This is a post following up on the Knowledge Management, Education and Learning Workshop held in Maputo 4 and 5 December 2008. I did the ‘Social Reporting’ at this workshop, with help of many of you. You can read the resulting Social Report by selecting the tag KELMaputo.)

The following is a reflection on the practice of ‘Social Reporting’; what is different about it?, why is it important? It was originally written for (and published at) my own blog. This explains the more personal notes here and there, for which i apologize. I considered the ‘broader view’ beyond the workshop in Maputo important, that is why I decided to crosspost the entire post.

I recently did three social reporting jobs at face-to-face events (first links are to the official main websites of the events, last to the resulting social reports):

1. Anim@te in Lisbon. 1 day, about 100 participants in plenary. I worked with Beverly Trayner and a team consisting of participants, most of them not very familiair with social media; result (in Portuguese).
2. The KM and learning and education workshop by CGIAR and GFAR in Maputo. 1,5 day, about 40 participants in mixed settings. I worked by myself; result here.
3. “Powering a new future”, the final event after 8 years of Equal (which was the European program for social innovation) in Lisbon. 3 days, >500 participants. I assisted Beverly Trayner and David Wilcox. Result here.

In each of these cases, we used a WordPress blog as a home for publishing all media: video (YouTube,, photo (Flickr), text, Twitter. We worked in close cooperation with the event organisors. We had the first content up within hours after the start of the event, and a finished end product within hours after the end.

The three events each gave a different perspective on the new practice of social reporting.

Animate showed how well Social Reporting can work as a crash course in Web2.0 tools and collaborative, social way of working. When you actually SEE how photos originating from different Flickr accounts via tags and rss are instantly shown on a blog, you GET it. When the issues you were vigorously defending over coffee break at an event are videod and blogged, and you get reactions…. you no longer question the relevance of “all those trivial blogposts about nonsense”. When the colleague who could not attend gives you intelligent feedback the next day because he has been following the twitter stream or blog…. you feel the potential. Learning to master the tools is easy, once you understand what web2.0 can be used for. Another great effect was the community engaging and community building happening in our small team.

The workshop in Maputo, Mozambique was with less people and the focus was more on the content itself. I did a mix of note-taking, videos, impressions. I think the result (see the Outline of the Social Report Simone Staiger compiled, or all posts here) may be quite useful for participants, organisors and others. Compared to a formal report this is rich, easy & entertaining to look at and read, compiled by a mixture of authors/contributors, quickly available after (during) the workshop, and open for comments. It is therefor more of a start, where a formal report always has something defenite and seems like a closing.

The Equal event was huge, with 3 large auditoria and many parallel sessions in smaller spaces. It was great to work in a team of three, each of us all-rounders. I think we helped to give an informal account of the event, highlighting interesting work and people, weaving media, languages and voices. We have extensively reflected on the practice of Social Reporting at the Equal event, which David blogged about here .

Learning, community building, building & extending conversations, documenting and weaving voices… The sum of the three events really convinced me: Yes, this is important. Social Reporting is changing the way we organize events. Also, on a personal note, I much enjoyed the social reporting work! I liked having an excuse to talk to people, asking questions you might otherwise not have asked. I also enjoyed getting their stories out to the world, allowing connections to be made. And yes, -at best- there is more to social reporting than just surprising participants with their photos and video online.

During the last event I assisted Bev Trayner, who brought reporting into social learning, and David Wilcox, who brought social into reporting. Interestingly, something we reported about (Etienne Wenger’s talk on how social learning spaces are important) helped us strengthen our common understanding of social reporting. After digesting for a few days, David blogged on the insights he had, and others (see comments) are taking it from there. The way this conversation is now extended both in time and in people taking part in it, is in itself a demonstration of how social reporting works.

Yes we ARE all networked learners!, and like David, this “theory” helps me understand the attraction of the web and how it all hangs together. It also shows the important roles of the future: Let us continue to create the social learning spaces, keep them open, connect people, and continue to enable access for those of us who -for whatever reason- are new. Weaving online and Real Life in smart ways -such as by Social Reporting- will stretch the possibilities for learning across boundaries.

