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:

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img_1398.jpg I had the pleasure to co-facilitate the Learning Laboratory Planning Meeting of the Institutional Learning and Change (ILAC) Initiative here at CIAT, Colombia

Around 25 participants representing 8 different cases gathered to launch the so-called learning lab. The objective of the learning lab is to identify, support, draw and record lessons from promising collaborative pro-poor agricultural innovation programs.
Highly motivated and committed researchers and development workers from the CGIAR and partner organizations worked themselves through project network maps and change models based on the Participatory Impact Pathways Approach (PIPA) in order to identify opportunities for developing ILAC components into their existing projects and for joint learning within the group. Some of the areas of interest that came out of the exercises were: Capacity building in ILAC related topics, the evaluation of the projects as far as learning and change dynamics are concerned, and the support to policy influence of stakeholders, among others. 

Besides the PIPA methodology, we used lots of group discussion dynamics. In several opportunities, participants used cards to highlight or summarize their thoughts, suggestions, and reactions which were then sorted into categories that helped constantly visualize the possible focus for the learning lab activities.

A number of participants had been invited as external resource persons, which generated very useful moments of reflections within the group.

Participants had overall very positive comments about the workshop design, the PIPA methodology, the value of the resource persons, and in general the value of sharing experiences among projects, Centers, and continents.

The Institutional Learning and Change Initiative of the CGIAR (ILAC) starts a new five-year phase, with support from DGIS. “This new phase of the ILAC Initiative will strive to enhance impacts through partnerships for innovation and to support pro-poor groups that are already employing innovative approaches but may lack adequate visibility, resources and credibility.” Among other important activities ILAC is also organizing with the PRGA Program, ILRI’s Innovation Works and the Sustainability Science Program, and the Center for International Development at Harvard University a workshop on “Rethinking Impact: Capturing the Complexity of Poverty and Change”. The workshop will be held at CIAT headquarters in Cali, Colombia from March 26-28, 2008. Prospective participants are requested to submit abstracts by November 9, 2007. Background information and a call for papers are at: http://www.prgaprogram.org/riw