How to use Knowledge Management to strengthen the impact of Evaluation on smallholder agriculture development?

Nema Chosso project

How to use Knowledge Management to strengthen the impact of Evaluation on smallholder agriculture development?

Dear EvalForwad members,

Knowledge management and evaluation are inter-related practices that actually feed into each other.

At the Nema Chosso Project (National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development) in The Gambia, where I work, we have a Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit comprising two M&E Specialists, a Data Entry Clerk as well as a number of field assistants spread across the project intervention regions/sites. We also have a Knowledge Management and Communication Unit, managed by a Knowledge Management and Communication Officer.

I  was identified as Focal Point to lead efforts at documenting and capitalizing key successes and lessons, use these to develop knowledge products around climate resilience interventions and ensure they are published in the local press and social media. Attached are two products which we have developed with technical assistance by the West Africa Rural Foundation, an international NGO based in Dakar: (1) Knowledge Product and (2) Outcome Stories.

My experience since undertaking this role of Focal Point is that Knowledge Management and Communication are both critical to Evaluation, especially for communicating the results of evaluations, including the promotion of lesson learning to inform decision making and planning.

However, despite the importance of this role, I find either that the ToR for this officer are too vague in description of key job responsibilities and measurement of effectiveness, or that knowledge management and communication officers have limited capacities in these fields.

The core of my inquiry is:

  • How are your projects, programmes and organizations using Knowledge Management and M&E, in terms of the organigram and work relations between the two? In other words, how does knowledge management and M&E apply to your workplace?
  • I would welcome any experience on capacity development issues and how they can be addressed.

Best regards,

Paul

This discussion is now closed. Please contact info@evalforward.org for any further information.

Dear all,

Below are the highlights from this fruitful exchange.

A special thanks to Paul for raising the topic and to the members who shared their knowledge! 

KM and M&E have complementary objectives and should work in synergy

  • There are evident synergies between monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and knowledge management (KM): both contribute to organizational learning and effective programming designed to generate benefits for people and communities.
  • In practice, identifying linkages and complementarities can be more challenging.  M&E and KM require different roles and skill sets, and are often managed by separate units which, in turn, follow different organizational practices and cycles.

Programmes and projects are moving towards better integration of these functions  

  • In the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program Missing Middle Initiative, Senegal, the M&E and the KM functions work jointly on data treatment, capitalization, and workshops on lessons learned. Knowledge Management activities involve members of the Coordination Unit to ensure that the lesson learning and knowledge capitalization form the basis for follow-up decisions.
  • The Nema Chosso Project (National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development) in the Gambia had M&E and KM working under separate units and faced challenges when it had to document and capitalize on successes and on lessons learned, use them to develop knowledge products around climate resilience interventions, and ensure publication in local press and social media. In response, the follow up project is merging the two units into one whilst including a specialized partner to support communications.
  • IFAD-led rural development and smallholder projects in East and Southern Africa have integrated online M&E platforms to support data collection used by the KM function to generate stories from the field and systematic learning. This approach was pushed at the time when projects where asked to demonstrate their policy impact and contribution to country targets.
  • An earlier KM Project developed at WFP included an after-action review methodology to facilitate learning for field-based operations, which benefitted from evaluation-based inputs. It was field-tested and refined in collaboration with experts from their Office of Evaluation.

Challenges, risks and elements to consider

  • Challenges and tensions can emerge when KM and M&E work together but use different approaches to communication. Knowledge management, for example, might not fully communicate certain M&E evidence. Conversely, the programme and M&E team might d expect more consistent and specific communication to sustain programme level uptake, to a greater extent than is considered necessary by the knowledge management colleagues.
  • There may be instances when M&E and KM are skewed towards “appeasement reporting" to the donors, showing results under a positive light in order to promote funding and disregarding real beneficiaries impact. This may happen in the absence of ethical considerations and social responsibility.
  • There is still little evidence, if any, on how project initiatives and lessons feed into policy, despite the participation of policymakers.

Integration at the organization level: an example from IFAD

  • The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD has acknowledged the natural relationship between evaluation and communication and KM. KM’s role is to foster the development of “feedback loops from evaluation to policy makers, operational staff and the general public” through the production and dissemination of communication products and the facilitation of learning events. These should help ensure that the information contained in evaluation reports is widely disseminated, thus triggering further learning and feedback.

