RE: How to use Knowledge Management to strengthen the impact of Evaluation on smallholder agriculture development? | Eval Forward

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.



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