Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Strengthening the Enabling Environment Knowledge Base and KM Learning Along the Way

As a global technical assistance partner of USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, the Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Food Security (EEFS) project knowledge management (KM) efforts work to:

  • Create knowledge to strengthen the evidence base for effective programmatic action.
  • Facilitate the exchange of knowledge among key actors to improve the state of practice.
  • Support USAID and Feed the Future in using evidence to design and implement programs for the biggest impacts on the enabling environment for food security.

These goals were born out of discussions with USAID and a tailored assessment at time of project award to better understand key audiences’ technical priorities, dissemination platform and KM tool preferences, and existing trusted knowledge partners in this space (see EEFS’ KM Assessment). The strategy we have developed to accomplish these goals has helped us be systematic across varied technical assignments as well as be responsive and flexible as we implement our KM approach (see EEFS’ KM Implementation Plan).

Reflecting on this month’s Agrilinks KM theme, we would like to share how we have implemented this approach as well as some highlights and learning gained along the way.

KM Infrastructure: Develop and maintain foundational resources to catalyze project KM, including KM processes and tools.

Enabling Environment Evidence Base: Generate new knowledge resources and/or curate existing knowledge into accessible and actionable resources for priority stakeholders.

Knowledge Exchange: Support relationship building between key stakeholders, facilitate technical network development, and maximize opportunities to exchange knowledge with priority audiences.

We’ve made a big investment in strategic partnerships when it comes to the platforms that support our KM. Most notably, the project doesn’t have its own website. Rather, EEFS partners with Agrilinks to utilize its customized activity page feature as the project's central repository of technical project resources. Hosting project resources on the project-managed EEFS activity page has enabled our lean project team to produce a high level of materials and content without having to directly support the essential and substantial backend capacity needed for such a website. This arrangement also ensures that our resources are searchable and accessible to the wider Agrilinks audience both now and beyond the life of the project. While it hasn’t been without challenges, this practice has allowed project-dedicated KM and communications resources to focus on coordination, partnership, packaging, and targeting of technical work. And as the only activity page partner without another web presence, we’ve learned alongside Agrilinks and USAID how to balance and support this kind of approach. Ultimately, it provided an excellent opportunity for collaboration on the Enabling Environment for Agriculture Markets Agrilinks theme month, which resulted in a robust permanent collection of over 30 high-quality posts and impressive metrics in terms of partner contributions and accessed materials.

We’ve focused on high-quality analytical, evidence-driven content. Our KM work has centered around the delivery of more than 100 different technical resources in the form of reports, technical notes, data snapshots, topical briefs, videos, infographics, blog posts, and presentations. Content has ranged from country-specific technical assignments like the Ghana Agriculture Commercial Legal and Intuitional Reform (AgCLIR) Report to blog series focused on Enabling Environment Analytical Tools and data-rich resources, such as the Country-Level Policy Data Snapshots. Most recently, the project has launched a series of country and regionally tailored Intra-African Agriculture Trade Improvement Scorecards that serve to inform. 

We’ve built formal and informal strategies and systems, one of which is a KM Integration Checklist (see sidebar). This has been a work in progress that continues as we have floated between informal and more formal, periodic to routine use. We have increased and evolved the Checklist’s use as a project and with USAID to guide activities and scopes of work. We received very helpful feedback from other KM practitioners at the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative Spring Meeting last year, which helped guide our product-specific outreach plans for technical resources.

We’ve found complementing partner-focused strategies with low-cost and high-value project-directed channels effective for communicating and working with key audiences. For instance, we have emphasized working closely with USAID leaders to disseminate key content through internal and existing routine communications at USAID, as well as new project-managed channels such as Twitter and e-newsletters. These have provided a balance, targeting, and efficiency that complement and support our partnerships with a wide range of technical partners. These tools (social media and the newsletter) are now used to cross-promote and disseminate relevant resources with partner channels, many of which are more established than ours (i.e., social media channels, resource libraries, and annual events).

We’ve learned a lot from the posts shared this month and are excited to keep evolving our KM approach. If you have comments or questions, we’d love to hear from you!