Of course we are not the only ones “discovering” the genre. Many blogs work in the same way. Dave Briggs seems to work at events in much the same ways. Rober Buzink (freelance journalist) reports in detail (but in Dutch) on the well read journalism blog “De Nieuwe Reporter” about an experiment using real time textmessages (using coveritlive) to cover an event. It is very exciting to think what will happen if on-site and digital get more interwoven, with on-site screens showing the digital conversations, and more people connecting.

Finally, a few alineas from the forthcoming publication on Social Reporting, meant for event organisors, by Beverly Trayner and David Wilcox and sponsored by Equal:

The aim of social reporting is to create an informal narrative to the event, which could complement the formal results or conclusions of that event. The idea of social reporting has been growing in response to two important changes in the organisation of today’s types of events. The first is the explosion of new and free online tools that opens up communication and the publishing of information of different types (such as text, photographs and video recordings) in different ways and to different types of people.

Equally important as the new ways of publishing is the growing recognition that many insights and learning that happens at face-to-face events takes place during informal conversations and not necessarily in the formal presentations or sessions. Social reporting aims to try and stimulate and capture some of these improvisational coversations as a way of bringing more voices to the table and of surfacing some of the stories that help give context to the event.

While mainstream reporting is usually about capturing surprise, conflict, crisis, and entertainment, and in projecting or broadcasting stories to audiences, social reporters aim to work collaboratively with other people, producing words, pictures and movies together. They may challenge and even provoke, but they are sensitive to the resources and parameters of the group, community or organisation they reporting for. They are insiders rather than outsiders. It is about using skills in story-telling to help the conversation along in ways that may help people work better together; treating everyone with respect; and ideally making it all a fun and rewarding experience. It’s more about conversation, collaboration and celebration than conflict, crisis and celebrity (although these should not be overlooked!). It should – like the best journalism – be about promoting some transparency, accountability and openness, but not about thinking that only journalists can do that. It should be sociable, and for social benefit.

I remain thinking of how to broaden Social Reporting beyond events. Reporting on change processes, development, collective action. Reporting about/with social artists… about the changes web2.0 brings to collective action….
Much like David is doing with his entire blog, i guess. Clay Shirky, who wrote a book about web2.0 and collective action, is suggesting to report on what is happening.

So this is one of the things I intend to do in 2009. I will focus on rural areas. What does web2.0 and increasing connectedness mean for rural areas? What are the implications, the new opportunities, new organisational and business models for agriculture and rural areas? What does networked learning mean for agricultural extension, for versatile countrysides?

the fishbowl session (photo by Petr Kosina)

the fishbowl session (photo by Petr Kosina)

This is a post following up on the Knowledge Management, Education and Learning Workshop held in Maputo 4 and 5 December 2008. (You can read more about this workshop by selecting the tag KELMaputo.)

A few weeks after our workshop in Maputo I have found some time and mental diskspace to finish loose threads. The following is a short summary of the notes of the session we used to hear back from the three groups, also known as ‘the Fishbowl session‘.

Notes of the Fishbowl session Maputo workshop, 5 December

In the group on learning with communities the ‘model’ for the new -or not really that new?- reality for agricultural knowledge or information was discussed. The networked model is becoming more eminent in an increasingly connected world, like in Steve Songs presentation. What is the role of research in the new networked reality? How does it link to the changes within CGIAR?

Several implications were touched. Not seeing CG as central, but the whole as a network of equals, is one of the ‘new’ perspectives. How to keep track of interventions and of their success?

The following emerged from the discussions as good things to be doing:

  • Allowing the use of process indicators instead of only focussing on result or product indicators. The idea is: if the process is right, there is probably somewhere, sometime, a result. Much easier to ‘measure’ the quality of the process than insisting on always measuring the result. (Plus you avoid the problem of attribution. (The question: is the result measured thanks to the process).
  • Instead of zooming in to the problems, use asset based thinking. Collecting success stories within and around CGIAR is important; there are many and they set good examples.
  • Partnerships are considered crucial. What are ways to build equal partnerships?

Universities in Africa, as discussed by a group on formal education, are very diverse, in all possible aspects. They need support to enter the 21century, how can we support them? They, too, are part of the networked model: how can they deal with it?

Except for the changes to adapt to shifting times, curricular changes (or renewal of curricula) are needed. What opportunities do the new connections, the social web,  offer here? Can we think of e-curricula? Also: how do we increase the capacity on Knowledge Management itself, is that by doing it or additionally by offering KM curriculum?

