“We are not very eager to see our stories sit on the shelves; we want them to be known by many people“.
But how do we make sure that the lessons are taken? Discussions between the representatives of the different EAFF member organizations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania showed the need to ensure that the lessons drawn are used. Among the best strategies, they mentioned:
- Developing clear guidelines / strategies on doing the things that are pertinent to conducting particular exercises. This is for institutional memory;
- Understanding the vision and mission of the organization: In order to have an effective use of the lessons of Experience capitalization it is important to consider the vision and mission of the organization. This is because the experience will reflect the practices and implementations of organizations towards achieving its missions and visons. Also the experience shared has to show the stakeholders the missions and visons of the organization and therefore provide proper and usable lessons to the stakeholders;
- Understanding the target group: The use of lessons of Experience Capitalization is ensured through proper consideration of target group in the experience is shared for. This is because the choice of the words in an experience should reflect the knowledge and understanding of the audience so as to they can have a clear and actual understanding of the lessons intended. Therefore portraying the right message to the right people will enhance positive use of the lessons intended and hence yield a positive result of the experience, which can also be adopted in other areas for implementation;
- To share experiences that triggers target group: Stakeholders usually have their own interests. These can be in field of agriculture and other economic fields. Therefore in writing the experience to share with the stakeholders, the lesson needs to trigger the interest of the audience so that they can adopt the lesson and replicate it in their environment accordingly. The target group’s interest is very essential in making sure the experiences is well understood and implemented and also shared with wide stakeholders who seems to have the same interest of the lessons;
- Relevance of the experience: In order to have an effective use of the lessons in experience capitalization it is essential that the experiences and lessons shared reflects the reality and relevance of the audience’s situations and environment. The relevance of the experiences shared will eventually yield positive result because the lessons shared is relevant and is easily adoptable in aspect of environment and economic situations. Experiences shared also has to reflect the economic and social situations of the stakeholders, this is because the primary purpose of the shared experience is to influence new practices, information and knowledge to the stakeholders, therefore consideration of social and economic factors will prompt to positive result among the users;
- The use of different approach during the launch of the lesson in the community (farmers). This has been conducted during the implementation of other project activities. Sharing with other staff in some times when we got opportunity of having a staff meeting, some of the things which have been shared were the advantage of using an experience capitalization in our activities and procedure of doing experience capitalization;
- The use of champion farmers (also called promoters, the farmers who got extra studies), in the activities implemented, there was creation of awareness to promoter on the importance of using a lesson. Establishment of contact to continue regular getting information (feedback) from the farmers, if it acceptable or not and if not why? Follow up have been conducted especial to those champion farmers (“promoters”) to get information about the lesson, the challenge faced is that, this approach is not yet understood by all farmers, this is because awareness creation have been doing to farmers during implementation of other activities, therefore few minutes have been using in creating awareness to farmers due to interaction of other project activities.
One of the representatives from MVIWATA, in Tanzania, highligted that multiple strategies need to be in place simultaneously. His ideas were “to use different approach during the launch of the lesson in the community. We need to establish contact to continue getting regular information (feedback) from the farmers, seeing if what we propose is acceptable or not – and if not, why not. We could use a champion farmer (which in our organizations are called “promoter”) to ensure the lesson are used. Last, we need to continuously raise awareness about the issues we are discussing.”