Ashwani Muthoo and Helen Gillman
Director, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division
Senior Knowledge Management Specialist, Global Engagement, Knowledge and Strategy Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
The broader environment in which development organizations are operating has changed substantially in the past decade. The aid effectiveness agenda, focusing on country ownership, harmonization and development impact, has translated into greater accountability for results. In turn, this has led to the requirement for concrete impact, measurable through hard data, and for better delivery processes. All of this means that knowledge, innovation and competence are increasingly recognized as being fundamental for effective development. In turn, given the stronger focus on knowledge, and the recognition that no single actor can solve the complex problems of development alone, partnerships and networks have become more important. And it is acknowledged that learning approaches are part of the solution. Our organization – the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – recognizes the fundamental importance of continuous and rigorous learning from our own experience, and from the experience of our development partners, including poor rural people and their organizations. We take a country-wide, programmatic approach to rural development that combines finance, policy engagement and extensive knowledge. We complement robust learning from experience with independent evaluations, systematic impact assessments and research. The projects and programmes we design are also built on intensive multi-stakeholder engagement to identify priorities, devise agreed solutions to problems and then realize them. In other words, we listen to our stakeholders, learn from our experience – both successes and failures – and back that up with robust evidence. This means that knowledge management is important for IFAD – as reflected in our Strategic Framework 2016 to 2025, which identifies knowledge building and dissemination as one of the key pillars of IFAD’s results delivery. It states that a core purpose of IFAD’s KM must be to ‘identify, develop and promote successful and innovative approaches and interventions that have demonstrated potential to be scaled up.’ We know that business as usual is not an option for achieving the SDGs and, like many other development partners, IFAD is committed to increasing the impact of every dollar it invests. To this end, we are pursuing an agenda that focuses on innovation, sharing knowledge, and scaling up successes for expanded and sustainable impact.