And finally for the group focussing on Knowledge Management. Within CGIAR, How to really embed KM?
Parallels between institutes, departments and key programs were explored.
A broad range of topics was touched in these discussions, networking occurred and several personal commitments were made.

Personal reflection
I think the workshop showed how it all hangs together: the networked model for Agricultural Knowledge, in which farmer communities, the value chains, Research, formal education and joint learning all have their place. The workshop clearly showed how this picture is changing; becoming more “networked” with the increasing connections and digital tracks we are all leaving.

Ajit Maru, co-initiator of the workshop, explains what to him is the core of the change in a comment on this blog:

Ajit Maru Says:
December 17, 2008 at 11:31 am

The core issue in Steve’s presentation was about “conversation” in a community.

To me, it is not only conversation that is important but “continuous conversation” within a community that is even more important. We can have a conversation in a community but when it is continued over time instead of it being one-off it enables blossoming of different perspectives on an issue that leads to a far more deeper understanding of the issue. (his comment is much longer, read on here..)

This, together with the changes upcoming in CGIAR, gave us a context in which there was LOTS to jointly explore: how to be effective, how to link, how to deal with partners inside and outside CGIAR, how to keep track, how to share our successes and failures? Who to liaise with, what are possible alliances? And, maybe most of all: Where am I in the new picture, where are you? What do the changes, both wider societal and within CGIAR, mean to me? How is my institute, my department, my group of colleagues reacting to the changes? and how is yours?

The maps are changing. Explorations on a continuously changing map are not easy. Some of us may feel we achieved little, as there is little concrete result. But still it feels like we worked hard: at getting to grips with new challenges ahead, brainstorming on what to do about them, networking for possible alliances. I for me have decided to do as suggested, and to focus on process and not immediately on result…. maybe it is early to set our marks. To me, the workshop seemed like a beginning: where to put our marks next? What are some common principles for the future? How and with whom can we join our forces for the future? I trust this blog will be one of the meeting places where we can follow the ongoings of this process. What will the 2009 episodes bring?

The ICT-KM Program of the Consultative Groups on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and YPARD (Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Research for Development),  along with other partners organized a workshop to discuss priorities and develop an agenda for action through global collaboration in improving agricultural knowledge management, education and learning on 4 and 5 December 2008 at Maputo during the CGIAR AGM08.

The day and a half meeting was documented through social reporting with help of consultant Josien Kapma.
Social reporting is where a group of participants at an event interactively and jointly contribute to some form of reporting, in text, photos, images or video. The resulting “social report” is made accessible, usually online, as soon as possible, sometimes as a half-product. This allows others to join in, to extend, to adjust or remix.”

We started Day 1 with two key notes.

Steve Song, of Shuttleworth Foundation (formerly of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, where he led the ICT programs for Africa), was the first workshop presenter.
The increasing density of connections in the world changes the way we work, the way we think in a fundamental and qualitative way. I will talk about why that is true and what impact that may have on people and organizations. “

Professor Ekwamu Adipala was our next guest speaker. He coordinates the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe
The main thrust is that for Africa to participate in a global knowledge economy it must have a critical mass of well trained human capital and that is grossly lacking. The need remains on good professional discipline and depth, but more critically, on cross-cutting professional skills that allow the professionals to adapt to opportunities. “

After the two presentations, the 40 or so participants had conversations in groups about what they had heard and prepared questions to the speakers that were then addressed in plenary.

We ended the morning session with a Chat-Show to listen to more experiences of partners in the areas of KM, education and learning. Chat show host Peter Ballantyne used the  connectedness concept that Steve proposed in the morning to gather participant’s experiences.
The single one most important thing, according to the chat show guests: Collaboration between African University, non-African University and CGIAR, each sticking to its area; Explore ICTs to build self-directed learning; Unlock CG knowledge; ICTs for meaningful conversation with partners; Curriculum reform and mentoring;  Introduce new ICT’s, e.g the “voice web” to radio”.

In the afternoon, we broke out into three groups in order to allow participants to address in depth the issues they care about. One group worked on formal education, another group addressed the issue of rural learning communities and a third group explored possible entry points fro the CGIAR to work on KM strategies.

 Our social reporter gathered some feedback from participants after Day1:

On day two we used a Fishbowl dynamic to share interactively the discussions from the different working groups, for many the highlight of the event.

