The project’s general strategy considers:
A comprehensive capacity development effort. The proposed project aims at building in-house capacities for the entire process. A comprehensive training process for practitioners is likely to be most effective if delivered in a face-to-face setting, with practical exercises and a focus on what is actually taking place in the field. This is therefore part of the proposed project. However, it is recognized that additional efforts are needed if the objective is to engage a large group of practitioners coming from different countries. Quality distance training materials that focus on the whole process – from defining the need for experience capitalization to implementing lessons and institutionalizing the process – are required, together with the necessary support (such as electronic platforms). The proposed project makes use of the different components of the learning module described above, helping test it and validate it in the field.
A participatory process. CTA will work together with organizations and individuals who are already involved in similar efforts and who can therefore contribute with their experience. This approach is participatory and demand-driven, with opportunities provided for such demands to be formulated for consideration within the context of this project. The process will launch an open call for expressions of interest to gather attention to the intentions of this project, helping others express their demand and offer their collaboration. Organizations willing to embark on a capitalization process will be able to develop their capacities through training workshops followed by regular coaching sessions. Just as important, all participants will have the possibility of sharing the results of their own learning process. A community of practice will be established to enable and promote the exchange of information among peers (especially focusing on the information emerging from the project itself), as well as to facilitate and support the training processes.
Theme-based. As a way of encouraging debate and the exchange of information, the different capitalization processes will be thematic: the selected experiences in the regions will have similar objectives or addressing similar issues. These themes will be agreed upon during the project’s inception meeting, especially considering those which drive many of the projects supported by IFAD, CTA, FAO and IICA (see Table 1 below). These could include, for example, impact of agricultural policies, climate-smart agriculture, value chains, rural financial services, rural advisory services or nutrition-sensitive agriculture. Other criteria will also help identify the cases to be selected: the interest and motivation of those involved, the involvement of youth and women, etc. The list of criteria will be further elaborated and finalized during the inception meeting.
Multiple and simultaneous processes. This project will work with organizations in different parts of the world, striving to cover the five regions in which the IFAD-supported projects are distributed: Asia and the Pacific; East and Southern Africa; Latin America and the Caribbean; Near East & North Africa; and Western and Central Africa. Given that the learning module on experience capitalization will be ready first in English, and then translated into French and Spanish, activities will start in the English-speaking regions. An Arabic version, as prescribed in the concept note, is not included in this proposal but will be open for consideration if additional funds become available. The project will work with individuals and organizations who will help reach out and involve others, such as federations or apex organizations – helping disseminate the results and expanding the benefits, while minimizing the costs (especially travel costs). Combined with a formative evaluation, this will also help achieve a balance between quantity and quality: between the number of capitalization processes that will start and will be supported, and the quality of each one of them (for which it will be necessary that sufficient mentorship and support is available, that all steps are completed, that priority is given to an analysis and not to a description, etc.).
Process analysis and learning. The emphasis in every experience capitalization process lies in the analysis of all activities and results: the process aims to help participants discover the reasons behind the positive results, or help discover the reasons which prevented a positive outcome. Thus an experience capitalization process complements more rigorous quantitative and qualitative research and assessments methods. The analysis leads to documented lessons and to recommendations, as new knowledge that can be put into practice. With this key principle in mind, the main strategy of this project will be the analysis of the different activities that are carried out as part of the project itself and to encourage all participants to put the derived recommendations into practice for future capitalization exercises. A continuous and active reflection on the activities within the project will lead to a collection of lessons on experience capitalization as an approach ̶ focusing on the stages of the process, the tools, the support needed, etc. In short, this will consider the identification of criteria and indicators, the exchange of information and joint discussions among partners and participants at different levels, and the establishment of a global community of practice as a network of professionals, who share their knowledge and who, through their discussions, support each other.
Continuous facilitation of implementation and knowledge exchange. The purpose is to ensure the use of an experience capitalization approach beyond the scope of this project. This will be built in from the start, for example, with the careful selection of all participants. Champions of experience capitalization, such as those trained to mentor others, will also use the Community platform and provide leadership. Recognition of their leadership serves as an incentive to keep providing guidance to others. The analysis of all activities will not only help validate the approach and validate the different learning resources, but also determine the conditions for its institutionalization, and its adoption as part of an organization’s knowledge management strategy. As part of the process, participants will prepare actions plans that specifically address these issues: these will be part of the trainings and online discussions which will also be encouraged to take place on the community platform. A strong community of practice will help consolidate the initiative and involve experts from all over the world as an approach to ensure continuity. The champions identified will be selected from organizations which play a leadership role (e.g. apex farmer organizations, core staff of networks and NGOs) who can subsequently mainstream Experience Capitalization amongst their member organizations, hence leading to a multiplier effect of the capacity development through this project.