Scoping study for Working Group 3

Julie Ferguson and Kingo Mchombu are currently undertaking a major scoping study of the field of knowledge management for development which will be completed by the end of 2007. This scoping study provides a meta-review of previous reviews but also is mapping out the main challenges facing the field to act as a basis for further work for the Programme.

On completion, the study will be reviewed by peers both inside and outside the IKM Emergent Programme.

Discourse, dialogue and translation

Working Group 1 has re-named itself as ‘Discourse, Dialogue and Translation’. It intends to make full use of its members’ experience and local contacts by developing four areas of empirical work with local knowledge processes. These are:

1. Cultural literacy: building on and disseminating existing local experience of development-oriented pedagogy and exploring its potential to transmit local environmental perspectives to the international arena (Para, Brazil – 2008/09);
2. Digital life stories on water: articulating and comparing local knowledge on water in a context of competing strategies for its ownership and management (Costa Rica and Nicaragua – 2008/09);
3. Local Multimedia: organising locally produced multimedia as a local development resource and exploring its potential links to and use by the development sector at other levels (South India and Sri Lanka 2008/10);
4. Research on local knowledge loops: exploring the consequences for local development and for research or more active and appropriate (format, language) reporting of research results to the researched communities (worldwide 2008/10).

In addition, we are still hoping to support the making of a participatory video of a participatory spatial modelling exercise in Burkina Faso. This had been planned for 2007 but had to be delayed because of local unrest.

WG1 intends to draw cross-cutting lessons from this work by conducting an open on-line dialogue about the methodologies experienced in such work and the potential for local discourses, relevant to development, to connect with and influence more formal development discourses.

Translation, interpreted here in its widest sense to include communication across any barrier not simply that of language, is likely to become the key cross-cutting theme of this group. These issues will be pursued using the methodology of a series of linked, co-constructed workspaces.

IKM labs

Working Group 2, previously called ‘Making the most of information’ has re-named itself ‘IKM labs’ to better reflect its experimental nature. This group plans to use co-constructed workspaces as a means of identifying and problematising key issues and generating interest and debate around them.  It also intends to participate in two interactive workshops each year at which it will present potential new tools and methods to potential users and record the ensuing interaction.  These will generally involve hosting workshop sessions by invitation alongside development related gatherings organised for some other purpose.  However, following a request from the EADI IMWG, the first such workshop is likely to be arranged with a group of librarians working in the development and development research sectors. 

Over the course of the Programme, in collaboration with other agencies, the Working Group also intends to host three ‘blue sky labs’, each in a different continent.  These are intended to bring together experts from outside the development sector, such as psychologists, artists or programmers, to focus on issues of expression and communication across boundaries. 

Working Group 3 meet for the first time

On 3-4 October, Working Group 3 – Management of knowledge – met for the first time. They discussed plans for this year and put together a workplan for 2008. To continue discussions between the face2face meetings, a blog, the Giraffe, was set up.

Present at the meeting were Julie Ferguson, Simon Hearn, Kingo Mchombu and Sarah Cummings. Peter Ballantyne, an ambassador from Working Group 2, was present on the first day. Ewen Leborgne is currently in Burkina Faso and was unable to attend.

Core aims of knowledge exchange…

On Wednesday 25th September 2007, Mike Powell took part in a Plenary Panel on the ‘The core aims of knowledge exchange and the challenges of using new technologies to meet them’ at the Web 2.0 for Development conference. The conference was organized  by FAO and other partner organizations.

Mike emphasized the importance of ‘knowledge exchange’ rather than ‘information flows’, and the importance of different information environments in support of rural development. He also argues that social bookmarking, as a means of knowledge exchange, ‘does not yet cut the mustard.’

Watch the video here.