We ended the workshop going around the circle of participants and their take-aways.

Workshop photo gallery: Thanks to Petr Kosina for his great shots.

In the context of this workshop GFAR invited us to submit organizational profiles in order to allow GFAR to do some assessment work. Participant organizations were asked to share their needs and priorities with regards to Agricultural Knowledge Sharing, Education and Learning. Concrete suggestions for action were also part of the form.

See the profiles:


(photo credit: bikeracer)

On the second and last day of our Maputo workshop we wanted to to hear back from the groups. We used the fishbowl technique: the group listens in as three participants (sitting in the middle of the circle: in the fishbowl) question each other about what was discussed in their groups. Anyone can move to the middle. Read more about this and other methodologies in the KS toolkit.

Although at first somewhat uneasy, later on the Fishbowl worked really well to have a more conversational, more open and more participative summary and digest of the group work.

Here are some notes on the Fishbowl session: notes-on-fishbowl-session-maputo.

Here are some notes of the last session of the KM group, about capacity building: capacity-building-and-km-exploring-commonalities.

UPDATE 31 December: another post on this session is here

Nadia capturing participants expectations

Nadia capturing participants' expectations

During introductions the first morning

During introductions the first morning

After grouping the post-its

After grouping the post-its

zooming in

zooming in

On the first day of the workshop participants thought about their expectations for the workshop -and shared them. Nadia captured what people said on post-it notes and slightly grouped them. This was the result. See more pictures here.


New opportunities
Meaningful conversations

How to attract investment

Needs of all actors present
Institutional mandates

Collaboration and Synergies
Work with others
Build community
Develop partnerships
Links with other orgs
Partnerships in Africa
Private sector and intermediaries

KS and Learning and Change
Understand KS better
Effective KS
Learn about KM from other organizations
Support culture of learning and KS
Learn innovation tools of ICT-KM
Learn concepts
Learning Models
Current thinking on ICT-KM in CGIAR
Learn about ICT-KM Program
How KS can be implemented in the CG?

How to make use of strategic opportunities?
Role of ICT-KM in change?
New thinking in communication?
KM approach for CG

Get busy in the same direction
Honest and realistic practical actions
Moving this forward

Outreach / Uptake
Learn on how to get messages out
Explore barriers to reaching target groups
How to talk to all at the same time
What beyond publications in journals
How to get research into use?
Getting info of CG out
Ways to explain what we do

Capacity Building
Use of ICTs for Capacity Building
Link ICT-KM with cap. Building

Universities to have two way links to KS
Understand how K products be used in education

New models for farmer learning
ICT-KM to work with farmers – new developments
Farmer knowledge

At the end of the workshop as a kind of evaluation participants were asked to comment on the workshop. This is what they said.


Increased confidence in our group. (opinions, rich discussions)
Good sense about the KM community
Happy to seeing space / role for YPARD
Happy to see other methods. Chat show did not really work, fish bowl was great. Too much technology focus with first presentation. Output through WP -brilliant.
2 sides of the coin. technology and new young generation. positive about bringing universities to KM community.
Content versus IT. Information is not Knowledge.
Welcoming idea of CLO. More structuralized collaboration between KM and capacity building.
Strengthening relationships. ILAC & ICT-KM helping each other in the change process on complementary issues
Great idea to merge Agric Ed. &KM connection with change process. work systematically together.
So much overlapping  & combined interests
A lot of necessary conversations. Need to think about scaling up process how to respond broader / bigger issues
Reminded about what he left behind when moving from a large organisation to a smaller.
Hoping little but more profound talks on KM strategy
Separate groups wouldn’t have benefitted from the outside views. Moving towards the cross polination of perspectives
Great diversity (org & geographically) a lot of new ideas. Interesting example of social reporting.

At several occassions during the KM, E & L Workshop in Maputo, we split up in three groups: Knowledge Management (mostly from a CGIAR perspective), communicating and learning with rural communities, and Education (how to reform African universities).
In each group, notes were taken by “reporters”. Herewith we share some of these notes.

Group on Agricultural Education

Identifying needs in Agricultural Education. Focus: Public Institutions
Action oriented approach: What opportunities for collaboration?