Way forward

  • To ensure that these functions complement each other, they have to be thoroughly planned and synced, preferably at the design stage of the project with clear lines of communication.
  • Steps in this direction could be: 1) discussing with programme management and beneficiaries what they need/expect from M&E and KM products; 2) Agreeing on a joint plan of M&E and KM activities, focusing on complementarities and sequencing; 3) Developing a plan for effective utilization and dissemination of M&E and KM products.

 

Dear Paul,

Thank you for raising this important issue, frequently faced by development practitioners. While both functions, the M&E on one hand, and the knowledge management, on the other, contribute to organizational learning and effective programming towards generating intended benefits to the people and communities, these functions quite often are managed by different units and follow different organizational practices and cycles. To ensure that these functions complement each other, these have to be planned and synced, preferably at the design stage of the project. For example, the results from periodic monitoring conducted at quarterly intervals, may be used to produce knowledge products, such as newsletters and case study brochures to raise awareness on the results achieved. Annual monitoring exercises could be informing another type of knowledge products - such as the lessons learned. Utility of evaluations can be enhanced by wider dissemination and broadcasting (e.g. via social media, TV, radio), with support from knowledge management professionals.

In a effort to ensure that both M&E and KM teams work collaboratively together, the following initial steps could be considered and applied: 1) discussing with programme management and beneficiaries their needs in M&E and KM products; 2) Agreeing on a joint plan of M&E and KM activities, focusing on complementarities and sequencing; 3) Developing a plan for effective utilization and dissemination of M&E and KM products.

Kindest regards,

Serdar Bayryyev

Senior Evaluation Officer (FAO)

 

I was involved in providing the KM support for IFAD supported project/programmes in East and Southern Africa for over 11 years. I have been involved in many designs, implementation support and evaluations. In my view IFAD started managing knowledge only after they took over from UNOPS and started to provide direct implementation support to the projects and programmes. The linking of project activities to the COSOP and focus on impact is very recent, maybe 2012 in East and Southern Africa. Each country had a  target of beneficiaries to be gotten out of poverty.

The push made the county offices to think through each project and how they would contribute to the target and tried to link this target to the country policy impact. It was extremely challenging. The issues around aggregation and attribution were key as projects were overlapping in their areas of operations. Support was provided to projects to build an online M&E platform to assist in data collection, consultants were recruited to support knowledge generation and stories from the field and systematic learning grants were provided to support learning. 

Some of the projects like Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Project in Kenya, some in Market access, Mozambique and Rural Finance Programme, Zambia, Vegetable Oil Dev Programme, Uganda did well and some were struggling on M&E and linking to impact.

The older designs we looked at lessons from past projects but the recent designs project has incorporated KM and learning as a component. This has made learning become a prominent activity in projects. We developed a framework for learning which incorporated KM in terms of information management, learning oriented M&E, internal and external communication and innovation and experimentation and all linked for learning and adaptation. 

Just my five cents....   

 

Multiple contributions: 

Paul, 

With regards to your comment below:

"I think we need to factor as well that the cooperative members derive non-monetary benefits in terms of opportunities for group sales, bulking produce, storage, all of which offer increased chances to attract higher prices and avoid gluts in the market, thereby improving the welfare of members. Other latent benefits such as timely access to inputs on credit basis, legal protection through enabling legal and policy environment made possible by the engagement power of the cooperative with the policy decision-makers that be, also exist for members." 

Please note that yes these benefits are true but at a cost and the question is how often to the cost to obtain these benefits exceed the value of the benefits so relying on the cooperative model will force smallholder farmers deeper into poverty. Have you ever seen the detailed accounting of the overhead costs to obtain the stated benefits? I have been carefully looking for them for over a decades and have never seen overhead cost factored into the promotion of the cooperative model.

Thank you,

Dick

*** 

Please allow me to continue my comment and provide some references on how Knowledge Management to appease donors is detrimental to smallholder beneficiaries. Please review the webpage: 

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/request-for-informat… 

Are these the business parameters that will determine if a program is effective in assisting smallholder or not, why is this information just not available and should it be mandatory in M&E evaluations, that is unless the objective is not to assist the smallholder beneficiaries our of poverty but more to impose on them the horrible cooperative business model even if it drives them deeper into poverty.

