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Knowledge management for improved research on beans in Southern Africa

October 28, 2015

A workshop addressing the Knowledge Management (KM) status of the Southern African Beans Research Network (SABRN) took place from 2 to 7 November 2015 in Lusaka, Zambia. Organised by three partners, namely CTA, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Pan African Beans Research Alliance (PABRA), the KM intervention focused on one of the three PABRA regional networks, SABRN.

SABRN, comprising 13 countries in Southern and Eastern Africa, is currently at the phase of programme planning. The SABRN planning of activities offered the opportunity to test the combined application of two methods, which will result in a robust work plan for the network during a second stage:

1. the "Knowledge Management Ecosystems" framework (including the KM Tree and KM Scan developed by CTA) for analysis of KM within the network;
2. combined with the Theory of Change (ToC) Impact pathway planning tool developed by CIAT.

The case study also served as a learning opportunity for CTA and CIAT, as the global leaders of these research networks, for joint documentation and sharing of the experiences, which may open the way for further collaboration on information and knowledge management between CTA and the CGIAR system. Review and documentation of processes addressed during the workshop will be conducted in November and December 2015. If successful, such an approach will find its use in project formulation processes in the context of CTA's Regional Business Plans, starting with the Southern African region.

PABRA is an international network, originally established by CIAT, now comprising 29 national agricultural research institutions. PABRA, like many CGIAR-supported networks, has recently undergone organisational changes and has expressed an interest to develop a KM strategy adapted to its revised orientation.

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