Key Questions to help in Action Planning
-How to ensure knowledge generated is part of Knowledge sharing web?
-How do we capture the needs/demands/ of the beneficiaries?
-how do we capture the information and resources that can address the needs of the beneficiaries.

Check institutions with best practices in KM to adopt.
1. Conduct regular particpatory needs analysis to identify learning needs
setting objectives

curriculum development

    Promote cost sharing among stakeholders.

2. Review and identify policies ^policy frameworks, institutional systems, resources and structures neede to perform university fuctions optimally.
Involve CG centres & research institutes to ensure quality in research to gain adequate competencies by the learners.

3. Review teaching and learning practices to meet expected learning outcomes.

4. Review the KM systems of instittions in order to identiffy best practices to customise to our environment. Develop criteria for our best practices.
Roles and responsabilities of partners
Follow up of decisions taken: what mechanisms. timelines. Validation.

Wrap – Up session Agricultural Education

Needs assessment
Verify what already has been done
Who is dong what to satisfy the needs
What more needs to be done at global and regional levels
What mechanisms should be used
Inventory of learning resources in agriculture
Coordination of capacity development and education in the CGIAR, FAO etc
Exchange of staff and students to support learning on ICT / e-learning
Intermediary products (print and electronic) of CGIAR and other organizations made available to shape and contribute to agricultural education
Need to develop an investment agenda by the universities.


Group on Rural Communities (by Petr Kosina)

Group on Rural Communities (by Petr Kosina)

Communication with rural communities

How old model relates to new technologies.
How can experiences be exchanged with communities

community has to be directly involved in the process
private sector is involved through telephony and ICT providers, farmers themselves,
the privatization of agric knowledge (generated by public institutes) has made tremendous impact on the lives of poor people. eg no tillage

Organizations need to change their values, structure. Part of their evaluation should include what they contribute to the communities’ progress and development.

* Reward system
* Accountability
* Monitor knowledge flow

See more notes on the first session here.

KM group (by Petr Kosina)

KM group (by Petr Kosina)

Knowledge Management group

strategy for CG, particularly in the face of changes coming up

what is KM within CG. where does it stop? at the organizational boundaries of CG?

next step: determining what scope will be addressed, in this group
what principles can be expected
something concrete for future action

Q: Are the problems faced by CG also faced by others? we would be wanting to give generic recommendations.
did you consider

how to deal with parters and collaborations
boundary spanning in a potentially new CG model
with other centers and other actors


transparent decision-making
accessible and available research
applicable and applied research results
people’s ideas count
connect people

Enrica- Promote the triple A framework
Enrica- Offer support to centres to apply Triple A
ILAC- collaborative research assessment
CIP- parnership research
AVIDC- Web2.0 to develop vegtable inormtion for Africa
CIAT- communication strategy
CIP- digital inentory project
Online training for Web2.0 tools
Institutionalise CC
Green Ink- free strategy feedback
2009, Share 10 Success stories and external success/failure stories and Front Office

Priorities in Community Learning
(what do we want to be doing tomorrow)

Ideas of Activities –> position paper for the consortium
Provide feedback to other groups
Use opportunity to talk among capacity building and KM

See also Enrica’s post on this session.

some snapshots of the day, by Petr Kosina, click for more

some snapshots of the day, by Petr Kosina, click for more

I asked a couple of participants to give their impressions of the first day in a few words.

Warwick: intriguing, questioning, epiphanic.

Simon: Lively, relaxing, enjoyable. I had fun! I did not wish once to be on the beach instead.

Monica: Discussions were passionate. Sense of uncertainty: Who will be doing this, who will pick this up? But glad I was here.

Bala: Rich learning experience, inspirational. But a bit lost between the two agendas in one workshop: 1) education and learning and 2) KM. Will we go in one direction for further action, or in two?

snapshots of the day, by Petr Kosina, click for more

snapshots of the day, by Petr Kosina, click for more

Joanna: Cross-fertilization. Interesting mix of people. Valuable.

Harry: Good ideas but lack of integrating (what will you do tomorrow?)

Nadia: stimulating to talk to other people with same goals. Some direction to common goals. Manage to find agreement on goals.

