki.

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