Also, review the following webpages and see how fast the cooperative model can lose its envisioned competitive advantage. 

https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/loss-of-competitive-…

Thank you,

Dick

*** 

Knowledge Management can be interesting as you can take the same data (Knowledge) and manage it in two simple but different way with polar opposite results, one propaganda/promotional while stagnating programs claiming success, and the other evaluation recognizing limited success and leading to program evolution and refinement. The two management tools are aggregate analysis vs. percentage analysis.

With aggregate analysis, you simply sum up the number of people involved, the total goods marketed, the total value of the good, etc. With a large program spread over an entire country or region, you can generate some very impressive numbers. This appears like a great program with no need to make any adjustments and has stagnated program conceptualization for several decades. This is good for promotion and perhaps getting future funding from legislatures but for future guidance purposes the results are meaningless.

However, from an evaluation perspective the numbers are meaningless, as they provide no comparison as to what potential could have been. This can be accomplished by taking the same data and concentrating on percentage analysis such as percent of potential beneficiaries actively participating, the percent market share vs. side selling, percent income improvement, etc. This percentage analysis could be strengthened with clearly state targets that will separate success from failure and such targets are consistent with the expectation of the underwriting taxpayers,  as noted in previous mentioned webpage: https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/request-for-information-basic-business-parameters/ Thus, the impressive aggregate numbers when expressed as a percent of potential could represent a trivial impact and need for major program adjustments, that is if there is a sincere interest in assisting smallholder beneficiaries out of poverty, and not imposing on them some horrible business model that more likely will force them deeper into poverty, and for which they very wisely and astutely avoid. Please review the Ethiopian coffee example in the webpage: https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/perpetuating-cooperatives-deceptivedishonest-spin-reporting/

Unfortunately, when I see an impressive aggerate analysis I think it represents a cover up and program failure. As an American I have to careful take note of the USAID MEL process. This stands from Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, but is really just great aggerate analysis that may have some monitoring component, but no real evaluation, and the only learn is how to deceive the American public. To me this is a deliberate effort to deceive the American Public into thinking their international assistance program is making major accomplishments, while most potential beneficiaries are avoiding the programs like the plague or the COVID-19 pandemic.  I am not certain that some of this should be reviewed through the court system.  https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/vulnerability-for-class-action-litigation-a-whistleblowers-brief/

Thank you,

Dick

Prof. Tinsley,

I salute you for sharing a very interesting perspective on M&E reporting, which you refer to as "Appeasement Reporting" and how it promotes donor support but gravely compromises beneficiaries and the country's impact. Indeed, the concerns highlighted are fact in many cases albeit there are some situations where this might not so bad, thanks to a certain level of ethical considerations and social responsibility to the M&E profession and considerations for one's legacy.

Several pieces of literature have discussed the need for effective inclusion of smallholders in value chain development models in the agriculture sector as a critical conduit for sustainable poverty reduction efforts. Devaux et al. (2018) lament weak linkages between value chain actors especially with the smallholder producers; Zylberberg (2013) on the absence of appropriate legal and policy especially to protect the smallholder in the value chain; Miller and Jones (2010) and Onyiriuba, Okoro and Ibe (2020) harp on the key challenge of limited access to agricultural financing; Helmsing and Vellema (2011) elaborate on the role of governance in value chain development, which I find critical in sustaining farmers' cooperatives. On models for inclusive smallholders, the cooperative society approach is one of several other approaches or models including but not limited to public-private partnership (PPP) and public-producer-private partnerships (4Ps) the latter being keenly promoted by IFAD. Wassie, Kusakari and Masahiro (2019) have key concerns over the potential for conflict and exclusion of the poor even in the cooperative society model, especially as relates to unequal access to land. The authors however acknowledge that cooperatives are viable, at least in improving the welfare of members.

This thrust of my observation on your article on appeasement reporting is this: Whereas access to productive land is a challenge, it is important to note that the average method of calculating output distribution across the total membership of a cooperative is flawed, as the high tonnage of production and sales reported would have been driven by the few that have greater access to land. I think we need to factor as well that the cooperative members derive non-monetary benefits in terms of opportunities for group sales, bulking produce, storage, all of which offer increased chances to attract higher prices and avoid gluts in the market, thereby improving the welfare of members. Other latent benefits such as timely access to inputs on credit basis, legal protection through enabling legal and policy environment made possible by the engagement power of the cooperative with the policy decision-makers that be, also exist for members. In essence, I think there is more to measuring the impact of project innovations on beneficiaries than just units of production and sales of produce. There are also non-monetary benefits which when considered might just change perspectives.