 In Maputo last month, as part of a workshop put together by the CGIAR ICT-KM Program, FARA and DFID-R4D to examine ‘opening access to agricultural research, we disucced.ways to enhance the ‘applicability’ of agricultural research outputs.  See also previous posting


Nadia Manning-Thomas brought together the discussions on ‘how to make our research more applicable’, as follows:


1.       Priority setting: We need better methods and consistent approaches to help achieve priority setting. Need to make sure to include all key stakeholders in our priority setting exercises.


2.       Re-orient our thinking about the contribution of research to development goals: We often plan our research according to the things we are good at, the things we know how to do, and then see how what we find as a result of doing our methods can contribute to something larger (a goal). Instead, we need to think more about the real problems, needs and goals and how we can contribute to solving them.


3.       Collaborating and partnerships: It is key that partners and stakeholders are engaged in our research and that we cultivate appropriate relationships with them. But we cannot just acquire partners or form partnerships in name. It is vital to make our research more applicable to know when and how to make collaboration effective. We need to know with which partners we should be working and on what types of activity, so we can enrich the research process for all involved.


4.       How to get an effective multiplier effect for participation: How can we find more effective ways to facilitate participation in our projects, to implement them despite budgetary and time restraints, and also to have multiplier effects?


5.       Embed research in reality: To make research more applicable, we need to fit our research to the particular contexts in which we are working. It is also vital to look at the whole value chain. This will help to make it more applicable to real life conditions.


6.       Develop and use knowledge products as tools: Very often research institutes produce various products such as policy briefs and the emphasis is on the end-product. These products in themselves will not necessarily do anything. It is necessary to think differently about products as tools in a more active and dynamic process of influencing and providing information for decision-making. Therefore we must design products so they fit the ways we hope they will be used.


What ways could this agenda be taken forward? The group came up with the following:


·           Learn how to make better use of infomediaries

·           Pay attention to better attribution to our partners

·           Provide more information and guidance on the use of web 2.0 tools for learning and communication with others

·           Make sure all references we include to our own outputs and publications are also themselves accessible, and ‘hotlinked’

·           Examine ways to get feedback from partners, stakeholders, next users, end users etc

·           Define some conditions around applicability which we can use within our systems, such as DFID communication budget conditions

·           Better characterize, tag and assign metadata that will help people make use of data and information

·           Explore how collaborative learning platforms (including virtual ones) can be designed and implemented to help us work with a wide range of stakeholders

·           Learn more about potential of web 2.0 and mobile phones to collaborate with stakeholders to get their inputs and feedback and to share knowledge with them


Nadia Manning-Thomas reflected on some of these issues at a recent research communication workshop in Addis Ababa:


 The Maputo session was jointly organized by the CGIAR ICT-KM Program, FARA, and DFID’s R4D project led by CABI







Link to ICT-KM background paper for the Science Council –


Link to AAA concept on ICT-KM –


Link to ICT-KM –


Link to FARA –


More on this topic from DFID-R4D:


Link to CIARD:


We have long been advocating that publishing on peer review journals is an essential step to guarantee quality and relevance of science….but is it sufficient? If we ‘lock’ our research findings in costly journals access becomes a matter of elite…

Watch this video….where Sheelagh O’Reilly of the DFID Research Into Use Programme reflects on peer review in academic and applied research communication. She argues that publishing their work outside standard journals is “not only acceptable but highly appropriate” – it is not “second best.”

Glad to see we are not alone! See our paper on AAA

 On 30 November 2008, some 35 people joined a side-session of the CGIAR AGM to discuss ‘Opening Access to Agricultural Research – A Triple-A Approach to Make Research Available and Useful.’ Participants were a broad mix, from communications, information management, science, and science management. It followed an earlier presentation with senior CGIAR managers as part of a discussion on international public goods.


The starting point was a ‘Triple A’ approach developed in late 2007 by the ICT-KM Program (and since broadened through partnership with CIARD) that focuses on the availability, accessibility and applicability of research outputs.


          Availability: assembling and storing outputs so they will be permanently accessible, and describing them in systems so others know, and can find, what has been produced.

          Accessibility: making outputs as easy to find and share and as open as possible, in the sense that others are free to use, reuse, and redistribute them, with appropriate acknowledgement and without restrictive legal, technological or financial barriers.

          Applicability:  research and innovation processes that are open to different sources of knowledge, and outputs that are easy to adapt, transform, apply and re-use.


