Responses to both climate and non-climate threats to development in Africa are generating a vast and rapidly growing body of information. The potential for this information to provide crucial knowledge in the design and implementation of resilience-boosting strategies across the continent is enormous. But for countries to take full advantage of this opportunity they must be able to capture knowledge and add it to a shared pool from which they can extract high-quality, comprehensive information relevant to their development needs.
The integration of knowledge management components has become standard practice for UNDP-funded or managed development projects. It is an effective way to draw on, and make the best use of, knowledge that may reside in a variety of places, from databases and storage facilities to filing cabinets and the minds of staff members. All too often, one part of an organisation repeats the work of another simply because it is unable to keep track and make use of all the knowledge it acquires.
The AAP dedicated one of its five outcomes to knowledge management with the aspiration that, for each participating country at the close of the Programme: ‘Knowledge on adjusting national development processes to fully incorporate climate change risks and opportunities is being generated and shared across all levels.’ This would be facilitated through the unique structure of the AAP, under which participating countries were networked through AAP-supported digital and physical knowledge sharing initiatives.
The AAP’s knowledge management outcome was broadly achieved: all countries produced a range of knowledge products on mainstreaming climate change; shared experiences on adaptation through forums, conferences and workshops; and documented, disseminated and discussed their results and experiences.
These outputs took numerous forms depending on the needs, resources and activities of the country. AAP Mozambique, for example, created the Knowledge Management Centre for Climate Change, a hub for awareness-raising, education and advisory services. AAP Morocco enacted a detailed communications plan documenting all activities related to building climate resilience among oasis-based communities and sharing this information directly with key local and national stakeholders. In Ghana, a national climate change awareness campaign was rolled out in secondary schools. In Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Rwanda, short films on adaptation techniques were produced and broadcast.
Support to AAP countries
The knowledge management activities in every country were supported by the AAP Regional Team with collaboration from the Knowledge Management Team in the Regional Service Center in Dakar, Senegal. This helped ensure that all relevant information and knowledge generated was documented, codified and disseminated in ways that correspond to the needs of practitioners and decision-makers.
Country support provided by the Regional Team focused on three areas: promoting and providing training on sharing platforms, such as existing electronic or traditional platforms for knowledge sharing; promoting the generation of content by developing knowledge, codifying it for easier access and disseminating it through appropriate channels; and providing technical assistance in response to specific needs that may arise in the implementation of national programmes.
This support took numerous forms. A number of regional conferences were held to exchange good practices, innovations and lessons learned, such as the AAP Peer Evaluation and Planning Meeting, modules one and two of the AAP’s Professional Development Programme, the Regional Workshop on the Capitalisation of Experiences and the AAP’s final ‘Celebrating our Successes’ Regional Conference. Support was also given to the holding of national workshops and knowledge fairs in nine countries. Direct strategic and technical support was provided to help seven countries develop communications strategies, and training on the use of Teamworks was rolled out across the continent.
Drawing on this support, countries captured core knowledge for re-use, developed mechanisms for the faster transfer of best practices, provided decision-makers with potential solutions to intractable problems, saved time and resources spent trying to ‘reinvent’ by identifying the right approach quicker, and were able to locate critical expertise. All AAP teams developed communications and knowledge plans and produced a variety of knowledge products: 13 countries managed websites or online knowledge platforms, 13 countries produced public information publications, 10 countries produced policy-guidance or technical-support documents, 10 countries produced video or radio programmes, five countries produced education materials for schools and five countries produced best practices publications. All of these materials can be found in the Resources Directory of this website. Every participating country also managed a knowledge sharing space on UNDP’s online platform Teamworks.
The Resource Directory of this website provides an archive of every knowledge product produced by the 20 AAP national teams and the Regional Office.
The Knowledge Management Needs Survey Report: a broad, research-driven assessment of what AAP countries’ knowledge needs were. The needs survey was undertaken and the report published by the AAP Regional Office in order to help AAP countries capture, share and capitalise on the wealth of climate- and development-related knowledge available.
Article in The Baobab Coalition Journal written at the close of the Programme by its Knowledge Management Expert.
AAP national teams’ Teamworks spaces. Teamworks is a web-based, globally-integrated extranet platform that enables UNDP and external partners to leverage the collective knowledge of communities, individuals, programmes and projects in the most useful, cost-effective manner. By making the knowledge of staff in the field, at the regional level and at headquarters accessible to the rest of the organisation, as well as to external partners, Teamworks makes local experience globally available and global experience locally available. Teamworks users can browse the 20 AAP countrys’ Teamworks spaces by searching ‘AAP’ along with the tag ‘project space’ in Teamworks.