The fact remains, stringent criteria for M&E reporting and efforts to stay away from "Appeasement Reporting" are critical. Innovations exist that target inclusion of smallholders in value chain development but I agree that more needs to be done in this area, as sustained uptake and adoption after the project end remains an issue. This brings into consideration the need for exit strategies of projects and programmes to be inbuilt in the project design and to form part of negotiations and reflected in the Financing Agreements with clear exit actions, resource requirements and responsible actors specified including especially government ministries, departments and agencies. Where this is absent, as it is still absent, the likelihood of sustainability of project initiatives, innovations and impact remain challenged.

Thanks again for your insights.

Paul

 

Reference

Devaux, A. et al. (2018) ‘Agricultural innovation and inclusive value-chain development: a review’, Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 8(1), pp. 99–123. doi: 10.1108/JADEE-06-2017-0065

Helmsing, A. H. J. and Vellema, S. (2011) Value chains, social inclusion, and economic development contrasting theories and realities . New York: Routledge.

Miller, C. and Jones, L., (2010) Agricultural value chain finance: Tools and lessons. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Practical Action Pub.

Onyiriuba, L., Okoro, E.O. and Ibe, G.I., 2020. Strategic government policies on agricultural financing in African emerging markets. Agricultural Finance Review.

Wassie, S.B., Kusakari, H. and Masahiro, S., 2019. Inclusiveness and effectiveness of agricultural cooperatives: recent evidence from Ethiopia. International Journal of Social Economics.

Zylberberg, E. (2013) ‘Bloom or bust? A global value chain approach to smallholder flower production in Kenya’, Journal of agribusiness in developing and emerging economies, 3(1), p. 4–. doi: 10.1108/20440831311321638

 

It is great sharing the experience of IFAD and from earlier organization with us, Alexander. Your insights are enriching. My short reaction on the following comment of yours:

Drawing from all the above, I observe the synergies between KM, communications and evaluations to be strongest in those organizations that have a field-centred, project-based nature, as opposed to those whose primary purpose is to facilitate, support and build capacity in areas related to policy making

I agree that based our experience at the Nema Chosso project, it is easier to collaborate and synergise our efforts to promote project communications and visibility. The case of the Nema Chosso Visibility day in the late 2019 was a typical case in point. Organized in partnership with the central projects Coordinating unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, and existing projects under the Ministry we showcased key successes and experiences, like never seen in the sector. 

However, despite the participation of the policy makers in the sector, there is little evidence if any to show about how project initiatives and lessons feed into policy.

My question then is, what initiatives and good practices exist to promote this critical but missing link in our efforts to strengthen the impact of development on smallholders? For instance, within  IFAD, how much are the logframes of country Strategy programmes taken into account during project level implementation and how are experiences shared with policymakers and governments? Most often than not the country strategic opportunities programme (cosop) exists and stops at higher government level engagements. Any examples of project level indicators being anchored to the country strategic opportunities programme (cosop) and how are these tracked, measured and reported to influence policy?

I can tell that we in Gambia under the new ROOTS Project are putting up plans to get this going, as part our ToC and Logframe analysis for identification of core and specific indicators in preparation for the Baseline study. I hope share our experiences some time around the MTR period.

Thank you all for your thoughts as I look forward to more experiences. 

Paul

I get concerned when knowledge is managed to promote innovations that may not be well received by the beneficiaries. Here instead of objectively addressing the needs of the beneficiaries the objective is to appease the donors and this my be essential to secure project extensions and future projects. The case in point would be continued high reliance on farmer organizations, when an objective knowledge management effort would have shown they were to administratively cumbersome to be competitive, and the development effort would have steered clear of them a couple decades ago. Please review the webpage and linked other pages:  https://smallholderagriculture.agsci.colostate.edu/appeasement-reportin… 

This is a real knowledge management scandal wasting bullions of development dollars, euros, etc. each year.

Dear Paul,

Thank you for raising this very important point and for opening this interesting discussion thread.

Based on my experience, I fully agree that Knowledge Management (KM) and Communications are both critical to Evaluations, especially (albeit not only) vis-à-vis the uptake of lessons learned and best practices.

The Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of IFAD – which I have recently joined – has explicitly acknowledged these synergies. Moreover, IOE’s Evaluation Manual highlights that “dissemination to facilitate the sharing of lessons and uptake of recommendations [is] important and is much about identifying tools and platforms to facilitate sharing” (IFAD, 2015, p.118). Case in point, it is communications and KM that foster the development of “feedback loops from evaluation to policy makers, operational staff and the general public” (IFAD, 2016, p.6).

In response to the above, IOE has developed a robust communications and KM strategy, tailored to reflect its specific needs and resources. The Evaluation Communication Unit (ECU) implements this strategy, including through the production and dissemination of communication products and the facilitation of learning events. As an integral component of IOE, the ECU works in close coordination with evaluators and substantive experts to help ensure that the independent information contained in IOE’s reports is widely disseminated and, in addition, that this information is instrumental in triggering virtuous learning feedback cycles. While opportunities for improvement always exist, the results documented thus far through this synergistic approach to evaluations, KM and communication have been very encouraging (IFAD, 2019, p.28; IFAD, 2016, p.10; IFAD, 2015, p.119). 

Reflecting on my previous professional experiences, whilst working with UN/DESA in New York and UN/ECLAC in Port of Spain I found that both entities recognized the importance of the relationship between KM and communications, to the point that I eventually found myself coordinating both the outreach Unit and KM centre in ECLAC. However, the mandates of neither of these Units foresaw any direct interaction with evaluation offices.

Instead, I am pleased to say that the linkages between communications and evaluations were strong in the KM project that I developed and coordinated whilst working for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), back in 2004. For example, as part of the KM project, we developed an after action review methodology for field-based operations, which not only greatly benefitted from evaluation-based inputs, but which was also field-tested and refined in collaboration with experts from the office of evaluations.

Drawing from all the above, I observe the synergies between KM, communications and evaluations to be strongest in those organizations that have a field-centred, project-based nature, as opposed to those whose primary purpose is to facilitate, support and build capacity in areas related to policy making. I do not know how generalizable a similar conclusion may be, and I am thus very curious to know how it might relate to the experiences of other colleagues. I look forward to continued discussion on this topic.

Kind regards,

Alexander

 

References

IFAD (2015). Evaluation Manual. Second edition. Independent Office of Evaluation, IFAD. Rome.

IFAD (2016). Overview of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD. Independent Office of Evaluation, IFAD.  Rome.

IFAD (2019). Helping Transform Rural Lives. Major achievements of IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation: 2014-2019. Independent Office of Evaluation, IFAD.

Dear Ravinder Kumar,

Thank you for your thoughts on the approaches being proposed to better utilize KM in the evaluation and vice-versa. You are right that there are key challenges to succeed with the proposed harmonization efforts.

I think what is fundamental to appreciate is the meaning and purpose of KM within an organization or project/programme unit, and I like very much the way Davenport & Prusak (1998) put it: They define Knowledge as “a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information.” This definition clearly presents an inextricable relationship between Knowledge Management and Evaluation. The purpose of KM is to “...provide a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information”. As such, KM is critical to M&E and the reverse is also true. Like you rightly said, Evaluation data can be used by KM to process knowledge for the organization.

Under the climate resilience incremental financing of the Nema Chosso projects, funded under the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) window of IFAD, we are required to develop knowledge products on best practices, approaches and experiences in implementing climate change adaptation initiatives, one of which has been shared in my initial intervention.

How did we develop the said knowledge products? Based on quantitative data on the interventions (outreach and size of the scheme) M&E identified key implementing partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries of selected interventions, such as mangrove restoration, woodlots and agroforestry, compost making structures, etc. The objective was to share experiences, expectations, key successes and challenges. The participants were grouped according to their interventions (beneficiaries, implementing partners and stakeholders of each activity) to exchange and present on their key conclusions on each of the themes: experiences, expectations, key successes and challenges and lessons learned. The next activity was to identify key beneficiaries and intervention sites for follow-up qualitative data collection, which was recorded on video using a prepared questionnaire. This task was done in partnership with the KM Officer. The findings from these two exercises were then compiled and processed into short narratives with photos as presented. It was then the task of KM to disseminate the publication to the target audience using appropriate channels of communication, as would have been defined in the KM and Communications Strategy of the project. I encourage you to read the Knowledge Product publication shared already.