An introductory presentation argued that many research outputs, especially in the form of publications, are generally much less accessible that we would wish – but that promising ‘pathways to accessibility’ do exist and can make a substantial difference along the entire research cycle. There are also promising new avenues through social media that have potential to open up and diversify research communication.


Participants formed groups to reflect on these notions and to identify concrete pathways and other solutions to overcome accessibility gaps.


Two groups looked particularly at availability and accessibility and one group examining applicability. In general, the Triple A approach was recognized as useful, particularly to help identify different publishing outlets and services where research outputs should be ‘posted.’


Both groups called on research institutes and centers to adopt common standards to describe and tag their outputs and when building information and web systems. They want the content of these systems to be easy to exchange and share. Initial efforts in this area by the CIARD initiative were recognized to be a good step forward.


One of the groups discussed whose responsibilities these issues should be – of information and communication specialists or of scientists themselves. The result seemed to be consensus that both groups have to be made much more aware of what is possible, with researchers and research managers needing additional capacity building, especially to ensure that they make communication an integral part of project planning, from inception to completion.


For the CGIAR, the recent performance monitoring was appreciated as creating an external demand on Centers to collect and list all their peer-reviewed outputs. It was suggested that this should be extended so the Science Council would expect Centers to also deposit a digital copy of all these outputs in a suitable institutional repository. Thus the quality and the accessibility of the outputs would be guaranteed.


Reflecting on the whole emphasis on peer reviewed outputs as ‘the’ indicators of science performance, Sheelagh O’Reilly from the Research Into Use Programme argued that publishing outside standard journals should be seen as “not only acceptable but highly appropriate”:


The Maputo session was jointly organized by the CGIAR ICT-KM Program, FARA, and DFID’s R4D project led by CABI




Link to ICT-KM background paper for the Science Council –


Link to AAA concept on ICT-KM –


More on this topic from DFID-R4D:



Chat Show (photo credit Petr Kosina)

Chat Show (photo credit Petr Kosina)

Chat show

Host: Peter Ballantyne.


  • Enrica Porcari CGIAR,
  • Krishna Alluri Commonwealth of Learning,
  • Rodger Obubo CTA,
  • Ramani Balasubramanian YPARD,
  • Ralph von Kaufmann FARA.

Enrica Porcari (CGIAR):
Connections take time. Effective use of technology to connect people beyond and within the CGIAR. We need to celebrate success stories. Adopt new ways and give access. Not only number of articles in scientific joournals should be measure for success

Enrica’s personal story of how new tools are effective: I wanted to have a leaflet printed, the budget was not sufficient. I left a Facebook note: “looking for a cheap printer” and half an hour later got a offer for 10% of the original offer! I saved 3000 USD in a few minutes work. So: can you imagine what the potential is for innovations, for research?

Krishna Alluri (COL):
How to make the best use of ICTs. The desire to learn in communities. CG has no demand based approach. Self-directed learning: enabling people and communities to organize their own learning. Changes we are talking about happen at different level. how do we integrate all that. We are a small player: the central approach are partnerships. we have to enable the partners to do what it is they want to do. these are the foundations for the development of a number of programs.

Rodger Obubo (CTA):
We are dealing with 78 ACP countries. we want to affect the actual work place. we look at what farmers do differently after being trained.
CTA is bridging connections. Training based on needs assessment. Communication between trainers and trainees before, during and after the actual course.

Ralph von Kaufmann (FARA):
FARA is also a bridge. Information and knowledge. Info alone is not useful. How to make people knowledge able. Africa is fastest growing market for mobile telephony in the world. Remote access training resources
Ethiopia will be opening 13 new universities, but still, if compared to eg Poland, they have few universities. Universities will have to become learning institutions.

Ramani Balasubramanian (YPARD):
Do not force students on a curriculum, instead take into consideration what they are looking for. “the same 30 yr old overhead projector file will not do the job”
Include young people in agenda setting for the future.

The single one most important thing, according to the chat show guests.

• Collaboration between African University, non-African University and CGIAR, each sticking to its area.
• Explore ICTs to build self-directed learning.
• Unlock CG knowledge ICTs for meaning ful conversation with partners
• Curriculum reform and mentoring.
• Introduce new ICT’s, e.g the “voice web” to radio

Summary: This should give a sense of the agenda of these organizations, what they can do, maybe what they cannot do. Ajit circulated a questionnaire on the wiki. Please respond and ask your network to do the same. At GFAR we are starting to map. What is being done and who is doing what.