This is a case where the KM and M&E Unit have worked in close collaboration and resulted in a successful outcome. I think it possible if stakeholders understand and appreciate the meaning and purpose of the KM and M&E, from the perspective discussed. Yes, the two are different in terms of their roles and skill sets; however, their ultimate objectives complement each other. The processes to develop KM products also require input from M&E, as has been discussed. For this change to happen, I think it should start from the point of design and well articulated in the PIM or POM and KM and EValuation Strategy of the Project to guide implementation. As is always the case, the all-important political will is critical to ensuring its smooth implementation, especially by way of supporting capacity building initiatives to ensure not only the KM&E Unit but the rest of the project and its key stakeholders, are brought to speed with the new dispensation.

Once again, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope this additional comment helps further the discussion.

Paul

Reference

Davenport, T.H. and Prusak, L., (1998), Working knowledge: How organizations manage what they know. Harvard Business Press.

 

 

 

 

Dear Paul and Bassirou,

Thanks for raising very pertinent issues. In my evaluation practice, I have seen KM as either not part of programming or working separately (or shall I say ‘remotely’, the catch phrase now a days!) from M&E function with the twin hardly communicating to each other. Hope and wish success to your initiative /experiment of bringing them under one unit or initiating some form of convergence. As you both acknowledge, KM and M&E have different roles and skills required. Synergies are possible but tensions are inevitable. How these are managed in an integration process would determine how successful and effective it is.  Needless to say that consistent role divisions and clear lines of communication between different members of the ‘one unit’ would be the key. More so as M&E evidence is likely to feed into KM processes. Sometimes KM would be selective in terms of communicating some M&E evidence, which can also create some sticky points for independently minded M&E team members. Sometimes KM would demand ‘stories of success’ from the M&E and programme teams. Conversely, for a M&E and programme team, KM function is crucial for uptake and behaviour change (generally outcome level results), and therefore expectation would be that KM would have the necessary capabilities to relay evidence through user-friendly infographics and other tools, using traditional media, social and new media to reach target audience better. Further, a programme and M&E team would expect that there is consistency and continuation of communication for increasing the staying power of messages and for sustaining the momentum of programme level uptake. KM may perceive this expectation as somewhat undue and so ensuing tension would need to managed. Am sure that you are aware of all these issues and are on course to achieving reasonably smooth convergence of KM and M&E, which nonetheless is a challenging proposition.

Thanks and Best,

Ravi

M. Diagne Bassirou,

Thank you for sharing your experience on how KM and M&E operate together to advance the ultimate objective of projects which is to deliver results and communicate those results to the widest possible stakeholders, beneficiaries and the public.

Your proposition to organize KM and M&E under one Unit is admirable. Under my project, Nema Chosso, the two functions are under separate units and we have learned some hard lessons for doing this. The functions of KM and Communications are assigned to one Officer, which has proven ineffective as the capacities for KM on one hand, and Communications on the other, are require different skill sets. Whilst the Officer is relatively strong on learning he is not so strong in the capitalization of what is learned and is also not well skilled in communicating lessons and good practices.

This is where the project team has to come back to the M&E Team, with technical assistance by a consultant specialist in M&E, KM and Communications to help. As a lesson learned, the M&E System for a follow up project to Nema Chosso is being designed to merge to the two units into one, with provisions to engage a specialized technical partner to support communications.

I also want to appreciate your suggestion that the job of KM & Communications requires wide consultations and engagement with all members of the project team. I want to add that engaging and involving key partners and beneficiaries is also crucial to obtain needed qualitative data and information for evidence-based results, planning and decision making.

Dear Paul,

Thank you for this very appreciated exchange.

I'm a National Monitoring, Evaluation and Knowledge Management Officer in Senegal and perhaps my small experience can provide some responses to the two questions. New profiles are emerging and developing which combine these two missions and this is because there is a close and proved relationship between these two functions.

The GAFSP MMI (Global Agriculture and Food Security Program Missing Middle Initiative) project format I work for is a pilot. The M&E and the KM functions are important for data treatment, capitalization and workshops on lesson learned. In this project, Knowledge Management is a participatory work that includes the members of the Coordination Unit: after the coordination mission, our goal is to decide on the basis of the lesson learning and knowledge capitalization if to scale up the pilot initiative or not and in which way.  

In case of bigger programs or plans composed by many project components, you need to establish a M&E and KM Department with a team composed by the Team Leader, the M&E Officer for data management, the M&E Officer for Knowledge Management and a M&E officer for data communication. More options and formats for the team composition are possible depending on the type of organization.

Bassirou