Groups discussing which questions to ask to Lead Speakers (photo credit Petr Kosina)

Groups discussing which questions to ask to Lead Speakers (photo credit Petr Kosina)

After the presentations of Steve Song and Prof Adipala at the KM, Education and Learning Workshop in Maputo (see other posts), we had a Q&A session. Herewith the notes.

Question: What are the 3 areas of likely greatest impact in terms of advancing knowledge sharing for innovation in agriculture R&D community? E.g. technology gap, organizational culture of openness and transparency or linking up different organisation from R&D; this question is not only a technology question.

Answer Steve: Meritocracy of communicating ideas. Use the approaches to empower local “institutions” on the ground.

Comment from group: The greatest thing would be if farmer organizations are empowered with knowledge. Enabling establishment of local institutions and farmers organizations.

Question: How to create “knowledge seeking” culture?

Question: Who is going to control the quality of the information?

Answer Steve: It is not one-directional, every body can contribute. In future information will find you. Quality control is done socially. It happens through social filters and human validation and it really works.
Social networks and relations will help address quality assessment and filtering. The boom of mobile connectivity as well as the Net gives opportunities. Mobile phones are used in very unexpected ways in areas with less connectivity. In 5 years we will not distinguish mobile from internet; there is a merging of platforms and how they are used. There has been comparison of Britannica and Wikipedia and overall Wikipedia is at least as reliable.

Question: What organizational & cultural changes are needed in universities to best adopt such tools?

Answer Prof. Adipala:
Instilling a “looking for information” culture, systematically.
Universities must recognize their constituents are not only the students. They have responibilites beyong the students and the campus.
Build ICT capacities in all regions, at all levels of academia; also to support Knowledge creation of others.

Question: How do we ensure that university reform is rooted in needs of the regions?

Answer Prof Adipala: Education is the basis of knowledge. Universities need to find partnerships, not only for internal consumption but elsewhere. they get the agenda from national agendas
Also: this is not only a task for universities. We are all players. The demand also needs to be articulated.

Question: Universities need to be seen as capable of building capacities of all other actors -not just farmers…

Comment: Universities need capacity to build capacity, to advise policy makers. We see ourselves as builders of capacity

Question: How to keep a two way communication going between universities and rural areas. How will that be done?

Answer: Conversations like this one here and others will katalyze change. Universities need to help themselves. They need to exposte themselves to outsiders; to learn, to partner… Create some “discomfort” in the universities. Take a proactive initiative. Making change by yourself is not easy.

Question: How do we -this community- take this further? What is the bigger framework? what is the strategic approach to guide CG and partners? Avoid getting lost with the change process.

Question: People amazingly have mobile phone access that would not dream of having internet access. What is the practical implication of mobile phones for KS? especially for science / research.
Answer: A great potential, for example data collection.

Question: Tell us about the Barefoot University

Answer: Universities are aware of the need to change, they are struggling with how. is a new model possible? Much closer to communities. Engage where you want impact. Implies major change and building of capacities.

Steve: It seems I talk about technology, but I am not. I am really talking about the mathematics of connectedness.

Summary of the 2.41 minute video:

In this video Ajit Maru (GFAR) explains his objectives for the Knowledge Management, Education, and Learning (KEL) Workshop in Maputo. He draws a way of looking at CGIAR. The video was shot during the first day of the workshop.

Ajit shows CGIAR, its linkages and communication among centres, and with partners, specifically with formal education, and with the agricultural market chain.
How does CGIAR collectively respond to demands from outside.

We want to find out what are the needs to bring the agenda of Knowledge Management forward in each of these areas (CGIAR internal, agricultural education, production chain). What to do? and How to do it? We should be looking at needs and priorities.

Summary of the 1 minute video:

In this video Simone Staiger (ICT-KM and lead facilitator) and Peter Ballantyne (Euforic) review the first morning. The video was shot at lunchtime.

Simone liked the introductions for the richness and diversity of people. The challenge is to become more concrete in what we want to do together. To achieve a integration between KM, agricultural education and learning.

Peter comments that he liked the notion of connectivity. This served as a metaphor for connecting and bridging, as well as actually acting as a connector between our groups as it is a common issue we are all facing.